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I spilled some Lysol toilet bowl cleaner due to an unscrewed cap on a bottle that was placed unknowingly in the trunk of a Honda Accord a month ago. I removed the bottle after 2 days and cleaned it with good amount of water and detergent.

15 days later I have a trunk release malfunction and fuel cap release malfunction - are they related to the spill? The Honda dealer is charging $600 to fix the cable that runs from the latch next to the driver and controls trunk release and fuel cap release.

The car used to have a strong smell, which is now cleared after getting it cleaned up pretty good at a detailing center. Sometimes our eyes burn as soon as we sit in the car and I open the car windows to let air in. That too subsided after the visit to detailing center.

What is my best course of action here to avoid any further damage?

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  • The switch appears to break At lever from nylon sleeve wear overstress works like a bike brake cable to a remote SPDT switch. If switch was exposed to corrosive fluid, the switch is oxidized and maybe needs WD40 and some friction to clean or replacement. otherwise its an unrelated Honda weakness to lever stress. youtu.be/sjAbmDxtoEo. I would get Home depot, subfloor adhesive and bond the nylon plastic sleeve so the cable centre moves the remote switch. super strong PU plastic but non-volatile stuff now takes A few days to harden. You dont need much compared to size of $10 tube. DIY Sep 3, 2020 at 16:00

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Try some stain remover and clean the cleaner as much as possible. Use protective gloves, goggles, and some covering for your skin. Baking soda and wet/dry cleaners can also help too.

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These events could be related.

I once had a diesel fuel container tip over in the trunk. At least 10-15 litres came out, and flowed down into the passenger-side rear seat floor. It was a terrible mess. We went through bags and bags of kitty litter, used lots of laundry detergent, and drove with the windows open all summer. The terrible smell finally went away.

About a year later, the battery would be dead if the car sat for more than a few days, and we noticed that the annunciator on the dash kept claiming the rear passenger door was not closed.

We took it to a VW expert, who said the contacts on the "door computer" were corroded, causing the door computer to lose periodic contact with "the mother ship," which caused the other computers to go crazy looking for the forlorn door computer, causing the idle battery current to rise from a few milliamps to several amps. He charged us $2,000, and soldered the contacts, and the dead battery problem went away.

About another year later, the front passenger door began showing the same problem. We put it on the market for about $1,000 under market value, carefully explaining the problem to the eventual buyer, who agreed that for the discount, he could keep it on a trickle charger and live with the annunciator saying the door was open.

So bottom line: with the prevalence of modern electronics everywhere (who knew that each door had its own computer?), corrosive fluids and gasses can certainly foul up electronics.

If this problem really bothers you, you may want to sell the vehicle — diligently disclosing the mishap, of course. Or you may just decide to live with the problem. But from my experience, it may come back in some other form, later.

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  • I doubt your events are related. If anything, diesel inhibits corrosion by displacing water and oxygen, the same way you preserve metal with a coat of oil.
    – user71659
    Oct 27, 2023 at 2:39

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