General Motors’ legal woes have come to encompass yet another crop of the Detroit automaker’s most popular vehicles. With the ink just about dry on a sizeable settlement finalized last month, a new proposed class action lawsuit alleges the Generation IV 5.3 Liter V8 Vortec 5300 engine found in certain 2010-2014 vehicle models is “engineered to fail.” The suit claims that a number of interconnected flaws cause the engine to consume an “abnormally and improperly” large amount of oil that far exceeds industry standards.
The plaintiff behind the 66-page complaint out of the Northern District of Ohio alleges General Motors has for some time possessed knowledge of the “well-established” oil consumption issue yet failed to provide any remedy for drivers.
Which GM cars are named in the lawsuit?
The following Chevrolet and GMC models are identified in the lawsuit as equipped with Generation IV Vortec 5300 engines and hampered by an alleged oil consumption defect:
(Note: The vehicles list above were produced after GM emerged from bankruptcy in July 2010.)
Engine troubles plague “New GM,” lawsuit claims
After “Old GM” filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2009, the “New GM” emerged with fresh Chevrolet and GMC vehicles equipped with an engine styled as the Generation IV Vortec 5300 for the 2010-2013 models. The complaint explains that while GM’s Vortec 5300 engines initially hit the market with some fanfare stemming from their resemblance to those found in the 1960s-era Corvette Stingray muscle car, the emergence of serious and potentially disastrous flaws with the engine dampened any leftover anticipation felt by consumers.
Unfortunately for drivers, the engines came stricken with, among other flaws, defective piston rings that were unable to maintain enough tension to ensure oil stayed within the crankcase, the lawsuit says. The problems this can cause, the suit elaborates, include:
“Active fuel management,” PCV system also contribute to problem, suit says
The case further alleges that the automaker’s active fuel management (AFM) system actually makes the oil consumption problem worse and contributes to the vehicles’ engine damage. The system, which is responsible for “[deactivating] four of the eight engine cylinders for fuel-saving purposes in low-load operating conditions,” contains an oil pressure relief valve that sprays oil directly into the piston skirts “in quantities that the rings cannot control.” The piston rings, the case continues, then allow excessive quantities of oil into the combustion chambers where it is burned, and ultimately leads to loss of oil. But this is not the only problem caused by the excessive oil spray, the lawsuit explains:
In addition, the excessive oil spray collects on the piston ring surfaces forming carbon buildup. Carbon buildup on the piston rings interferes with the rings’ seating in their grooves, and thus interferes with the rings’ ability to seal out oil. Once the rings lose proper groove seating, they become misaligned with the cylinder bores. Immediate and aggressive ring deterioration occurs as the fragile rings scrape against the harder steel cylinder bores at unintended angles.”
Further still, the complaint adds that the defendant’s Generation IV Vortec 5300 engines are beleaguered by a “flawed” positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) system that vacuums oil from a vehicle’s valvetrain into its intake system. The oil ingested by the PCV system is ultimately burned in the engine’s combustion chambers, contributing even further to an already excessive oil consumption problem, the case says.
Additionally troubling for consumers is General Motors’ oil life monitoring system, which—you may have guessed the plaintiff alleges—fails to do what its name implies.
Do we even need an engine at this point?
Despite its name, GM’s oil life monitoring system does not monitor engine oil levels, according to the lawsuit. Rather, the system monitors engine conditions, such as revolutions and temperature, in order to quantify a vehicle’s expected deterioration in oil quality, the suit states. This information is then used to recommend to a driver when it’s time for an oil change.
While GM’s oil life monitoring system keeps an eye on engine conditions, one aspect it does not take into account is a vehicle’s actual oil levels, the lawsuit says. This apparent blind spot, the plaintiff claims, results in drivers often traveling “thousands of miles” with inadequate engine lubrication and wearing out and damaging internal components – a particularly troublesome issue given that the vehicles are already prone to excessive oil loss.
A little more warning next time, please.
The suit explains that the oil pressure gauge and oil canister image on each vehicle’s dashboard are supposed to illuminate upon detecting low oil levels; however, they do not provide any indication as to when oil pressure falls low enough to cause internal engine damage, according to the suit. Overall, the oil pressure indicators inside of the cabin do not provide an owner or lessee with any indication that their engine is in danger due to unsafe oil levels. As the complaint tells it, the oil canister symbol in the vehicles does not light up “until well past the time when the Class Vehicles are critically oil starved.”
