Squirrels? Aww, nuts!

Squirrel on road next to white SUV

By Dave Pond

A few weeks ago, my 16-year-old daughter, Mallory — with her sights firmly focused on a successful driver’s license road test at our local DMV — wanted to practice parallel parking in my trusty ol’ Ford Explorer. (After all, it was smaller than her mom’s minivan.) 

However, when they cranked it up, the dashboard illuminated with the heartbreaking hues of error messages left and right: 

  • Charging system failure
  • Service AdvanceTrac 
  • Dual Alternator Battery Lamp Circuit Malfunction

I could go on and on, but the weirdest thing is, Mallory and my wife, Sarah, had road-tested the day before with no issues.

With electrical issues aplenty, I did what anyone with a checking account powered by BaZing would do. I opened my app, tapped Roadside Assistance, and had a tow truck haul the SUV to our local Aamco service center.

A few hours later, I got a call from my friendly neighborhood mechanic, Rick.

“It looks like squirrels have eaten up your wiring.”

Squirrels? Really? What about my Explorer is so enticing (except that it’s smaller than a minivan?) 

Apparently, squirrels just love to chew on vehicle wiring (or anything, really) as it helps them grind down their teeth — which never stop growing. And, an engine compartment makes for a warm, cozy, and relatively safe dining environment. Although I’d never heard of this phenomenon, Rick said it was more common than one might think. 

Lesson learned, but in actuality, my first thought was, “What’s this going to cost me?” 

Rather than dining on a cheap washer fluid tube or something of similar low cost, this particular squirrel clearly possesses a taste for the good stuff. It subsequently chewed a full harness of wiring down to the connector, which used to power my entire dashboard. (Thus, the myriad of error messages that made their presence known upon ignition.)

With a bill for $1,500 in hand and a quick prayer in my head, I called my auto insurance company, hoping that they at least partially covered squirrel damage. And, they did (assuming you have comprehensive insurance and are willing to pay your deductible.) So, that alone saved me $1,000.

Of course, since I used BaZing roadside assistance to take care of the tow, I saved another $80 in would-be towing charges. And, as luck would have it, my local Aamco shop had a 10% off BaZing Local deal in the app (one of more than 400,000 deals and discounts available to BaZing members) that saved me another $150. 

Not bad… I saved a total of $230 with BaZing roadside assistance and my BaZing deal, not to mention the cash I got back when I received my auto insurance reimbursement check in the mail.

And, thanks to BaZing, I’m saving myself an additional $149 this year by choosing not to renew my personal AAA roadside assistance membership. After all, BaZing’s benefits — included with my checking account — were so similar that there is simply no reason for me to pay a third party extra cash for virtually the same coverage I already have.

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However, in retrospect, my best move turned out to be my last one — once I got the SUV home, I took one part of white vinegar and mixed it with two parts apple cider vinegar, then thoroughly doused my brand-new wiring harness to keep all the friendly neighborhood critters away. 

So far, so good — but in case things change, does anybody want a pet squirrel? 

Dave Pond is a marketing content strategist at StrategyCorps. Value-added services like roadside assistance have a place in the lifestyles of consumers, and according to our research, it’s clear they want them. It’s time for banks and credit unions to accessorize their checking account offerings with these valuable additions. To learn how to best optimize the value of your retail checking accounts, download our free white paper today.