Spider invasion prompts Mazda software fix

image copyrightScience Photo Library
image captionThe yellow sac spider is attracted to the smell of petrol

Petrol-sniffing spiders have forced Mazda to issue a voluntary recall notice so it can apply a software fix to its cars.

The yellow sac spider is attracted to the smell of petrol, and will weave its web in engines, causing a blockage and build-up of pressure.

The problem increased the risk of fire, Mazda said.

A software update will be applied to recalled cars to monitor the pressure level and warn drivers of any danger.

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.

Specifically, it is Mazda 6s from the 2010-12 range that are covered by this latest recall.


It involves around 42,000 vehicles, according to filings made to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In the documents, Mazda explained: "A certain type of spider may weave a web in the evaporative canister vent line, potentially causing a restriction in the line.

"If this occurs, the fuel tank pressure may become excessively negative when the emission control system works to purge the vapours from the canister.

"As the canister is purged repeatedly during normal operation, the stress on the fuel tank may eventually result in a crack, potentially leading to fuel leakage and an increased risk of fire."

Owners of cars affected would have the fault fixed free of charge, the company added.

In 2011, Mazda attempted to address the the problem by fitting covers over engine vents to prevent the spiders crawling in - but this was only partially effective, with particularly determined yellow sacs still setting up their homes in the vehicles.

When asked by the New York Times why the spiders were causing so much trouble, a Mazda spokesman said: "Don't ask me, I'm terrified of the damn things."

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