The oil consumption defect can ultimately degrade spark plugs “no matter how often drivers top off their oil levels,” the suit goes on, indicating that the problem is simply too compounded to be staved off by an elevated attentiveness to maintenance. Fouled spark plugs, the suit says, can cause a weak or intermittent spark within an engine—if they produce a spark at all—that can lead to misfires and abrupt shutdowns, and present a significant safety risk.
“Engine misfires and shutdown events put occupants at risk,” the complaint reads, “as the Class Vehicles become stranded in hazardous traffic conditions, dangerous weather conditions and/or remote locations.”
2014’s Vortec 5300 engine redesign
While GM has over the years offered dealers assorted instructions on how to address excessive oil loss, the automaker’s remedies have served as nothing more than “stop-gap” fixes that have failed to completely and adequately fix drivers’ engines, the lawsuit alleges. Nevertheless, GM, without a true fix on hand and without disclosing the oil consumption defect to drivers, implemented a redesigned Generation V version to replace the Generation IV Vortec 5300 engine and supposedly remedy the defect alleged in the lawsuit.
The overhauled 2014 Vortec engine came equipped with an “improved sealing ring package,” the suit explains, an AFM shield that directed oil spray away from piston skirts, and a new valve cover with an updated PCV orifice. The case adds the 2014 Generation V Vortec also reintroduced an oil level sensor.
The lawsuit asserts that while GM’s redesign of the Vortec 5300 engine effectively confirms every apparent defect described above, owners and lessees of vehicles with Generation IV engines were left entirely out in the cold.
“Those people remain saddled with their defective Generation IV Vortec 5300 Engines with no relief from GM,” the suit relays.
Moreover, despite knowing of the Chevy and GMC oil consumption defect, GM continued to sell and lease vehicles to consumers without disclosing the potentially catastrophic problem, the suit says. In fact, to this day, GM has not warned or otherwise informed drivers that their vehicles may be consuming oil at an unreasonable—and unsafe—rate, the lawsuit alleges.
From the suit:
Rather, GM has allowed drivers of the Class Vehicles to continue driving those vehicles, despite knowing that they are consuming oil at an abnormally high rate, and has continued allowing drivers of the Class Vehicles to rely on the Oil Life Monitoring System, despite 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 Class Vehicles that 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, wristpin wear, wristpin breakage, crankshaft wear and main bearing wear or destruction and other forms of internal component wear/breakage due to unacceptable heat and friction levels and oil breakdown.”
Consumers would never have bought or leased affected 2010-2014 Chevrolet and GMC vehicles, or would have paid less for the cars, had they known they were buying into an engine rife with flaws, according to the lawsuit.
Am I covered by this lawsuit?
The case looks for the court to certify nationwide and Ohio-only classes of all current and former owners or lessees of any of the vehicle models listed at the top of this post.
The complaint can be read below.
Owners of these vehicles in California, North Carolina, and Idaho may receive a payout of $2700 per person, though GM plans to appeal the verdict.How much is the GMC oil consumption lawsuit payout? ›
$102.6 million awarded for GM oil consumption defect.What is the lawsuit on the 5.3 engine? ›
The lawsuit alleges that affected engines can overheat and fail, and that GM knew about this condition since 2008. A district court judge dismissed all claims against GM in this lawsuit in 2021.What is the lawsuit for 2.4-liter oil consumption? ›
The lawsuit alleges that the engine introduces an excessive amount of oil into the combustion champers, leading to low oil levels, low oil pressure, engine knock, and fouled spark plugs, among other issues.Can you get a lot of money from a class action lawsuit? ›
What you can win in a class action lawsuit depends on a number of factors. This includes the severity of your injuries, the number of people in the class, and the judge's decision based on the facts of the class representative case. In some cases, plaintiffs in a class action case may receive thousands of dollars each.Is it wise to join a class action lawsuit? ›
In most cases, there's little downside to joining these lawsuits, which combine many legal claims — often thousands — into one claim against a single defendant, reducing fees for each claimant and potentially earning a much larger payout. And there have been many opportunities to do so.What year did GM fix 5.3 oil consumption? ›
When that didn't stop reports of excessive oil consumption, GM engineers suggested redesigning the piston rings. Instead, GM went through a series of ineffective design changes it thought might stop the leaking rings. Finally, it stopped manufacturing the 5.3-liter V8 after 2014.What does GM consider normal oil consumption? ›
The service bulletin says: “The accepted rate of oil consumption for engines used in the vehicles referenced is 0.946 liter (1 quart) in 3,200 KM (2,000 miles).”What is the current GM lawsuit? ›
The suit was originally filed over a year ago in January 2022 on behalf of 39 plaintiffs in 26 U.S. states. The class action lawsuit claims the its 8L45E and 8L90 eight-speed automatic transmissions in thirteen different GM vehicle models produced between 2015 and March 1st, 2019 are defective.What years of 5.3 are bad? ›
Major oil consumption is one issue facing many Chevies made between 2010 and 2014. The issue is bad enough and widespread enough that it actually led to a class-action lawsuit. These engines consume so much oil in part because of faulty valves and in part due to the Active Fuel Management system in the car.
