GM named in class action lawsuit over excessive oil consumption in Chevrolet Equinox vehicles

 

This class action pertains to Model Year 2010-2017 Chevrolet Equinox vehicles with 2.4-liter engines. These engines were denominated within GM as the “LAF” and “LEA” engines (also referred to herein as the “EcoTech 2.4L” engine).

 

As alleged, GM knew that these vehicles contained one or more design and/or manufacturing defects that cause them to be unable to properly utilize the engine oil and, in fact, to improperly burn off and/or consume abnormally high amounts of oil (the “Oil Consumption Defect”).

The primary cause of the Oil Consumption Defect was the composition and construction of faulty piston rings, including both “compression” and “oil” rings. In particular, the composition of compression rings did not permit these rings to withstand the higher compression ratios of the LAF and LEA engines, in that the coating would fail and cause premature ring wear, and that these rings were too thin. Additionally, GM installed low-tension oil rings in these engines that do not maintain sufficient tension to keep oil in the crank case within design specifications.

Included in the EcoTec 2.4L engines, which further contributes to the Oil Consumption Defect, are spray jets that spray oil onto the piston skirt and cylinder wall. This was not common on other engines with adequate piston rings. This oil spray overloads and fouls the defective piston rings, triggering oil to migrate past the piston rings into other places in the engine. This excess oil either burns off or accumulates as a carbon buildup on the combustion chamber’s surfaces.

The complaint also alleges that the EcoTec 2.4L engine includes a flawed Positive Crankcase Ventilation system that vacuums oil from the valve train into the intake system, where it is ultimately burned in the combustion chambers.

The engine oil defect can cause a myriad of issues creating a safety issue including:

  • Sudden engine shutoff, resulting in loss of power, loss of braking, and inability to adequately maneuver in high-speed or congested driving situations;
  • Driver distraction due to sudden and unexpected engine shutoff, caused by sudden loss of power, illumination of warning lights and sounds, and loss or diminution of power brake assist;
  • Loss of maneuverability in high-speed or congested driving conditions due to unexpected loss of engine power—even when the engine does not shut off;

COMPLAINT

General Motors named in class action lawsuit over defect in 2010-2017 Chevrolet Equinox vehicles which leads to excess oil consumption

 

 

 

GM designed, manufactured, distributed, marketed, sold, and leased Model Year 2010- 2017 Chevrolet Equinox vehicles with 2.4-liter engines (“Class Vehicles” or “Vehicles”) to Plaintiff and Class Members.

As alleged, prior to 2010, GM knew that the Class Vehicles contained one or more design and/or manufacturing defects, including, but not limited to, defects contained in the Class Vehicles’ engines that cause them to be unable to properly utilize the engine oil and, in fact, to improperly burn off and/or consume abnormally high amounts of oil (the “Oil Consumption Defect.”)

The Oil Consumption Defect is a safety concern because it prevents the engine from maintaining the proper level of engine oil, causing excessive oil consumption that cannot be reasonably anticipated or predicted. Therefore, the Oil Consumption Defect is unreasonably dangerous because it can cause engine failure while the Class Vehicles are in operation at any time and under any driving conditions or speeds, exposing the Class Vehicle drivers, their passengers, and others who share the road with them to serious risks of accidents and injury.

Because the Oil Consumption Defect can cause the Class Vehicles to consume unacceptably high amounts of engine oil, the rate of oil consumption for some Class Vehicles can be as high as one quart of oil per 1,000 miles driven. The Oil Consumption Defect thus requires the addition of substantial amounts of oil between scheduled oil changes and can even result in engine damage. As a result of the Oil Consumption Defect, its potential safety hazards, and GM’s refusal to acknowledge and fix the problem, many consumers have resorted to purchasing an extra supply of oil and carrying it with them at all times when driving.

The complaint claims GM knew of and concealed the existence of the Oil Consumption Defect contained in every Class Vehicle, along with the attendant dangerous safety problems and associated costs, from Plaintiff and Class Members at the time they purchased or leased their Class Vehicles and thereafter. GM’s concealment caused Plaintiffs and Class Members to experience the Oil Consumption Defect throughout the life of the Class Vehicles, which includes use within the warranty period.

Despite notice of the Oil Consumption Defect from various internal sources, GM has not recalled the Class Vehicles to repair the defect, has not offered all of its customers a suitable repair or replacement free of charge, and has not offered to reimburse all Class Vehicle owners and leaseholders who incurred costs relating to the defect, including, but not limited to, costs related to inspections, diagnosis, repairs, and unreasonably frequent oil changes/additions between scheduled oil changes.

As a result of their reliance on GM’s omissions and/or affirmative misrepresentations, owners and/or lessees of the Class Vehicles have suffered ascertainable losses of money, property, and/or of value of their Class Vehicles.

Complaint

Suburu named in class action lawsuit over excessive oil consumption in vehicles

subaru

This action arises from Defendants’ failure, despite their longstanding knowledge of a material design defect, to disclose to Plaintiffs and other consumers that certain Subaru  Vehicles have an oil consumption defect. This defect – which typically manifests during and/or shortly after the limited warranty period has expired – causes the Vehicles to burn an excessive portion of their engine oil, leading to increased emissions, decreased fuel efficiency, and potentially significant damage to the engine, catalytic converter, and other engine components.

The vehicles implicated by the lawsuit are:

2011-2014 Subaru Forester 2.5L

  • 2013 Legacy 2.5L
  • 2013 Outback 2.5L
  • 2012-2013 Impreza 2.0L
  • 2013 XV Crosstrek 2.0L

 

The Oil Consumption Defect poses a safety risk to the driver and passengers of the Vehicles because it prevents the engine from maintaining the proper level of engine oil, and causes an excessive amount of engine oil consumption that can neither be reasonably anticipated nor predicted. Further, the Oil Consumption Defect can cause sudden engine failure while the Vehicles are in operation at any time and under any driving condition or speed. This exposes the driver and passengers of the Vehicles, as well as others who share the road with them, to an increased risk of accident, injury, or death.

As alleged, although Subaru has long been aware of the Oil Consumption Defect, it has regularly and systematically refused to repair the Vehicles without charge when the Oil Consumption Defect manifests itself, and have generally refused to pay for the costs of the excessive oil consumption and tests for the Oil Consumption Defect.

As a result of Defendants’ unfair, deceptive and/or fraudulent business practices, owners and/or lessees of the Vehicles, including Plaintiffs, have suffered an ascertainable loss of money and/or property and/or loss in value. The unfair and deceptive trade practices committed by Defendants were conducted in a manner giving rise to substantial aggravating circumstances.

Had Plaintiffs and other Class members known about the Oil Consumption Defect at the time of purchase or lease, they would not have bought or leased the Vehicles, or would have paid substantially less for them. The Oil Consumption Defect has also injured Class members by requiring them to constantly replenish (and pay for) engine oil in the Vehicles at an unreasonably rapid pace. In addition, Class members are being charged for oil consumption tests and other repairs on their Vehicles that would not be necessary but for the existence of the Oil Consumption Defect.