Mazda recalls 65,000 cars because of fire-starting spiders
Mazda has announced a massive recall of 65,000 cars in North and Central America because of spiders.
The Japanese carmaker has now found 20 cases of yellow sac spiders spinning webs in vent lines, which could lead to fire.
The webs could cause the emissions control system to increase pressure on the fuel tank, leading to cracks in the system and a subsequent risk of fire.
Dealers will check the cars for cracks, clean out any webs and put a spring in the vent line to stop the spiders from getting back in.
Japanese journalist Mitsuhiro Kunisawa told Reuters: "While it's very rare, this spider's distinguishing characteristic is that it likes the smell of gasoline, caused by the hydrogen oxide. Once it smells the gasoline from outside, it will go inside. In the United States, it's a relatively common type of spider."
Kunisawa also said that the Mazda6 unusually has two pipe lines coming out of its fuel tank instead of one, which could be the reason the smell of fuel is strong enough to attract the yellow sac spider.
Although Mazda says it doesn't know of any incidents where cracks or fires have actually been started by the troublesome arachnids, 50,000 2009/10 model year cars with 2.5-litre petrol engines are being recalled in the United States with another 15,000 in Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
Mazda spokesman Jeremy Barnes said the exact reason the spiders were so attracted to the car was not yet clear. "Perhaps yellow sac spiders like to go zoom-zoom?" he said, in a misguided attempt at a joke.
A web of intrigue, if ever we saw one.