This consumer class action arises from a latent defect found in model year 2015 – through 2018 Honda Civic, CR-V, and Accord vehicles with 1.5-liter direct injection turbocharged engines.
As alleged, the engines in these vehicles suffer from an inherent latent defect that results in the engine oil becoming diluted with gasoline, which is known as fuel dilution. Due to the defect, gasoline gets into the crankcase, diluting the oil and reducing the oil’s ability to protect and lubricate the engine, leading to premature engine wear, potential engine damage and ultimately potential engine failure. In addition, fuel dilution can lead to gasoline fumes seeping in to the passenger compartment.
According to the complaint, under normal circumstances, un-combusted gasoline accumulates in the lubricant oil pan and evaporates under heat from the engine that then ends up back in the engine combustion chamber as fuel. In the vehicles at issue, however, owners are reporting that un-combusted gasoline is diluting the engine oil which manifests in a strong smell of gasoline inside the cabin, in the short term, and gasoline in the oil that may lead to engine damage in the long term. Some drivers have reported that the car’s check-engine light has switched on as result.
Despite notice and knowledge of the defect from the numerous complaints it has received, information received from dealers, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) complaints, and their own internal records, including pre-sale durability testing, Honda has not recalled and/or offered an adequate engine repair to the Class Vehicles, offered their customers suitable repairs or replacements free of charge, or offered to reimburse their customers who have incurred out-of-pocket expenses to repair the defect.
This is a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of current and former Honda vehicle owners and lessees with defective engine starting systems in model years (“MY”) 2013-15 Honda Accord and 2013-15 Honda Crosstour vehicles (the “Class Vehicles” or “Vehicles”).
The engine starter (or “starter motor”) is an essential component of a vehicle that spins the engine when the start position is engaged by the ignition system. This allows the vehicle’s engine to “start” and begin running. This action arises from Defendants’ failure, despite their longstanding knowledge of this material and manufacturing defect, to disclose to Plaintiff and other consumers that the Class Vehicles are predisposed to a starter system defect (collectively, the “Starter Defect”). This defect – which typically manifests during and shortly after the limited warranty period has expired – will inevitably cause the starter motors and batteries in the Class Vehicles to prematurely fail. Once the starter motors and batteries fail to operate correctly, the engines in the Class Vehicles will not start, leaving operators and passengers stranded.
Vehicles are rendered inoperable when the Starter Defect manifests. As alleged herein, the Class Members’ vehicles completely fail to start due to the Starter Defect since the vehicle’s engine cannot properly turn over in a manner as required to start the vehicle. This causes the operator and passengers to become stranded and often requires the vehicle to be towed to the nearest service provider, all at the consumer’s expense.
The complaint further claims that not only did Honda actively conceal the fact that particular components within the starter system were not assembled and manufactured correctly (and require costly repairs to fix), they did not reveal that the existence of this defect would diminish the intrinsic and resale value of the Class Vehicles.