Mazda is the latest automotive manufacturer to recall thousands of vehicles. But it's not faulty gas pedals or fuel gauges sending 52,000 Mazda6 cars back to their maker — it's a gas-loving spider. Here, a quick guide to the bizarre recall:
How can a spider make a car unsafe?
Mazda found that if spiders build their webs inside the Mazda6's emission control system, it could increase pressure in the fuel tank and lead to possible leaks and build-ups. That could cause the car to catch fire, or even explode.
Why would the spiders go inside the car in the first place?
It's not just any spider, but the Yellow Sac spider. This arachnid, which is common in the U.S, is attracted to the smell of gasoline. The Mazda6 is unique in that it has two pipes coming from its gas tanks, making the smell strong enough to attract the Yellow Sac spiders.
Is this really that big of a problem?
Mazda has already found two cases of yellow sac spiders nesting in the emission system of its cars — enough to prompt the recall of more than 50,000 vehicles. So far, no cars have caught fire because of the spiderwebs.
How will they fix this?
Each recalled Mazda6 will be fitted with a spring in the car's vent line to prevent spiders from building their webs there.
Where else can spiderwebs cause a problem?
If you find yourself unable to light your gas grill, says Gian Trotta at Consumer Reports, it might be because spiders "love to build webs and nests" in the tubes leading to the burner. But be careful trying to get rid of them — Galen Winchell of Sargent, Ga., accidentally set fire to his home in 2008 while cleaning cobwebs from its eaves with a blowtorch. Mazda owners are advised not to do the same with their fuel tanks.
Sources: Reuters, New York Times, Consumer Reports
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- George W. Bush 'ran the country like a cable network,' and other political insights from Chris Rock
- How Wall Street is chipping away at reform
- How I lost all my money
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- 10 things you need to know today: December 21, 2014
- How to make the ultimate grilled cheese
Subscribe to the Week