Toyota Recalls 870,000 Buggy Cars — Actually, Spidery

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Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) is recalling 870,000 vehicles from a number of different model years and countries for a problem that could cause the vehicles’ air bags to inflate. The root of the issue is spiders.

It seems that spiders can get into a vehicle’s air conditioning condenser unit where they spin a web that blocks the condenser’s drainage tube. The accumulated water then could drip onto the car’s airbag control module and cause a short circuit. At that point a number of things could go wrong, from turning on the airbag warning light to deploying the airbags.

The company said that it is aware of 3 airbag deployments and 35 instances of the warning light coming on. In all these cases, the only common factor in the blockage to the drainage tube has been spider webs.

Pesky spiders forced Mazda to recall 52,000 cars in 2011. The spiders had blocked a gas tank vent line with their webs.

Toyota said it will notify owners of affected vehicles and will fix the problem in those that need repair at no charge.