New screen will stop fuel-sniffing creepy crawlies nesting in vehicles
Their eight rippling legs strike fear into many, but spiders scare car manufacturers too, because they can break vehicles.
Now, engineers at Ford have come up with anti-spider technology to keep creepy crawlies from nesting in its cars.
The firm’s ‘spider screen’ is being rolled out across North America and will be included in the global launch of the 2016 Ford Focus RS
The engineers are bringing their fight to Cheiracanthium mildei and Cheiracanthium inclusum - two species known as yellow sac spiders.
The arachnids have been known to nest inside vehicles for years, resulting in headaches for drivers and car manufacturers, including Toyota and Mazda, which have both had to recall car models because of spider problems.
Instead of using webs to catch prey, these spiders build cocoon-like webs for shelter and to lay eggs.
The problem is that their home is dense enough to potentially block fuel vapour lines, which can lead to engine damage.
David Gimby, Ford fuel systems engineer, first began looking into how to keep spiders out of Ford vehicles in 1999.
He researched the life and science of spiders and 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,’ he 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 vapour line opening, which allows them to maximize the use of their silk.’
He continued: ‘Spiders can be a nuisance for our vehicle owners.’
‘We studied these species to discern how they nest, then designed an effective device for excluding the larger, problematic spiders from nesting in our cars.’
The improved screen is being rolled out in new Ford cars across North America and will go global with the launch of the 2016 Ford Focus RS.
Keeping fuel vapour lines clear is fundamental to air and vapour circulation for a vehicle’s carbon canister, where fuel vapours are captured so they don’t enter the environment.
The spider screen keeps spiders out of the line, allowing air and vapour flow so vehicles can work properly.