Car-achnophobia II: Spiders Force Second Mazda 6 Recall for Cracked Fuel Tanks

Car-achnophobia II: Spiders Force Second Mazda 6 Recall for Cracked Fuel Tanks

In a modern-day twist of the classic children’s book “Be Nice to Spiders,” Mazda is recalling 42,000 cars because Yellow Sac spiders have weaved webs in fuel-tank vent lines and caused the tanks to crack and leak. You say, “whaaaat?”

The problem, now in its second chapter, affects the 2010–2012 Mazda 6 with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. In 2011, Mazda recalled 52,000 6 sedans of 2009–2010 vintage for the same thing. Spider webs were blocking an evaporative vent and created a vacuum inside the gas tank. When the car’s emission system activated to purge excess fuel vapors, the resulting negative pressure was strong enough to cause the plastic fuel tank to crack. At that time, Mazda was aware of two reports of cracked gas tanks in the U.S. It decided to install a spring in the vent line to block spiders from entering and reprogram the car’s ECU to recognize if the negative pressure inside the tank was strong enough to induce the stress cracks.

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But for some reason, not all of the cars fitted with the blocking spring received the software upgrade, which led to another 11 cases of cracked fuel tanks in the U.S.—many of which had spider webs. Starting now, dealers will clean out the vent, replace the entire fuel tank if they see a spider web, and update the ECU software. The carmaker said it was not aware of any injuries or fires, so Mazda 6 owners shouldn’t take their rage out on the now homeless Yellow Sac spiders crawling nearby.

About Clifford Atiyeh