Gasoline-loving spider forces Mazda to recall cars

(Credit: Richard Bartz)The yellow sac spider also known as cheiracanthium. Cheiracanthium is a genus of spiders in the Miturgidae family.

Japan's Mazda Motor Corporation has issued a voluntary recall notice so it can apply a software fix to cars being colonized by the yellow sac spider.

The recall affects 42,000 vehicles in the USA, said filings made to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Mazda 6s from the 2010-12 range are covered by this latest recall. The model is also known as the Atenza in Japan. Owners of cars affected will have the fault fixed free of charge, Mazda said.

The yellow sac spider likes the hydrogen oxide found in gasoline. It weaves its web in engines, causing a blockage in a vent line that could cause the emissions control system to increase pressure in the fuel tank. Mazda said this problem increases the risk of fire. The build-up of webs in the emission systems could also lead to fuel tank cracks and possible leaks.

The spider is fairly common in the USA. A software update will be applied to recalled cars to monitor the pressure level and warn drivers of any danger. This problem has plagued Mazda since 2009.

Mazda said it was unaware of any fires being started due to the vulnerability, but it has been a problem that has plagued the company since at least 2009.

In March 2011, Mazda recalled 52,000 cars due to the same problem with the yellow sac spider. In this year, Mazda attempted to address the problem by fitting covers over engine vents to prevent the spiders crawling in. This was only partially effective, however, with particularly determined yellow sac spiders still setting up their homes in the vehicles. 

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