We have all heard of vehicle recalls for sudden unintended acceleration, but unintended arachnid infestation is a novelty. It seems one particular species, the yellow sac spider, has been building nests in one particular version of the 2009/10 Mazda6 midsize sedan – the model powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine.
In its notification to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Madza said this spider "may weave a web in the evaporative canister vent line and this may cause a restriction of the line." Should this restriction occur, it would cause a drop in fuel tank pressure, which may in turn lead to it cracking, leaking fuel and creating a fire risk.
Mazda states "there have been no fires, accidents or injuries in conjunction with this issue." But the company is recalling 65,916 cars in North America as preventative measure, following 20 reports of yellow sac spider infestation. "Dealers will check the vent line for obstruction, clean or replace it as necessary and install a check-valve which will prevent blockage in the future," said Mazda. This might even entail replacing the gas tank. The work will be carried out at no cost to owners, who should receive word in the mail toward the end of March.
No one knows why the little critter (aka Cheiracanthium inclusum) found this fuel line to be an attractive place to build a nest. Obviously, the finely tuned chassis means an enjoyable drive and the car's many safety features make it good place to protect young folk with two, four or eight legs. "Maybe they just like cars that go zoom-zoom," said Jeremy Barnes, Mazda's director of communications. Oddly, even though V6-equipped Mazda6 sedans have the same fuel line equipment, the yellow sac spider hasn't felt the same pull. Perhaps its because the V6 consumes gas at a rate of 18/27 mph (city/highway), while the 2.4-liter four returns 22/31.
Owners may contact Mazda customer service at (800) 222-5500. This issue's safety recall number is 6211B. The corresponding NHTSA campaign ID number is 11V134000. The administration's web (pardon the pun) address is safercar.gov and its vehicle safety hotline is (888) 327-4236.