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Last 7 Days

by Tim Beissmann

That’s not a header you read every day, is it? Incredibly though, it’s true. More that 65,000 Mazda6 vehicles have been recalled across North America over concerns that spider webs can cause the vehicles’ fuel tanks to crack and leak.

The recall affects 2009 and 2010 model year Mazda6 vehicles manufactured at the Auto Alliance International plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, between April 8, 2008 and February 8, 2010.

The official recall notice published on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website explains:

“A certain type of spider may weave a web in the evaporative canister vent line and this may cause 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.”

As a part of the recall, dealers will inspect and clean up the canister vent line, and install a spring to prevent the particular type of spider from entering the vent line.

It is unknown at this stage why only Mazda6 vehicles from the Flat Rock plant have been affected. Mazda first received a complaint on the issue in October 2009, and since then 26 incidents have been reported.

The specific breed is the Yellow Sac Spider, a member of the Cheiracanthium genus. Both males and females typically grow to between 5mm and 10mm long and related species are found commonly in North America and much of the northern hemisphere, as well as in southern Africa, India and Australia.

Mazda6 vehicles sold in Australia are manufactured at Mazda’s Hofu Plant No. 2 in Japan, and locally sold vehicles are not believed to be susceptible to similar spider infestations.