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Can spiders really make your car explode?
Mazda recalls 52,000 vehicles that might be at risk of arachnid invasion. Wait, what?
A gas-loving spider (yellow sac, pictured) is causing headaches for Mazda, which has to recall 52,000 of its cars to save drivers from possible spider-related fires... or worse.
A gas-loving spider (yellow sac, pictured) is causing headaches for Mazda, which has to recall 52,000 of its cars to save drivers from possible spider-related fires... or worse.
CC BY: Eran Finkle
M

azda 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

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