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GM Oil Consumption Class Action and Settlement Update

Jury awards $102.6 million for GM oil consumption defect

On October 3, 2022, a jury in the GM class action lawsuit found General Motors liable for breach of warranty and other consumer protection claims in selling certain GM trucks and SUVs with the excessive oil consumption defect.

The jury awarded $102.6 million to approximately 38,000 owners and lessees of GM trucks and SUVs sold by GM between 2011 and 2014 with the company’s Generation IV Vortec 5300 LC9 engine and who resided in California, North Carolina, and Idaho.

The jury found that GM violated the breach of implied warranty of merchantability to California plaintiffs, the breach of implied warranty of merchantability to North Carolina vehicle owners, and breached the provisions of the Idaho Consumer Protection Act.

It awarded each of the 38,000 class members $2,700, bringing the total damages to $102.6 million.

As notice did not go out to class members before the jury’s verdict, it is unclear how your rights may be affected by this jury verdict. However, consumers owning these GM vehicles should contact us for further information about their options.

A jury trial in the GM oil consumption class action case started on September 19, 2022, in San Francisco federal court before the Honorable Judge Edward M. Chen.

Consumers who purchased or leased certain 2010-2014 GM vehicles should pay close attention to their legal rights. The Court has certified a GM oil consumption lawsuit to proceed as a class action, and notice of that class action lawsuit may be sent out to you later this year after the conclusion of the jury trial.

The Complaint filed in the class action alleges that the Generation IV Vortec 5300 Engine consumes an abnormally and improperly high quantity of oil, far exceeding industry standards for reasonable oil consumption. This excessive oil consumption results in low oil levels, insufficient lubricity, and corresponding internal engine component damage (“Oil Consumption Defect”).

For a free lemon law consultation, please fill out the form below or call us at 1-855-678-6881.

The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on December 19, 2016 (Siqueiros v. General Motors LLC, 16-cv-07244-EMC).

GM vehicles with the alleged oil consumption defect

Specific new model year 2010-2014 GM vehicles fitted with GM’s defective LC9 Generation IV 5.3 Liter V8 Vortec 5300 engines with Active Fuel Management (the “Generation IV Vortec 5300 Engines”) manufactured on or after February 10, 2011, including:

  • 2010-14 Chevrolet Avalanche
  • 2010-14 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 2010-14 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2010-14 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2010-14 GMC Sierra
  • 2010-14 GMC Yukon
  • 2010-14 GMC Yukon XL

Current or former owners or lessees of Class Vehicles should be aware that the California lemon law and other state and federal laws may force GM to either “buy the vehicle back” or provide further significant compensation for those experiencing this defect.

gm 5.3 vortec engineUnder California’s lemon law, qualifying “lemons” must be bought back, and that can mean a large cash refund and payoff of your loan or lease. The refund could be as much as everything you paid for the vehicle and everything you owe: monthly payments, down payments, tax, finance charges, license, and registration. Depending on the circumstances, you could even qualify for 2x your money back.

What GM would have to buy it for has nothing to do with how much the vehicle is currently worth. The law has a formula that starts with getting all your money back and then taking certain deductions and exclusions away from your payment. Those refunds and exclusions are challenging to understand and can be fought against by knowledgeable consumer attorneys.

For free information on your legal right to seek compensation, fill out the form below or call us at 1-855-678-6881.

Watch the mail, watch your email, and contact a consumer lawyer for advice as to your options.

GM oil consumption class action lawsuit status

Car owners filed a class action lawsuit over the GM 5.3 Vortec engine oil consumption issue in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on December 19, 2016.

The case was proposed to be certified to proceed on behalf of several classes, generally defined as follows: “All 2010-2014 GM vehicles fitted with GM’s defective LC9 Generation IV 5.3 Liter V8 Vortec 5300 engines (the “Generation IV Vortec 5300 Engines”) manufactured on or after February 10, 2011.”

An Eighth Amended Complaint was filed on July 13, 2022.

In April 2020 and May 2021, the Court approved the case to proceed as a class action on behalf of all people in California, Idaho, North Carolina, and Texas who purchased or leased and still owns one of the above-listed vehicles.

In September 2021, the Court removed Texas owners from the class action lawsuit. Thus, the Court’s ruling certifying a class only applies to residents of California, Idaho, and North Carolina who purchased or leased one of the vehicles listed above and still own or lease that vehicle.

