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67,000 Mazda 6 Car Models Recalled Over Spiders and Fire Fears

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by hearit

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While a vehicle recall isn’t uncommon, Mazda’s cars recalled in March falls into the bizarre: 67,000 Mazda 6 sedans are under recall for dealership repairs – because of "itsy, bitsy spiders."

Or, rather, a larger and kind of nasty spider known as the "yellow sac".

Spiders have discovered a fondness for the Mazda 6 and have been building nests in vents or part of the fuel system – sparking a fear of possible fires that could be caused by the spiders' silk and subsequent lack of air flow or ventilation.

Mazda plans to notify its car owners shortly, via mail, that affected vehicles include its Mazda 6 models that are 4-cylinder sedans and have been manufactured on or between the dates of April 8, 2008, through February 8, 2010. Models recalled carry 2009 and 2010 years only but may have been manufactured prior in 2008.

The Mazda 6 recall isn’t limited to the U.S.: in addition to 52,000 or more United States vehicles from the past two years, the car manufacturer is also pulling an additional 15,000 vehicles in an extended recall that includes the territory of Puerto Rico and international recall that includes the countries of Canada and Mexico.

Mazda has worries that the specific spiders that are tormenting their customers may also torment the company itself. The fear: that a yellow sac spider could weave a web in a vent that is connected to the fuel tank system, subsequently clog the tank's ventilation and actually cause a fire. The concern is that increased pressure on the fuel tank could cause cracking, in turn causing possible fuel leakage and even increased fire risks.

Technically, Mazda’s staying a bit vague – even in communication to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, where the car manufacturer states: “A certain type of spider may weave a web in the evaporative canister vent line and this may cause a restriction of the line.” That “certain type of spider” that Mazda refers to is actually pretty specifically known as the yellow sac spider – and it ain’t no common web they weave. The webbing isn’t just thick – it’s a big, thick mess.

The “yellow sac spider” is a member of the genus of spiders known colloquially as funnel web spiders. The spider itself is pale green in color and nocturnal – the spiders like to ‘hunt’ during the night. The yellow sac is also known to carry a nasty bite, on par with a wasp sting, and bites usually associated with defense. Yellow sac spiders have previously been reported to have defensively bitten people, when accidentally discovered or nestled in strange locales including automobiles and swimming pools. While the spiders have been noted in odd locations like cars, the auto industry has never seen a recall specifically related to spiders – Mazda will be the first.

While the yellow sac is known to carry quite a bite, spider bites aren’t Mazda’s issue with reports of the spider inhabiting its vehicles. The car maker’s most concerned with the “web” or “sac” typical of the spider genus. Yellow sac spiders are known to build a sac-like, silken tube that is usually found in hidden places including foliage, under bark, or under stones, to serve as a lair. The spider’s happier haunt, of late, has been the Mazda 6.

The evaporative canister vent line runs from a charcoal-filled canister that cleans air coming out of the gas tank. Blockage of the line can prevent air from getting into the gas tank as the gasoline is used, which causes a pressure problem that can lead to a crack in the gas tank and the possibility of a fire.

Mazda claims a minimal 20 reported cases of spider infestations in the Mazda 6 – stating that cars experiencing the problem have all been 4-cylinder engines, with no spider issues supposedly reported for the V-6 engine models.

According to Mazda, no fires or injuries are known to have been caused by the spiders, claims Mazda in its letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Despite the claim, the car manufacturer is going to an awful lot of trouble – considering the total of at least 67,000 Mazdas slated for recall both nationally and internationally.

Mazda 6 repairs related to the yellow sac spider infestations pertain to car’s fuel system. For vehicle owners affected, the car must be taken to a specified dealership which will deem whether repairs are needed. Car dealers will perform inspection in order to determine necessary fuel system repairs but additionally the recalled Mazda 6 vehicles will have a spring installation. Apparently a simple spring prevents spider intrusion.

So far Mazda has effectively kept the spider issue relatively hush-hush. The car manufacturer says letters will be mailed to its vehicle owners of affected Mazda6 models between the middle and end of March 2011. Mazda spokesman Jeremy Barnes says the car manufacturer doesn’t know why the yellow sac spider seems to prefer 2009 and 2010, 4-cylinder models.

Despite Mazda’s claim of no knowledge as to why the spiders prefer only certain years of its vehicles, odds seem to lean in the direction of at least a parts variance or some slight alteration. According to Mazda, its affected vehicles fall only into 2009 and 2010 models. The spiders don’t seem to care about previous models. As Denver International Airport (DIA) travelers can attest, when nature strikes, there’s usually a reason. Returning owners continued to notify the airport that their parked vehicles weren’t starting. As it turned out, the source of the problem was simple – as simple as rabbits and chewed wiring. Ford, Volkswagen and other car manufacturers had begun using more and more soy-based parts in newer vehicle models – and soy seems to be a tasty treat for rabbits and other rodents.

For now, the only answer Mazda has for spiders being fond of its Mazda 6 isn’t really an answer: “Maybe they just like cars that go ‘Zoom-Zoom,’” says Barnes. “We [Mazda] honestly don’t know.”

Locations

Mazda Vehicles North American Operations Headquarters (Irvine, California) -- Paul Winovitch, Customer Mediation Manager
7755 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
United States
Phone: (800) 222-5500
Fax: (949) 727-6592
33° 39' 32.7636" N, 117° 44' 54.924" W
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, West Building
Washington, DC 20590
United States
Phone: (888) 327-4236
38° 54' 19.5228" N, 77° 0' 53.3592" W
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Comments

incy wincy spider went out

July 3, 2012 by adrianglock, 6 years 41 weeks ago

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incy wincy spider went out the water spout

great