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Nutty: Squirrel Jams Transmission

Jason Baker of Alexandria Toyota holds the problem hickory nut next to a photo of it wedged into the transmission.

Jason Baker of Alexandria Toyota holds the problem hickory nut next to a photo of it wedged into the transmission. Photo by Mary Kimm.

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Is this squirrel waiting to hide something in your car?

— A customer had his nearly new 2011 Toyota Camry towed into Alexandra Toyota because the transmission would not shift. After a week of troubleshooting the mysterious and intractable problem technicians found the culprit. A squirrel had wedged a hickory nut into the mechanism, perhaps hoping for help cracking the nut. Here Jason Baker of Alexandria Toyota holds a photo of the nut inside the tranny alongside the actual nut removed. Baker said it's not unusual for rodents to build nests in engine compartments and ventilation systems of vehicles, but it was the first time he had seen the effort actually bring the car to a stop.