Weasels Ripped My Car
November 7, 2014 4:57 AM   Subscribe

What happens when a group of adorable but destructive martens is unleashed on an Audi A3 Cabriolet wired with cameras throughout? Teutonic quality control produces viral gold, that's what. (SLYT Audi/GoProBlue, but with martens.)

Some context for the video from Autoblog:

"In Europe it is a common problem to have wild, ferret-like animals crawl into the engine bay of cars while parkedand idle and bite through brake/power steering and other lines/hoses. Audi Deutschland's quality control is seeing where the ferrets go within the engine compartment, which lines they chew on. Based on the video, they will then look to use different materials that a ferret doesn't like biting into. Looks totally random, but it is an issue in Germany and Europe in general."

Bonus bioautomotive story: Mazda forced to update vehicle software in petrol-sniffing spider-invasion recall.
posted by spitbull (49 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'd be glad to see this happen to some of the Audis in my neighborhood. I would actually pay the weasels to do it to the Range Rovers.
posted by McMillan's Other Wife at 5:02 AM on November 7, 2014 [15 favorites]


Tangentially, you may also enjoy watching this fellow weasel his Audi Q3 into a rather tight parking spot.
posted by fairmettle at 5:09 AM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


i'm guessing this quality control philosophy is why VWs also have mysterious electrical system problems in the US...
posted by ennui.bz at 5:26 AM on November 7, 2014 [7 favorites]


I've been here just long enough to have developed an annoyance with martens' propensity to bite through fuel lines. In a trip up to Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark this year, a marten bite left us stranded in a VW dealership in a small town for 8 hours, as "We just need to replace the fuel lines" turned into "well, now the whole engine is seized, we're at a loss, and since it's Friday afternoon, no one at VW is returning our calls."

I haven't borne this kind of ill-will toward an animal since being stranded on multiple non-consecutive occasions thanks to porcupines chewing through fuel or brake lines.
posted by frimble at 5:29 AM on November 7, 2014 [7 favorites]


I would like a weasel please.
posted by freshwater at 5:46 AM on November 7, 2014 [7 favorites]


But what makes German fuel lines so delicious?
posted by ardgedee at 5:46 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I love watching weasels cavort. That said, I maintain a strict "No Weasels" policy in my automobiles.

Also, +10 for the Zappa homage in the post title.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:51 AM on November 7, 2014 [8 favorites]


But what makes German fuel lines so delicious?

soy?
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:53 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I was expecting more weasels. But otherwise the video did not disappoint. (Reminds me of the time my folks adopted the kitten who the Pep Boys found on the muffler.)
posted by blnkfrnk at 6:07 AM on November 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


I just sent this to an ag vehicle quality engineering department with the title "Proposed 2015 audit process".

We'll see what happens.
posted by TrialByMedia at 6:10 AM on November 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'd like to see them try that with a red panda.
posted by smcameron at 6:14 AM on November 7, 2014 [13 favorites]


Well, luckily, in the US most of us are vaccinated against German weasels.

Sorry, couldn't resist.
posted by spitbull at 6:16 AM on November 7, 2014 [50 favorites]


smcameron, that was truly hilarious.
posted by spitbull at 6:18 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was thinking of doing this same thing with mousetraps, a time lapse camera, and a Flir One. You'd start with a bright red mouse and credits would roll when you could no longer discern the mouse from the floor. I tried to get Flir to sponsor this idea and send me a camera for free, but they declined.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:20 AM on November 7, 2014


Years ago in Illinois - my A/C stopped working - it turns out that squirrels had chewed through the wiring harness. The garage suggested I attach mothballs to the replacement harness.
posted by nightwood at 6:26 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Aw, poor little guys. They're almost perfectly adapted to forage in a place with no food, just toxins.
posted by malocchio at 6:38 AM on November 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, we have similar issues in America. A friend of mine parked his truck at a trailhead - when he returned to it a week later, marmots or squirrels or something had eaten out most of the engine bay.

I'm told that duct tape (the actual shiny stuff for heating ducts) works pretty good at protecting things. Haven't tried it yet, though.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:38 AM on November 7, 2014


Well, luckily, in the US most of us are vaccinated against German weasels.

spitbull, that was terrible. I applaud you, sir.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:40 AM on November 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


The garage suggested I attach mothballs to the replacement harness.

