The Mazda6 is no more. The sedan made headlines recently when Mazda decided to discontinue it in the U.S for 2022. However, this isn’t the only time that the car has made headlines. It was previously in the news for a pretty creepy reason. Those afraid of insects and arachnids beware!
What is the Mazda6 sedan?
The Mazda6 was first introduced in Japan back in 2002, meaning that the family sedan nearly made it to the two-decade mark before being discontinued. Even its current third-generation iteration just missed a milestone decade birthday, having been introduced back in 2012.
In losing this option in the Mazda lineup, consumers miss out on an option for a family sedan that we praised elsewhere for its combination of safety and performance. Indeed, it came in second only to the Honda Accord on U.S. News‘s overall scorecard for midsize cars. It also won a prestigious IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, the top award that the organization gives.
Along with the Mazda6 midsize sedan, the manufacturer is discontinuing the CX-3 subcompact SUV, leaving the Mazda3 as the manufacturer’s only sedan and smallest model option available in the Mazda’s U.S. lineup. This is due to Mazda recently becoming much more focused on SUVs for the U.S. market.
The Mazda6 was known for having a very strange problem
While the Mazda6 had a good reputation for performance and safety, there was a time not all that long ago when it was also known for something else entirely. That would be spiders. As Mazda Problems explains, yellow sac spiders showed great enthusiasm for nesting in the line running to the purge valve in the sedan’s evaporative emissions system. The webs created by these spiders would create blockages in the line, which in turn would cause pressure in the fuel tank to build up. The pressure, in turn, would lead to cracks in the tank, which was considered a fire hazard.
As a result of all this, Mazda actually recalled the Mazda6 on two different occasions due to issues related to spider infestations. The Verge explains that Mazda first issued a recall in 2011 of 52,000 vehicles from the 2009-2010 model years. During that recall, the manufacturer installed a spring designed to keep the arachnids out of the line.
However, the spring apparently didn’t entirely do the trick. Spiders were still finding their way into lines. So in 2014, Mazda issued a second recall of 42,000 Mazda6 sedans in the US, model years 2010 to 2012. CNN Business explains that this recall gave the company a chance to install a software update to the vehicle that would prevent pressure from building up dangerously in the case of a spider infestation. With this update, the company appeared to recognize that keeping spiders out altogether was a pipe dream.
Oddly, according to Reuters, these blockages only seemed to occur on Mazda6 models produced at the plant in Flat Rock, Michigan.
Why did spiders like this Mazda sedan so much?
No one knows for sure why spiders have been so inclined to put down roots in the Mazda6. Additionally, it should be noted that spiders have been known to make a home in other manufacturers’ vehicles as well, most famously Toyota says Car Complaints. The Verge explains that spiders are usually attracted to gasoline and other hydrocarbons.
Still, there was something about the Mazda6 that seemed to make it particularly susceptible to spider infestations. Mazda Problems speculates that the diameter of the vent lines in most other cars is either big enough to prevent blockage or too small for spiders to use the lines as a home. The Mazda6 vent lines, on the other hand, appear to be just the right diameter for the spiders.
Mazda’s comments on the reasons for the Mazda6’s popularity with spiders have been minimal. But as The Verge reports, one Mazda representative’s answer to the question was the following: “Don’t ask me, I’m terrified of the damn things.”