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Biodegradable Plastic Can't Take the Heat

DN Staff

December 19, 2013

1 Min Read
Biodegradable Plastic Can't Take the Heat

I used to have a 1995 Mercedes C280, a pretty nice car for the first few years. At about the seven-year mark (I keep cars a long time), it began to hesitate from a stop. If I gingerly pressed the gas, it would move along fine. If I mashed the gas, it would totally stall. I took it to my mechanic who said it needed a whole new engine wiring harness. Two thousand dollars later, it ran like it was new.

Why did this happen? After a long talk with the shop, and confirmed with some web sleuthing, it was determined that in the 1995 model year (and possibly others), all cars made in Germany had to have biodegradable plastics for all plastic parts. It worked out fine everywhere else, except in the engine compartment where the heat caused the wiring insulation to break down.

I was told this is a known problem with all 1995 Mercedes. The mechanic said Porsche, too, but I can't confirm it even though it makes sense. He said it wasn't a question of if, but when, it would fail. That always bothered me. Now, I drive a 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser and I couldn't be happier.

Tell us your experiences with Monkey-designed products. Send stories to Lauren Muskett for Made by Monkeys.

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