A jury trial over the alleged oil consumption defect started on September 19, 2022.

As the Court has certified the case to proceed as a class action, notice of the pendency of the action and a deadline to opt out of the action will be sent to you after the trial concludes. However, the parties have not agreed on a deadline for doing so.

For a free lemon law consultation, please fill out the form below or call us at 1-855-678-6881.

Your options as a GM 5.3 Vortec engine owner

In a class action lawsuit, if the class is certified by the Court, the lawyers who bring the class action represent you. You will receive notice that the case is certified by the Court to proceed as a class action and of your right to opt-out of the class by a specific deadline.

If plaintiffs prevail at trial, you will receive whatever relief the judge or jury awards. But if they lose, you may be unable to litigate claims over the issues raised in the case.

If the case settles and the Court preliminarily approves the settlement, you will receive a class notice describing your options. Those options will be: (a) do nothing, in which case you may get nothing but be bound by the settlement, (b) submit a claim form if requested and get whatever relief is made available, and the settlement also binds you, or (c) opt-out and pursue your claims, in which case you are not bound by the settlement but cannot participate in any of the relief that is being offered to class members.

For many people, a class action settlement may provide significant benefits and does not require much effort to participate. It also comes with no risk, as the claims have been resolved. But for others, particularly where they may have had significant damages, opting out and pursuing individual claims may provide them an opportunity to receive a better recovery in a shorter period, but with no guarantee that they will get anything in a settlement.

Regarding vehicles, what to do can be a complicated decision, as it can depend on many factors. These factors include:

  • low oil lights on dashboardHow old is your car?
  • Has the oil consumption defect occurred in your car?
  • Have you taken it in for repairs on more than one occasion?
  • Do you still own the car?
  • Is the vehicle still under warranty?
  • Where do you live?

Are you willing to consider getting a more significant recovery than what is offered in any class action settlement?

We are available to help you sort through these questions and make an informed decision. Fill out the following form, and we will contact you.

For a free lemon law consultation, please fill out the form below or call us at 1-855-678-6881.

GM oil consumption class-action FAQs

What is the class action lawsuit name and case number?

Siqueiros v. General Motors LLC, 16-cv-07244-EMC

When and where was the GM oil consumption class action filed?

The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on December 19, 2016.

What does the GM class action lawsuit allege about the oil consumption defect?

Plaintiffs allege that the Generation IV Vortec 5.3 engine consumes an abnormally and improperly high quantity of oil, far exceeding industry standards for reasonable oil consumption. This excessive oil consumption results in low oil levels, insufficient lubricity, and corresponding internal engine component damage.

Plaintiffs allege that GM knew of the Oil Consumption Defect and the resulting engine damage. Despite this knowledge, GM continued selling and leasing affected vehicles without disclosing the Oil Consumption Defect.

Instead, GM has allowed drivers of these vehicles to continue driving those vehicles, despite knowing that they are consuming oil at an abnormally high rate, and has continued allowing drivers to rely on the Oil Life Monitoring System, despite GM knowing that they were driving well past the point at which their vehicles have consumed the amount of oil necessary for proper engine lubrication and proper, safe operation.

The result is that these vehicles can suffer engine failure and engine damage, including spark plug fouling, ring wear, lifter collapse, bent pushrods, camshaft wear, valve wear, rod bearing wear, rod breakage, wrist pin wear, wrist pin breakage, crankshaft wear and main bearing wear or destruction and other forms of internal component wear/breakage due to unacceptable heat and friction levels resulting from oil breakdown.

What vehicles does the GM class action lawsuit cover?

2010-2014 GM vehicles fitted with GM’s defective LC9 Generation IV 5.3 Liter V8 Vortec 5300 engines with Active Fuel Management (the “Generation IV Vortec 5300 Engines”) manufactured on or after February 10, 2011, including the following vehicles:

  • Chevrolet Avalanche
  • Chevrolet Silverado
  • Chevrolet Suburban
  • Chevrolet Tahoe
  • GMC Sierra
  • GMC Yukon
  • GMC Yukon XL

How many GM vehicles are impacted by the oil consumption defect?

According to publicly available data, the total number of Class Vehicles sold is approximately 4.1 million.

What does the class action lawsuit claim cause the oil consumption defect?

Multiple factors contribute to the excessive oil consumption problem in Generation IV Vortec 5300 Engines. It is an inherent defect in each of the vehicles.

