Ford announced Wednesday that it has a new solution to a common automotive problem in the United States: Spiders.
The somewhat unconventional announcement (see lead image) outlined a very conventional solution: a screen. The new screen is designed to prevent spider infestations from compromising vehicle fuel systems.
The culprit? An exceedingly common breed of arachnid referred to as the yellow sac spider, which can be found just about everywhere in North America.
“These particular Arachnids are not sedentary – they are hunters and constantly roaming,” explained David Gimby, Ford fuel systems engineer. “When it’s time to build a birthing cocoon or an over-winter cocoon, they seek a cavity or a depression, like a fuel vapor line opening, which allows them to maximize the use of their silk.”
Ford has been working on variants of the countermeasure since 1999, when Gimby first sought a solution to infestations. The new screen is an evolution of a design that was first implemented in 2004.
Mazda recalled 42,000 vehicles in the US market just last year due to spider infestations. The spiders’ webs blocked evaporative canister vent lines, causing problems with fuel-tank pressure.
In some cases, the tanks were vulnerable to cracking and leaking fuel, though the company did not know of any fires or accidents caused by compromised fuel systems.
The problems were not limited to Mazda’s fleet; similar blockages were reported in Honda and Hyundai models.