Mazda is being bugged by spiders.
For the second time in three years, the automaker is recalling vehicles to deal with spiders that can get inside fuel tank hoses and block the airflow. The problem could lead to fires.
The recent recall applies to 42,000 Mazda6 midsize sedans from model years 2010 to 2012 that are equipped with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Though no fires, car accidents or injuries have been reported, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that spiders are capable of weaving webs inside a vent hose connected to the fuel tank, causing a blockage that could create excessive negative pressure.
That extra pressure could crack the tank and allow fuel to leak, creating a potential for fires in the engine and higher risk of injury for the motorist.
Mazda dealers are to notify vehicle owners and reprogram the vehicles’ engine control units to compensate for any spider webs inside vent hoses. The hoses are to be inspected and cleaned as well.
Mazda went through a similar situation in 2011 when it recalled 65,000 sedans from model years 2009-10 after it found yellow sac spiders were attracted to hydrocarbons in the cars and were crawling into fuel tank vents. The company placed covers on the vents to stop the invasion and later decided to reprogram the cars’ computers.
The auto industry is on pace to set a record in 2014 for U.S. recalls. Toyota and General Motors have announced recalls on millions of cars because of defects so far this year. Toyota called back vehicles to repair a number of problems, including faulty deactivation of air bags. The company also paid $1.2 billion to settle a case after the Justice Department accused it of covering up problems related to unintended vehicle accelerations starting in 2009.
GM, meanwhile, recalled 2.6 million small cars to fix faulty ignition switches believed to be linked to 13 deaths. The company is under investigation by Congress, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and others over allegations that it covered up of the problem starting in the early 2000s.
An Alabama man filed suit recently against GM, claiming that a faulty ignition switch in a Chevrolet Cobalt led to the death of his daughter in a December 2013 wreck, according to the Detroit Free Press. The man says his daughter’s car went out of control, crossed into the oncoming lane and was hit by a logging truck, killing her almost immediately.
Experts believe car makers can serve themselves and the public better by making recalls quickly and efficiently. But as the federal crackdowns on Toyota and GM show, manufacturers aren’t always forthcoming about their failures.