By Richard Bartz (Own work)

Japanese automotive manufacturer Mazda has announced that it is to update software on a number of vehicles over fears that a particular species of spider could weave its web in engines and cause blockages.

The yellow sac spider is attracted to the smell of petrol and has been known to make its home inside engine units, which can cause an obstruction and a build-up of pressure.

A software update can be easily applied to those models affected that will monitor engine pressure and warn the driver of any potential danger.

According to the BBC, 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.

Some 42,000 vehicles are potentially affected, mainly Mazda6 models produced between 2010-2012 and customers have been asked to take their cars to a local dealer so the software update can be applied free of charge.

Mazda explained in filings made to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: "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."

Mazda attempted to address the problem in 2011 when it began fitting covers over engine vents to prevent spiders from crawling in – but this was only partially effective as yellow sac spiders have continued to create webs within the vehicles.

Although this case is limited to the North American market, species of yellow sacs can be found in Europe, Japan and South Africa.