Ford Motor Co. engineers have developed an improved screen to keep spiders from nesting inside vehicles, where they can disrupt vehicle operations.
In North America, yellow sac spiders sometimes seek to nest inside vehicles. Instead of using webs to catch prey, they build cocoon-like webs for shelter and to lay eggs. Their home is dense enough to potentially block fuel vapor lines, which can lead to engine damage and diminished vehicle performance, Ford said.
In 2014, for example, Mazda and Suzuki both issued safety recalls linked to potential spider web blockage of evaporative canister vent hoses.
David Gimby, a Ford fuel systems engineer, began looking into how to keep spiders out of Ford vehicles back in 1999. Having no background in arachnology, he researched the life and science of spiders. In 2004 Ford produced its first spider screen, which has kept spiders from nesting inside Ford vehicles for years.
“These particular arachnids are not sedentary – they are hunters and constantly roaming,” Gimby explained. “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.”
The technology has continued to evolve. The improved spider screen will be implemented across the Ford lineup in North America. It will go global with the launch of the all-new 2016 Ford Focus RS.
Keeping fuel vapor lines clear is key to air and vapor circulation for a vehicle’s carbon canister, where fuel vapors are captured so they don’t enter the environment. “The Ford-developed spider screen keeps spiders out of the line, but allows air and vapor flow for optimal vehicle operation,” the company said.
To watch a video about the spider screen, click on the photo or link below the headline.