The Washington Post

Zoom, zoom, eeek!: Mazda’s spider problem

Mazda is recalling its Mazda6 sedans for a really creepy reason: Gasoline-loving spiders are blocking the engine vent.

That’s right — spiders.

One variety of the eight-legged creature, the yellow sac, just loves the smell of gasoline. It loves it so much that it wants to live in car engines so it can smell gasoline all day. Unfortunately, this bug can cause the fuel tank to break.

Here’s how it happens: The spider weaves a web that blocks the vent hose, which reduces fuel tank pressure when the emission control system releases vapor. That can put stress on the fuel tank, which can crack and leak, increasing the risk of fire, according to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Mazda said it is not aware of any fires caused by the spiders.

The recall applies to more than 40,000 sedans with 2.5 liter engines from model years 2010 to 2012.

Mazda has sparred with these spiders before. The company recalled the fuel system for Mazda6’s in 2011 too, and tried to keep spiders from crawling inside by adding a spring to the canister vent line, Reuters reported.

Since then, there have been nine reports of cracked fuel tanks in cars equipped with the spring. After the 2011 recall, Mazda changed the sedan’s software, and the problem hasn’t appeared in any of the cars with the update.

For the current recall, Mazda will reprogram the software in the older cars free of charge and clean out any blockages in the vent hose. Though it may prevent fuel tank cracks, the software upgrade hasn’t been shown to keep the spiders out.

Gail Sullivan covers business for the Morning Mix blog.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
From clubfoot to climbing: Double amputee lives life of adventure
Learn to make traditional soup dumplings
In defense of dads
Play Videos
How to make head cheese
Perks of private flying
The rise and fall of baseball cards
Play Videos
Husband finds love, loss in baseball
New hurdles for a Maryland tradition
How to survive a shark attack
Play Videos
Portland's most important meal of the day
What you need to know about Legionnaires' disease
How to save and spend money at college
Next Story
Gail Sullivan · April 7, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.