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#0650: Nuccio's Nuts

Original Air Date: 12.16.2006

   Best Moment

This week on Car Talk: meet our new best friend Nuccio, and his wily foe: a squirrel that decided to use his Acura's wiring harness as a nut storage pantry. Is he doomed to a life of collecting acorns as rent, or can Tom and Ray help squirrel-proof his car? Also, a lesson in why a gas tank abhors a vacuum, and why Ray's high school friends abhor him. Meanwhile, look out Dave! Your neighborly wife "The Waver" calls in with her side of the story, and guess what? Riding with you is no picnic, either. Then it's off to Santa Clara, where Tracy discovers the perils of not having the radio on. And, Sally's Close Encounter of the Waccabuc Kind. What other explanation is there for the burst of noise and flash of bright light in her Explorer? Finally, the guys help a town save 10 million bucks in less than 3 minutes. All that and more, this week on Car Talk.

Review this Show | 4 Reviews | Need Help Listening? View Call Details

This Week's Puzzler

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Show Open Topic

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Show Review - 65

by Anonymous

Bright light and loud noise

by tfmorris

I think that there was a power surge 0r short circuit in the power line as the lady drove under or near it; possibly a transformer shorted. The flash from the electrical arc could have appeared to be inside the car. The noise she described sounds very similar to the noise of an electrical arc. I bet a check with the utility company will confirm an electrical fault occurred in that area that day.

why squirrels chew wires/anamolous phenomena

by Mark Girard

Why squirrels chew wires - Squirrels are rodents and all rodents chew to keep their teeth from growing thru their heads as their teeth grow for as long as they are alive. Rodents love to chew insulation off of wires and a mouse is the reason my VW Jetta ended up not running. I was camping a few years back and left the doors open as I was organizing my camp and cooking dinner as the sun set and night arrived. The mouse entered my car then and after that I would find chew marks on my plastic flashlight and other plastic articles. I was driving a few days later and heard a rustling noise from under the hood and stopped. I found the offending mouse had made a nest in my vent area and after that I would have times when my car would mysteriously shut down or refuse to start. I fixed it a few times, but finally the wiring gave out and the car ended up losing it's engine to another I had and going to the local junk yard Anamolous phenomena The woman who saw the flash of light must have experienced some sort of unusual or anomolous phenomena - that means one that isn't easily explained. The fact that she was going under high tension wires could have something to do with it. But I question the fact that since it happened only once, that it actually had something to do with the radio. Denfinitely not if it was the same station she usually listened to. If it was a new station it is possible that a burst of static from the electrical lines could have startled her. But that doens't explain the flash of light, which could have been some sort of ball lightning type of phenomena. I once saw something I couldn't explain from the driver's seat of a car. My girlfriend at the time wanted a christmas tree as it was her custom to put one up on Thanksgiving. So that day we drove from Portland OR to Wildcat Mountain road in Estacada and into the Nat'l forest where we cut one in the late afternoon. It was a drizzly overcast day and we were heading back with our tree, when we saw something pass in front of the car. It was a flashing red light about 6" in diameter and it resembled a red ring surrounding a flashing center, that sort of resembled a flying butterfly. It flew quickly from the right to left and she watched it as if followed the contour of the land around a couple of houses and into the woods.

Sally's Close Encounter of the Waccabuc Kind

by glenyoshida

The power lines might indicate a substation nearby. When substation switches are opened the high voltage can create a large arc. This arc typically produces a blue white light and can be very bright even in broad daylight. It also produces a very loud crackling humm that can be heard for miles around. If you to a google video search under “high voltage switch” you can find clips of switches being opened. Or you can try this link.

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