Wouldn't squirrel balls be a more effective threat?
posted by fings at 6:43 AM on November 7, 2014 [7 favorites]


For some reason (I'm dumb and parochial) I wasn't expecting German audio. Hearing German when you're expecting English (especially in that weird "we're talking about a car!" voiceover voice that apparently knows no borders) is basically excactly how Sims sound.
posted by dismas at 6:46 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I would actually pay the weasels to do it to the Range Rovers.

Related Range Rover hilarity: Buying the CarMax Warranty is the only way to go if you want to own a Range Rover.
posted by mcstayinskool at 6:46 AM on November 7, 2014 [3 favorites]




Are there non-car-related corporate jobs that involve cute animals?
posted by amtho at 7:03 AM on November 7, 2014


Sure. Nice marmots. But they'll come back later and cut off your chonson.
posted by The Bellman at 7:08 AM on November 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


Far less cute: my friend's Honda Accord after a bear tried to break into her trunk. All he did was rip the bumper off.

Also, a PSA: fall is the season that small rodents like to stash food in the airboxes of motorcycles. We see air filters full of birdseed, acorns and dog chow nearly every year. So if your engine is running badly and doesn't like to idle, be sure to check the airbox for unwanted tenants.
posted by workerant at 7:11 AM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Dismas, if it helps, I did a bit of a double take when the Standard Voiceover Voice stopped, and the employees started talking, because while Audi is in Ingolstadt, and I knew that, I just wasn't expecting Bavarian accents in an advert.
posted by frimble at 7:15 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Interesting. Why would Bavarian accents be verboten in an auto advertisement?
posted by notyou at 7:23 AM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]



When rampant mustelidae weaseled their way into the engine compartments of their cars, customers badgered those stoat fellows at Audi quality engineering into ferreting out a solution.
At last the people in a body
To the Town Hall came flocking:
"Tis clear," cried they, "our Mayor's a noddy;
And as for Audi Corporation—shocking

To think we buy gowns lined with ermine
For dolts that can't or won't determine
What's best to rid us of our vermin!
. . .
Rouse up, sirs! Give your brains a racking
To find the remedy we're lacking,
Or, sure as fate, we'll send you packing!"
Finally, I must say, this is one of the otter stories in the news lately, dont you mink?
posted by Herodios at 7:30 AM on November 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


lol "Teutonic quality control", clearly never owned an early '90s Porsche.
posted by indubitable at 7:33 AM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Not a ban on Bavarian accents in auto advertisement per se. Just that I'm not used to hearing strong regional accents in advertisements, unless they're selling to that region or marketing based on some stereotypical quality associated with it.

It's not even strange that some of the employees of a company based in Upper Bavaria would have Bavarian accents, but I was expecting advertising German, and was momentarily surprised to hear a distinct regional accent instead.
posted by frimble at 7:43 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Related Range Rover hilarity: Buying the CarMax Warranty is the only way to go if you want to own a Range Rover.

His mistake was relying on the dealer - sure it's nice the warranty covered the cost of repair, but it doesn't cover the cost of running around trying to keep the damn thing going. You need to find a little garage with Jaguar, MG and Land Rover signs nailed to the side, and a collection of Morris Mini Coopers, Triumph TR8s and Left-hand-drive vehicles of all descriptions cluttering up the yard out back. You'll be in there once every six months, hand over a mortgage payment and leave it for a couple of days, and then drive it without too much worry for another six months. The Range Rover Guy (even if it's a woman, and they're not uncommon in niche garages like this, she'll still be described as The Range Rover Guy) will do a great job of spotting trouble before it becomes a breakdown, and knows what needs to be replaced when and with what.

The dealer almost never knows what the hell it's doing in this regard, especially for older vehicles - the talented mechanics all leave to run their own garages or work for a buddy for more money and less hassle. (Good mechanics generally do not like to pressure you into unnecessary work. They've already got more work than hours in the day, they gain nothing by making the pile deeper. The type of character who owns a dealership doesn't care, upsell, upsell, upsell!)

I knew a woman in the '90s with a 1971 Cadillac Eldorado who had been using it as her daily driver for a decade because she knew a Cadillac Guy, brought her baby to him twice a year, forked over whatever he asked, and damn. It looked like it was fresh off the showroom, and she claimed to drive to Florida from Massachusetts twice a year, and had never had a mechanical problem interrupt the trip.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:46 AM on November 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


In the video, towards the end the guy mentions wrapping the hoses with fiberglass cloth (of some kind) because the marders/weasels don't like it.

It's also mentioned that one weasel goes through checking stuff out and it's when the second one comes through and smells the first- that's the problem because then the 2nd becomes enraged and attacks everywhere the scent has been left by the first.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:54 AM on November 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


i'm guessing this quality control philosophy is why VWs also have mysterious electrical system problems in the US...

