For the second time in three years, Mazda has been caught in a tangled web of intrigue. Call it "Attack of the Tiny Spiders." The result is a weird recall of 42,000 of its midsize cars.
The automaker is recalling Mazda6 sedans from the 2010, 2011 and 2012 model years because spiders can weave a web in an evaporative fuel hose, blocking it and causing executive negative pressure to build up in the fuel tank. Too much pressure, Mazda warns in its filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and a fuel could crack and leak. Fuel leaks can lead to a fires.
In 2011, Mazda recalled 65,000 2009 and 2010 Mazda6s for the same issue. Those Mazdas were made in Flat Rock, Mich., where Mazda shared manufacturing at the time with Ford. Mazda thought it could keep spiders out by installing a spring inside the fuel line. In its latest filing, however, Mazda says it has found nine cases in which the spring wasn't enough to keep out the spiders.
The latest recall only involves Mazda6s made from September 14, 2009 to through May 2, 2011, and equipped with 2.5-liter engine. To thwart the spiders, Mazda will reprogram the powertrain control module to lessen pressure and inspect and clean the vent line. If the inspection shows a web is present, the fuel tank and check valve on the canister vent line will be replaced, Mazda says in its filing.