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Mazda recalls 65,000 cars for spider problem

In certain Mazda6 cars, spider nests in hoses linked to fuel tank systems could cause pressurization and ventilation problems, Mazda says.

March 03, 2011|By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
  • Mazda has an itsy-bitsy problem -- spider nests in tiny rubber hoses linked to fuel tank systems -- and it's recalling 65,000 Mazda6 cars to fix it.
Mazda has an itsy-bitsy problem -- spider nests in tiny rubber hoses linked… (Mazda )

Mazda Motor Corp. has an itsy-bitsy problem, and it's recalling 65,000 cars to fix it.

Spider nests in tiny rubber hoses linked to fuel tank systems could cause pressurization and ventilation problems in certain cars, according to the Japanese automaker.

In a worst-case scenario, such clogs could lead to fuel leaks and fires. But the problem hasn't resulted in any serious incidents so far, the company said, and all technicians fixing the hoses have escaped unbitten.

After dealers around the country found 20 cases of the arachnid infestation, the company pulled back 65,000 Mazda6 cars from the 2009 and 2010 model years in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Mazda identified the culprit as the yellow sac spider, or Cheiracanthium inclusum. The pale, mildly venomous creatures lay their eggs in silk-wrapped bunches — usually in vegetation.

But why they're choosing Mazdas instead of, say, Porsche Spyders, is a mystery. As is the fact that only the 4-cylinder Mazda6 cars are playing host.

"We really don't know how they're getting in," said Jeremy Barnes, a spokesman for Mazda North American Operations. "I'd think it would be pretty tricky, but spiders are resourceful."

His best guess is that the small arachnids are slipping in behind the gas cap and then sneaking down the hose.

Owners of recalled cars will be notified within the next few weeks. Dealers who find evidence of the spiders will clean out or replace the hoses and, if necessary, swap out the gas tank.

"This is a really strange case, right up there with the more unusual ones," Barnes said.

In fact, he said, "this one takes the cake." Or the curds and whey.

tiffany.hsu@latimes.com

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