Nah. The crayon-scented floor materials drive away the squirrels.

Also, Audi: You need to go back to making small cars that are fun to drive. My 1999 A4 can't compete newer models in terms of speed, but it sure is a lot more fun to drive (and still way smaller than the current A4 and A3).
posted by schmod at 7:56 AM on November 7, 2014


In my imagination, somewhere in Sweden, there's a warehouse in sweeden containing thousands of Crash Mooses that Saab left behind....
posted by schmod at 7:58 AM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's also mentioned that one weasel goes through checking stuff out and it's when the second one comes through and smells the first- that's the problem because then the 2nd becomes enraged and attacks everywhere the scent has been left by the first.

That's what I heard as a reason why you're more likely to have troubles with martens when you travel or are using a rental car and why insurance against damage caused by martens is extra on rentals: because there's a greater risk that a brand new marten checks out your car, smells the last one who was there and then attacks things.
posted by frimble at 8:02 AM on November 7, 2014


oh I know all about German engineering bullshit. "Teutonic quality control" was ironic.

It is so German to weasel-proof a car that will need a new transmission at 100k. Sort of kidding, since the A3 is supposed to be relatively reliable with regular visits to Werner as per slap happy's comment above.

In my family the Japanese machines we buy tend to go 200k before needing anything but scheduled, of which only a little is expensive. And then, after one or two mortgage payments, another 100k before they fall apart.

I'd take a free A3 though. It's a sweet ride as long as you don't have a weasel problem. Drove a new A6 the other day and man was that a nice cruise as long as it is someone else's headache.
posted by spitbull at 8:25 AM on November 7, 2014


Also...
Metafilter: Honestly, I was expecting more weasels.
posted by spitbull at 8:34 AM on November 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: Honestly, I was expecting more weasels.

All of the surfaces are proofed by mods.
posted by jaduncan at 8:41 AM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]




Aw, poor little guys. They're almost perfectly adapted to forage in a place with no food, just toxins.

It does seem like a problem that will solve itself given enough time.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:07 AM on November 7, 2014


Interesting. Why would Bavarian accents be verboten in an auto advertisement.

Think "Texas drawl". Not verboten, but you normally don't put any strong regional accents into a national commercial unless you're specifically trying to tap into a stereotype.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:19 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm aware that they would probably maul me without a second thought if startled, but man, those pine martens are adorable. The little snouts!

(Also, have a video of a pine marten disrupting a soccer game.)
posted by en forme de poire at 9:48 AM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


You have to be careful how far you take this. Sure, you can make it so that there's no part of the car that the marten wants to bite, but that just means the only thing left for it to go after is your face.
posted by ckape at 10:27 AM on November 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's also mentioned that one weasel goes through checking stuff out and it's when the second one comes through and smells the first- that's the problem because then the 2nd becomes enraged and attacks everywhere the scent has been left by the first.

I think the second marten is doing something a lot more rational than merely attacking -- it's defending its feeding/breeding territory from intrusion by another marten by expunging the scent markers of that other.

And that means it's going to be a lot harder to deter this behavior since it doesn't need to swallow the stuff to accomplish its aim, only destroy the scent; and because the stakes for the marten are much, much greater than whether it gets a tiny, low quality meal or not.
posted by jamjam at 11:00 AM on November 7, 2014


one of our cats is really squirmy and skinny and sneaky and weaselly and instead of her actual name we mostly just call her "weasel" or "ferret" or "ferret-weasel" and I could totally see her weaselling into a car's innards and chewing on stuff.

so in other words I really appreciate this video and I will be showing it to my boyfriend as soon as possible!
posted by ghostbikes at 11:03 AM on November 7, 2014


Not just squirrels and marten/weasel/stoat/mustelids! Denver airport had a major problem with rabbits in February of 2013. Cars in long term parking getting major damage.
posted by HermitDog at 11:11 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I was expecting more weasels

Sorry for being late
posted by polecat at 2:28 PM on November 7, 2014 [6 favorites]


I want to see this experiment redone, but with rats instead of weasels.

I imagine that the car would be there one night, and the next it would just be an empty hulk of everything that was too big for them to carry. Either that, or it would be completely full of pulled apart seat stuffing making the world's biggest German engineered rat's nest in history.
posted by quin at 4:40 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Fuel lines are no longer made out of steel?!?
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 8:46 PM on November 7, 2014


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