It’s all because of where a chipmunk parked his nuts.
Dave Macko of Armstrong-Macko in Chatham had a nutty idea on how to fix a transmission problem when a customer gave him a call recently, saying he couldn’t shift his car into “Park.”
“The guy had a real problem. He didn’t know what was wrong,” Macko said.
But Macko had an idea.
“We had another person a while back with a stick-shift car. It wouldn’t go into second gear. There was a walnut stuck in the (transmission) linkage,” he said.
This time around, it wasn’t a walnut. It was “35 or 40” of them. Macko said they got jammed into the shifter linkage on this vehicle.
It can happen when you have walnut trees nearby. Macko said the customer lives out in the country and has several mature trees lining his driveway.
But there were no squirrels about.
“I asked if he had any chipmunks around,” Macko said.
Sure enough, a busy chipmunk had found a convenient storage spot for his nuts; convenient for him, but not so much for the vehicle’s owner, or Macko
“This was a fairly new vehicle. It was a bit of a challenge to clean all that stuff out of there,” he said of the hard-to-reach nut storage location.
Macko has seen a lot during his time running the garage on Leeson Drive in Chatham.
“We see lots of mice nests too, underneath engine covers,” he said.
Automotive wiring also seems to be on the menu for rodents more and more these days. Macko said some insulation material for the wiring is made from vegetable oil.
“The rodents don’t mind the taste of it. They can cause all kinds of damage,” he said.
But the automotive guru has a simple tip to keep the mice, squirrels and chipmunks at bay.
“Consider leaving a rag soaked in peppermint oil in a cut-off water bottle tied up under the hood. They don’t seem to like the smell,” he said.
But make sure that bottle is safely secured.