The primary nature and result of the oil consumption defect are that the piston rings that GM installed within the Generation IV Vortec 5300 Engines do not maintain sufficient tension to keep oil in the crankcase.

How does the GM oil consumption defect violate the vehicle warranty?

In its Limited Warranty, GM expressly warranted that it would repair or replace defects in material or workmanship free of charge if they became apparent during the warranty period. The Plaintiffs also allege GM’s Limited Warranty is a written warranty within the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 USC §2301(6).

The Plaintiffs allege GM breached its express warranty to repair defects in materials and workmanship within the affected vehicles as GM has not repaired and has been unable to repair the Oil Consumption defect. As a result of GM’s breach of its implied and express warranties, purchasers of these vehicles received goods with a substantially impaired value that GM has failed or refused to repair.

The Plaintiffs allege that because these vehicles suffer from the Oil Consumption defect, which causes excessive oil loss and leads to engine damage, GM also breached both its implied and express warranties. These vehicles did not comply with the implied warranty of merchantability because, at the time of sale, they were defective and not in merchantable condition, would not pass without objection in the trade, and were not fit for the ordinary purpose for which vehicles were used.

Have GM owners been offered anything to resolve this issue?

adding more oil to engineOver the years, GM has instructed its dealers to address the excessive oil loss problem in the vehicles by performing stop-gap fixes of the Generation IV Vortec 5300 Engines’ PCV and AFM systems. Additionally, GM instructed dealers to decarbonize combustion chambers and rings with chemical abrasives. Such fixes, however, failed to provide a complete and adequate remedy for the Oil Consumption Defect.

For free information on your legal right to seek compensation, fill out the form below or call us at 1-855-678-6881.

Plaintiffs also allege GM did not disclose the Oil Consumption Defect or any of its causes to consumers before purchasing or leasing their Class Vehicles.

What is the status of the GM oil consumption class action?

The Court issued orders certifying the case to proceed as a class action on April 23, 2020, November 6, 2020, and May 25, 2021, and clarified that Order on August 2, 2021.

On September 7, 2021, the Court declined to decertify all classes and the North Carolina sub-class but did decertify the Texas sub-class. Thus, this action has been certified to proceed for breach of the implied warranty for current owners or lessees of the vehicles listed above who reside in California (for new vehicles purchases or leases only), Idaho (for persons who purchased or leased those vehicles new or used from a GM authorized dealer for violation of the Idaho Consumer Protection Act), and North Carolina, who bought or leased those vehicles new or used (for breach of implied warranty of merchantability).

A class action jury trial began on September 19, 2022.

There is no deadline to send out class notices at this time.

Has the GM oil consumption class action been settled?

A mediation held in August 2019 was unsuccessful. A Status Conference was held on September 14, 2021, where the Court set the matter for a jury trial.

The Court suggested that the parties pursue settlement options at that time once the Court had ruled on certain motions and the parties had agreed to a mediator.

The parties participated in another status conference on December 9, 2021, to discuss pending motions, discovery, mediation, and the setting of pretrial dates and dates for mailing out class notices. There has been no public update on the status of settlement discussions.

Is there anything I need to do at this time?

The case has not been settled at this point, but it has been certified to proceed as a class action. Notice of the certified classes has not been mailed or approved for mailing yet. If you want to bring your own claim, you can do so now and opt out when you receive notice. Or the class will be defined as those people who have not filed lawsuits or settled their claims, and you will automatically opt out of the settlement.

As a settlement has not been reached nor class notice mailed out, there is nothing you need to do now. However, if you want to discuss your options with us, please call us at (855) OPT-OUT1 (855-678-6881).

What happens if I don’t opt out of the class action lawsuit?

It depends on how the settlement is structured, but generally, you will be bound by its terms if you do not opt-out of the settlement. You will automatically receive any benefits offered in the settlement or by submitting a claim form. However, you will not be able to bring any individual claim for damages caused by the defect in Generation IV Vortec 5300 engines, except possibly for personal injury claims.

Why should I opt out of any certified or settlement class?

For many people, a class action provides significant benefits without spending money or doing much other than completing a claim form. And because the matter is settled, as long as the Court approves the settlement, you will get the relief described in the class notice.

However, other people may decide that the relief offered as part of the class action settlement is inadequate, that they do not want to wait to get relief, or that they think they will get more if they do not participate in the class action settlement.

