Ford Spider Screen Keeps Eight-Legged Freaks Out Of Four-Wheeled Vehicles

The 2016 Ford Focus RS boasts a number of new and improved features but one in particular will soothe even the most nervous customers: a revamped spider screen designed to bar web-weaving arachnids from the vehicle's vital parts.

Spiders – more precisely, the webs and nests they construct – have been implicated in a number of vehicle safety issues over the years. By clogging narrow lines and pipes, the wee beasties and their works literally gum up the works and have led to a number of large recalls.

Mazda, for example, was forced to recall their Mazda 6 models after spider infestations caused pressure cracks to appear in the gas tanks. Toyota conducted a similar recall to modify parts of their cars' air conditioning systems. Imagine that: spiders in the AC!

Ford happens to be a leader in spider infiltration: as far back as 1999, Ford fuel systems engineer David Gimpy (below) was testing out anti-spider solutions. By 2004, Gimpy had come up with a cylindrical anti-spider screen that barred arachnids in a way that didn't restrict the flow of air and fuel vapors.

“Spiders can be a nuisance for our vehicle owners,” stated Gimpy. “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.” Arachnophobes should note there's still no way to bar the entry of smaller, not-so-problematic spiders so such persons may as well avoid driving or being driven altogether.

A dozen years later, Ford's Focus RS is set to hit showroom floors from Astoria (Maine) to Australia and knowing the land down under's deserved reputation for harboring some seriously scary spiders, Ford ordered their standard spider screen upgraded to handle anything an Oz-spider could throw at it. What say ye, spiders, challenge accepted? (via, Autoblog, USA Today, and Barry Johnson)