Overall, the Chevy 5.3 liter engine is a reliable engine that can last for many years if it is properly maintained. Drivers who take good care of their engines can expect to get 200,000 miles or more out of them.What is GM replacing the 5.3 with? ›
And yet, here we are. GM announced they will be dropping the 4.3-liter V-6 and the 5.3-liter V-8. The new standard? A 2.7-liter turbo and an 8-speed transmission.Will half a quart too much oil hurt my engine? ›
An extra half a quart of oil in your crankcase is not going to do any harm to the engine. If the crankcase were seriously overfilled — say, more than a quart — then the spinning crankshaft could come into contact with the liquid oil, and churn it up. Then you'd get oil foam.What is acceptable oil loss? ›
Oil consumption in modern passenger car engines is usually less than 0.05 %; the maximum permissible oil consumption stands at 0.5 % (all percentage values relate to actual fuel consumption).Which case has high oil consumption? ›
Under normal operating conditions, excess oil consumption is generally a mechanical problem. In the majority of cases where oil consumption problems have been investigated, it usually turns out to be a leak issue – either the valve cover gasket is leaking, crankshaft seals leaking, or one of the main seals is leaking.Who gets the most in a class action lawsuit? ›
Contrary to popular belief, class action settlements are not divided among class members evenly. Lead plaintiffs receive the most money in class action lawsuits. They typically have the worst injuries and the highest damages.What is the most money awarded in a lawsuit? ›
1998 – The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement - $206 Billion. The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement was entered in November 1998 and is still the largest lawsuit settlement in history.What is the biggest disadvantage of a class action lawsuit? ›
- Limited Compensation. In a typical class action lawsuit, the members of the class share the settlement or award equally. ...
- Limited Involvement. ...
- Slow Progress. ...
- No Individual Claim. ...
- Lack Of Non-Monetary Compensation.
Across all major types of class actions, court-issued rulings on 360 motions to grant or to deny class certification in 2022. Of these, plaintiffs succeed in obtaining or maintaining certification in 268 rulings, an overall success rate of nearly 75%.”What happens to money in a class action lawsuit? ›
After a Class Action Lawsuit Settles
Lawyers usually receive a portion of fees/costs for working on contingency. Courts limit payment to a fair amount. Remaining settlement money is then divided among members of the class.
People have mixed feelings about class-action suits, and whether you cash class-action refund checks is up to you. Generally, if you get one, you probably paid a lot more in wrongful fees than you're getting back in the settlement. If you don't cash the check, the money may go back to the company.What year of GM 5.3 is best? ›
Chevrolet 5.3 Engine Issues and Recommendations
Given that the major issues with oil consumption started in 2007, a 2006 or older model is a safe bet. If you are searching for something newer with a 5.3, then it is best to look to models from 2014 or newer that are equipped with the Ecotec3 5.3.
