GM 5.3L Oil Consumption Lawsuit Filed in Minnesota

Oil allegedly enters the combustion chambers of 5.3-Liter V8 Vortec 5300 engines.

Posted in News

— A GM 5.3L engine oil consumption lawsuit alleges numerous 2010-2013 General Motors trucks and SUVs suffer from defects that allow oil to enter the combustion chambers of the 5.3-Liter V8 Vortec 5300 engines.

The lawsuit says GM 5.3L oil consumption problems are caused by defective piston rings, PVC systems and "active fuel management" (AFM) systems that cause the spark plugs to wear out prematurely and the engines to experience all kinds of malfunctions.

According to the proposed class-action lawsuit, the following vehicles are affected by the oil consumption problems:

  • 2010-2013 Chevrolet Avalanche
  • 2010-2013 Chevrolet Express 1500
  • 2010-2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • 2010-2013 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2010-2013 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2010-2013 Chevrolet Colorado
  • 2010-2013 GMC Yukon
  • 2010-2013 GMC Yukon XL
  • 2010-2013 GMC Sierra 1500
  • 2010-2013 GMC Savana 1500
  • 2010-2013 GMC Canyon

The plaintiff says all the defects were present when the trucks and SUVs were manufactured and can start causing owners problems without warning.

According to the lawsuit, it's so important to keep oil out of the combustion cylinders that manufacturers use valve guide seals and piston rings to keep the oil out. But if those seals fail, the loss of lubrication can destroy the 5.3L engine.

Drivers may experience a loss of power during acceleration, smoke from the exhaust and the vehicle may enter "safe mode." In that mode an engine may suddenly shut off or run badly until the problems can be fixed.

General Motors made changes in 2007 to its 5300 engines to improve performance, creating the Generation IV Vortec 5300 engines from 2007 through 2009.

The 2007 changes continued through at least 2013 with the introduction of new piston rings meant to increase horsepower. But the plaintiff says the changes result in oil being allowed to migrate into the combustion process where it is burned. A new PCV system also allegedly allows oil to be sucked through the intake and into the combustion chamber instead of acting to capture excess gas.

The plaintiffs claim whatever advantages the engines provide are outweighed by the vehicles using too much oil, something the automaker should have told consumers.

According to the complaint, GM must have known about oil consumption problems in the 5.3L engines because on September 28, 2010, the automaker issued technical service bulletin (TSB) 10-06-01-008A addressing engine oil consumption in its 2007-2008 models. Then on January 3, 2013, GM issued another bulletin (10-06-01-008G) concerning oil consumption problems in 2007-2011 models.

The plaintiff claims GM issued at least seven service bulletins from 2010-2013, all because of excessive oil consumption. However, without an official recall, GM wasn't required to contact owners and let them know about the service bulletins.

Based on what the plaintiff claims, the use of an "oil life monitoring system" lulls drivers into driving thousands of miles without knowing how low the engine oil levels really are. The system is used solely as a warning to let drivers know when to change the oil but allegedly does nothing to accurately let drivers know their engines are being ruined.

General Motors finally took action to fix oil consumption problems starting with 2014 models, but it was allegedly too late for all the consumers already affected by the problem.

The lawsuit alleges the automaker violated the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and the Minnesota Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, committed fraud by concealment, negligence and breached express warranties.

The GM 5.3L oil consumption lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota - Bradley K. Zierke, et al, vs. General Motors LLC, General Motors Company, General Motors Holdings LLC and GM LLC.

The plaintiff is represented by Johnson//Becker.