Now we’ve heard it all – a gasoline-loving spider has caused a major auto recall – and it’s not the first time.
It’s the second time in three years that Mazda Motor Corp has issued a recall for Mazda6 sedans in North America, because of a spider that likes the smell of gasoline and weaves a “sack” that blocks a vent in the engine.
This time Mazda is recalling 42,000 sedans with 2.5-litre engines, affecting models 2010 – 2012 in the U.S.
Three years ago, Mazda recalled about 65,000 Mazda6 sedans in the U.S., from model years 2009 and 2010, for the same reason – spider webs blocking evaporative canister vent lines – Mazda told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
When the Yellow Sac spider weaves their sack for eggs, these spiders don’t spin webs, it can lead to restricted fuel flow, reducing fuel tank pressure when the emission control system sends vapors from the evaporative canister. This can put stress on the fuel tank, which may crack and leak fuel, increasing the risk of a fire, a report filed with NHTSA says.
Mazda said it is not aware of any fires because of this risk.
In 2011, Reuters reported that the same spider was the culprit in that year’s recall.
Mazda attempted to remedy the problem by adding a spring to the canister vent line to keep spiders from crawling inside, and it worked for awhile, however, after several reports of cracked fuel tanks in sedans equipped with the spring, Mazda engineers tried to figure out the spider’s route to the canister.
Mazda also learned of at least nine cases where gasoline tanks were damaged even though a spring was used, causing engineers to determine that a change in the car’s software would keep tanks from cracking even if a spider sack blocks a vent.
Mazda will inform owners in the recall campaign to bring cars to dealers, where the evaporative canister vent line will be checked and cleared if needed and software can also be reprogrammed.
This problem isn’t occurring in other Mazda models, but these cars were made in a plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, and jointly produced with Ford Motor Co.
Since these events, Mazda ceased producing cars in Flat Rock as of August 2012.
Image via Wikimedia Commons