Petrol-Sniffing Spider Forces Mazda into Recall and Real-World Bug-Fix

By Gary Cutlack on at

A bizarre case of spider infestation has forced car-maker Mazda to recall 42,000 Mazda 6 models for a software update, one designed to counteract the fact that a certain variety of spider is drawn to the smell of petrol and enjoys nesting in its fuel tank vent line.

The issue is caused by the yellow sac spider, which, so they say, is drawn to the tasty smell of hydrocarbons, just like tramps and children and men in their 50s. The mess of webs they can create in the fuel tank vent can can stop the tank from venting, leading to an increase in pressure and the possibility of cracks and, in a worst-case-scenario that fortunately hasn't happened, fire.

Mazda's solution for the bug problem is a software update that takes into account the fact that spiders seem unnaturally drawn to its cars and moderates pressure. A similar problem in 2011 with earlier Mazda 6 models triggered a redesign of the car to stop them getting it. But they still got in. [NYT via Engadget]