Is the wiring my son's hamster chewed through "mission critical"?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Oct 01, 1992

Dear Tom and Ray:

My eleven year old son let his pet mouse escape in my Dodge Van. It took five days to catch him after he ran up my pant leg while I was going 55 mph and nearly caused me to have a heart attack. Meanwhile, that ugly little creature ate a wire that tells me if the engine is hot or cold. My husband says I "must get it fixed." I say "why waste the money, I don't see smoke yet." Your comments please.

TOM: You may eventually see smoke, Beth. And it'll probably be coming from your husband's ears when you overheat the van some day and melt the cylinder head.

RAY: You do need to get the gauge fixed, Beth. It's important to know when the engine is in danger of overheating. By pulling over and shutting off the engine in time, you can save hundreds of dollars--if not more.

TOM: And while the mechanic is under the dashboard fixing the temperature gauge, I'd also ask him to take a good look around. Who knows what else that little mouse got into while he was out on safari?

RAY: And by the way, just like Eskimo mothers tell their kids not to eat yellow snow, tell your eleven year old not to eat any "raisinettes" he finds in the van for a while.

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