Chevy's 5.3-liter V8 was dropped in 2022 from the Silverado engine lineup. It has direct ties to its infamous small block engine that first appeared in 1955. Over the years it has seen continual improves and refreshes until it is unrecognizable from that long-ago time.What is the GM lawsuit on engines? ›
Per a report from Car Complaints, the class action lawsuit identifies a broad variety of GM vehicles produced between the 2014 and 2021 model years that may exhibit malfunctioning V8 engine valve lifters. These vehicles include: 2014 – 2021 Cadillac Escalade.How do I stop my 5.3 from burning oil? ›
One common problem seen in the 5.3-liter engine is a failure of the valve cover to seal, which can cause heavy oil burn. Depending on the wear-and-tear on your vehicles, you may be able to get away with having the rings cleaned and getting a replacement valve cover that will seal again.What does GM use for oil? ›
dexos®1 Gen 2 licensed motor oils are recommended for use in gasoline-fueled GM vehicles. Licensed products are easy to identify.At what percent does Chevy change oil? ›
Your oil life reading is a great indicator of when you should get your car's oil changed. Reading between 15% and 40% absolutely warrants an oil change.What is the major GM recall? ›
DETROIT — General Motors is recalling more than 400,000 pickup trucks in the U.S. because the side air bags can explode without warning and spew parts into the cabin. The recall covers certain 2015 and 2016 Chevrolet and GMC Sierra 1500, 2500, and 3500 trucks.What did GM go to jail for? ›
GM's general counsel, Craig Glidden, represented the company at the 20-minute hearing in which GM was formally arraigned on two felony charges — for wire fraud and misleading regulators. He waived the company's right to demand an indictment.What is the current GM recall? ›
GM Recalls 2021-22 Chevrolet Equinox and 2022 GMC Terrain over Fuel Pump. General Motors, LLC (GM) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Chevrolet Equinox and 2022 GMC Terrain vehicles. The fuel pump module may not consistently provide sufficient fuel to the engine, resulting in an engine stall.
The 5.3L V8 Vortec 5300 is considered an engine that is extremely reliable. In fact, many vehicle owners with the engine report having the engine run with minimal issues up to 220k miles. Additionally, the engine blocks are very durable also.What problems can a GMC 5.3 engine have? ›
According to GM Authority, the excessive oil intake and use can lead to “spark plug fouling, ring wear, lifted collapse, bent pushrods, camshaft wear, valve wear, rod bearing wear, rod breakage and other major failures in the engine”.What year 5.3 has lifter problems? ›
The GM engines, L84 5.3 V-8 and the L87 6.2 liter EcoTec3 V-8, with build dates between September 2020 and March 2021 seem to have the most problems with defective lifters. These engines use the active fuel management (AFM) and dynamic fuel management (DFM), and at times the lifter will get stuck or lock into place.What is the difference between 5.3 Vortec and 5.3 LS? ›
Engines with the LS designation were typically set up for passenger car duty while the Vortec line was for GM's SUV and truck lines. In other words, the difference is in the marketing and where the various engines were going to be used across the GM brands.How long do Vortec engines last? ›
These engines frequently last beyond 300,000 miles with minimal issues beyond regular maintenance. However, making it to 300,000 miles will likely require some non-engine repairs and maintenance, such as suspension components. The vortec 6.0L engines are known to outlast the rest of the truck by miles.What is the Vortec 5.3 called? ›
The LM7 is a 5.3L, Gen. 3 small block engine used in GM trucks between 1999 and 2007. For marketing purposes, it was also known as the Vortec 5300.What engine is Chevy discontinuing? ›
The legendary crate engine and its replacement, the more powerful LS427/570, are officially out at Chevy.What is the Chevy 5.3 called? ›
The 5.3L LS, or Vortec 5300, is primarily a truck/SUV engine that spanned both the Gen. III and Gen. IV versions of the GM LS lifespan. It's essentially a longer-stroke version of the 4.8L LS and powered vehicles such as the Silverado, Sierra, Yukon, and Escalade.Should you fill oil to max? ›
Topping up your oil is typically not recommended unless the level is below the minimum mark. If you're running low on oil, however, topping off may help you get to your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for an oil change service.Will over full oil hurt my engine? ›
“Too much oil can damage your engine. If you notice an overfill of oil, the excess should be drained out of the engine. Therefore, we recommend checking your dipstick regularly.”