This depends on a variety of factors, such as: how old your car is, whether you can document the defect that occurred in your vehicle, whether you have taken it in for repairs on more than one occasion, do you still own the car, is it still under warranty and where do you live. Depending on the answers to those questions, while there is no guarantee that you will receive any recovery, if you opt-out, you may have the opportunity to receive significant relief, including a vehicle repurchase and penalties.

For a free lemon law consultation, please fill out the form below or call us at 1-855-678-6881.

Do all the Generation IV Vortec 5300 engines excessively burn oil?

The extent of the oil burning and other defects appears common to the engine.

Has there been a recall on the GM 5.3 Vortec engine for excessive oil consumption?

GM has not issued a recall on the oil consumption issue. GM previously issued several Technical Service Bulletins relating to the prior generation Vortec engine.

According to allegations in the class action lawsuits, starting with some 2014 model vehicles, GM began implementing a Generation V Vortec 5300 engine that was redesigned to fix the excessive oil consumption of the Generation IV engines but did not resolve this issue.

According to the class action lawsuits, GM has not offered relief to customers who own allegedly defective vehicles.

Are cars with the Generation IV Vortec 5300 engines unsafe?

Any car that can suffer engine failure and engine damage, including spark plug fouling, ring wear, lifter collapse, bent pushrods, camshaft wear, valve wear, rod bearing wear, rod breakage, wrist pin wear, wrist pin breakage, crankshaft wear, and main bearing wear or destruction and other forms of internal component wear/breakage due to unacceptable heat and friction levels resulting from oil breakdown, and that as a result can stall or has a significant chance of stalling, is unsafe.

What is the Song-Beverly Warranty Act?

The Song-Beverly Warranty Act, California Civil Code §1793.2(d)(1), is a California state law that requires manufacturers to repair defects after a reasonable number of repair attempts. What is “reasonable” is not part of hard and fast rules – safety defects should be fixed immediately, for example. The defects have to be important, and must “substantially impair the vehicle’s use, value, OR safety.” Civil Code §1793.22(e)(2). Under Civil Code §1793.2(d)(1), manufacturers must promptly offer repurchase or replacement of the Class Vehicle they cannot fix in a reasonable time frame. In addition, Civil Code §1794(c) and §1793.2(d) provide that customers are entitled to a civil penalty in an amount up to two times actual damages if manufacturers acted “willfully” (meaning knowingly, but not necessarily with wrongful or malicious intent) in ignoring or failing its obligation under Song-Beverly.

Finally, under Civil Code §1794(d), manufacturers must pay the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees and costs as part of the settlement, as the Song-Beverly Act is a pro-consumer fee-shifting statute.

May I have additional rights if I am an Armed Forces member?

Under Cal. Civil Code 1795.8, if a person is a member of the Armed Forces, the protections of the Song-Beverly Act may apply, even if you purchased your vehicle outside of California, so long as the manufacturer sells cars in California. The member of the Armed Forces would need to show they were stationed in or a resident of California at the time they purchased the vehicle or when they filed a claim against the manufacturer.

What compensation could I get if I brought an individual lemon law lawsuit?

Current or former owners should be aware that the California lemon law and other state and federal laws may force GM to either “buy the vehicle back” or provide further significant compensation. Under California’s lemon law, qualifying “lemons” must be bought back, and that can mean a large cash refund and payoff of your loan or lease. The refund could be as much as everything you paid for the vehicle and everything you owe: monthly payments, down payments, tax, finance charges, license, registration, etc. Depending on the circumstances, you could even qualify for 2x your money back.

What GM would have to buy it for has nothing to do with how much the vehicle is currently worth. The law has a formula that starts with getting all your money back and then taking certain deductions and exclusions away from your payment. Those refunds and exclusions are challenging to understand and can be fought against by knowledgeable consumer attorneys. Don’t settle for small dollar payments or more possible fixes without speaking to a qualified consumer attorney who has your individual best interest in mind. Watch the mail, watch your email, and contact a consumer lawyer for advice when and if the case settles.

Get a free lemon law consultation

There are a lot of factors to consider in deciding whether to opt out of a class action settlement and pursue individual claims. We are available to help you sort through these questions and make an informed decision as to your options.

Fill out the following form, and we will promptly contact you, or call us at 1-855-678-6881.

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