Toyota Recalls 870,000 Vehicles, Blames… Spiders?

We’re cool with spiders. Until the creepy little critters crawl inside our cars’ condensers and force an 870,000-vehicle recall.

Well here’s a story you’ll find helpful and perhaps a little creepy. Toyota is recalling 87,000 vehicles because of spontaneously inflating airbags. And they’re blaming… spiders. Yep. Those 8-legged, screech-inducing little bastards have finally gone too far.

Arachnids who likely will swear they were just minding their own business, looking for a high, dry place to catch a nap , have been known to spin webs inside cars’ condensers. While that’s all well and good for the spider, it’s a dirty deal for your otherwise perfectly nice ride. That’s because the webs can block your car air conditioner drainage tubes, blocking the area where AC condensation is supposed to go. Since it’s gotta go somewhere, that condensation instead drips into the airbag control module, which causes a short circuit, which can cause your airbag to deploy for no good reason at all, which can make for a very unpleasant surprise the next time you’re driving down the road, truly minding your own business.

Toyota has reported three cases of sudden, undue airbag deployment and 35 instances of the airbag warning lights coming on. And while they’re not saying for sure that mischief-making spiders are the tried-and-convicted culprits (spiders aren’t even mentioned in the media release posted on the company’ website), company officials do admit that the one common denominator among those 38 vehicles is the presence of spider webs. Officials also warn that spiders can cause problems with power steering.

Included in the recall are 2012 and 2013 Camry, Venza and Avalon cars – both the gasoline and hybrid versions.

This ain’t the first time spiders have wreaked havoc on automotive systems. In 2011, Mazda recalled 52,000 Mazda6 sedans over spider webs built inside a vent line, causing problems with the gasoline tank. And who knows how many fender-benders have occurred when drivers spontaneously began flinging and flailing at the sight of a spider cruising across their dashboards.

What’s the creepiest critter who ever invaded your automotive space? Post your stories on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.

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