The majority of manufacturers consider one quart of oil in the range of 1,500 miles to be acceptable. It should also be pointed out there are some performance vehicles that will consume a quart of oil in less than 1,000 miles and is also considered acceptable.Is it true that antifreeze should not be mixed with oil? ›
One of the problems you want to avoid when it comes to your car is having your engine coolant mixing with your oil. This can cause serious damage to your car, and if you discover it happening, you need to address it immediately.Should antifreeze be mixed with oil? ›
Coolant and oil mixing is a bad sign. This is because it usually points towards the failure of an important part in your engine/cooling system. An oil/coolant mixture will quickly travel around your engine, resulting in overheating and increased engine wear over time.What should car oil level be minimum? ›
The lower line represents the minimum mark and usually indicates the engine oil is approximately one-quart low. The engine oil level should be in the cross hatch section and at or slightly below the full mark when the engine is cool.Why is my car losing oil but no leak or smoke? ›
If your engine is low on oil but there isn't a leak, that means it's probably being burned inside the engine. A bad PCV valve is a frequent culprit in the case of burning oil--but what is it, exactly? A PCV valve is designed to let air escape when the pressure in the crankcase is too high.Is there an additive to stop oil burning? ›
Lucas High Mileage Oil Stabilizer helps to control blow-by, dry starts and oil burning - maximizing efficiency, reducing harmful emissions and extending oil life. Lucas High Mileage Oil Stabilizer can also be used as an IDEAL ASSEMBLY LUBE.Can a bad PCV valve cause excessive oil consumption? ›
However, a bad PCV valve is a tiny, inexpensive part that can cause an engine to burn oil if it goes bad. Replacing it is fast and easy! If your engine is burning oil, hope that it's due to a bad PCV valve.What is the highest payout of a class action lawsuit? ›
1998 – The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement - $206 Billion. The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement was entered in November 1998 and is still the largest lawsuit settlement in history.How long does it take to pay out class action lawsuit? ›
Some class action lawsuits can take as little as a few months and as long as several years. These kinds of cases can typically take around two or three years to be resolved, while others can take even longer. When court rulings are appealed, the process gets further prolonged.What to expect from a class action lawsuit? ›
In a class-action lawsuit, a group of people suffering similar injuries (either physical or financial) join together to file a claim against a common defendant. If they succeed in their class-action lawsuit or if a settlement is reached before going to court, any awards are divided among members of the group.
Risks: If the case is unsuccessful, you will not receive any compensation, and you may have to pay legal fees or costs. You may have limited control over the litigation process, as the lead plaintiff and attorneys are typically responsible for making decisions about the case.Why are class action lawsuit payouts so small? ›
If a large number of claims are filed, the amount each claimant receives will be reduced proportionally. When asking a judge to approve a class action settlement, Class Counsel often calculates an estimated range of payments that Class Members can expect to receive.What is the longest running class action lawsuit? ›
Lasting for more than fifty years, the Myra Clark Gaines litigation is known as the longest case in US history, beginning around 1834 and culminating in a ruling in her favor and against the City of New Orleans in 1889.What happens to uncollected money in a class action lawsuit? ›
In some settlements, unclaimed funds will be distributed evenly to those Class Members who filed claims. These payments often appear as a second check in the mail, and come as a happy surprise to Class Members who had previously received payment from the class action settlement.How long does it take to get a Roundup settlement check? ›
After all the paperwork has been signed, some plaintiffs will receive a check within a few months while others may wait more than a year. Bayer has offered a settlement amount, but because there are more than 100,000 Roundup lawsuits it may take years to settle all the claims.Where can I cash a $20000 check without a bank account? ›
Cash it at the issuing bank (this is the bank name that is pre-printed on the check) Cash a check at a retailer that cashes checks (discount department store, grocery stores, etc.) Cash the check at a check-cashing store. Deposit at an ATM onto a pre-paid card account or checkless debit card account.Do filing class action settlements have a downside? ›
In most cases, there's little downside to joining these lawsuits, which combine many legal claims — often thousands — into one claim against a single defendant, reducing fees for each claimant and potentially earning a much larger payout.How do I avoid taxes on my settlement money? ›
The first step in avoiding taxes on settlement money is to determine the type of settlement. If the settlement is for physical injury or sickness, it is generally tax-free. If the settlement is for emotional distress, it may be taxable unless it is related to physical injury or sickness.Who usually wins in a class action lawsuit? ›
Contrary to popular belief, class action settlements are not divided among class members evenly. Lead plaintiffs receive the most money in class action lawsuits.What is the difference between lawsuit and class action? ›
In a typical class action, a plaintiff sues a defendant or a number of defendants on behalf of a group, or class, of absent parties. This differs from a traditional lawsuit, where one party sues another party, and all of the parties are present in court.
And regardless of the amount, legal fees in a class action lawsuit are subject to the approval of the court. Plaintiffs' counsel generally receives 25 to 33 percent of the amount of damages as their attorney fees.