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Spiders Trigger Another Mazda6 Recall

April 7, 2014
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Automakers usually issue recalls because of a defective part in the vehicle. In other cases, a problem in the vehicle is caused by something else. Take Mazda’s case, for instance: the Japanese car manufacturer was recently prompted to issue a recall due to certain gasoline-loving arachnids. After three years, Mazda North America recalls cars again because of spiders.

In the official recall notice sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Mazda stated that it is recalling model year 2010 to 2012 Mazda6 vehicles, specifically those built from September 14, 2009 through May 2, 2011 and equipped with a 2.5L engine.

The aforementioned vehicles are being recalled as spiders could weave a web in the evaporative canister vent hose. The web could obstruct the fuel tank and increase negative pressure. Too much negative pressure in the tank may cause it to crack and leak, increasing fire risk.

Mazda pointed out that in extreme cases, “the purging of the canister may cause the tank to become damaged if the line is blocked.”

In a statement, Mazda reminded people of its earlier recall, the first one caused by the Yellow Sac spider. According to the automaker, this particular type of spider “is attracted to hydrocarbons and built a web in a vent line.” The company addressed the issue before by covering the vent line to prevent spiders from entering it and reprogramming the ECU (engine control unit) “to change the logic behind how the car purges the charcoal canister during normal operation.”

Mazda admitted that while they did install vent line covers to all the cars after the recall, it did not apply the ECU logic change. Now, the company will be applying the logic change by reflashing the ECU.

By December 2013, Mazda confirmed nine incidents in which spider webs were the problem. In all nine cases, the cars only had the spring to prevent the arachnid from entering. Two months later, the automaker discovered that the Yellow Sac spider can still intrude even with the spring in place.

Mazda will send notices to customers later this month to inform them when they can head to the dealerships to get their cars fixed. Dealers will reprogram the powertrain control module as well as check and clean the canister vent line. Updating the software will allow tank pressure to be controlled to lower the possibility of cracking, even if a spider web blocks the vent line.

In the event there is a web in the line, the fuel tank and check valve on the canister vent line will be replaced. The repair and replacement will be done free of charge.

This recall affects 42,000 cars. Webby fuel tanks is not an issue found on other Mazda models. The problem was found only on cars manufactured at the Auto Alliance plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, where Mazda once built cars in partnership with Ford Motor Corp. The Japanese automaker halted production in this site in August 2012.

Mazda knows that there are no accidents, injuries or fires linked to the problem.

In 2011, Mazda recalled 52,000 model year 2009 to 2010 Mazda6 sedans because spider webs were blocking the evaporative canister vent lines.

Photo credit: NRMA Motoring and Services/ Flickr/ CC BY

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