General Motors Oil Consumption Lawsuit Dismissed

GM class action lawsuit alleges the piston rings have inadequate coating that cause oil consumption.

General Motors Oil Consumption Lawsuit Dismissed

Posted in News

— A General Motors oil consumption lawsuit has been dismissed after the owner of a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado claimed the 5.3-liter V8 Vortec 5300 LC9 engines are defective in these 2011-2014 GM models manufactured on or after February 10, 2011.

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

Virginia truck owner Christopher Sproles filed the oil consumption lawsuit and says he noticed that his 2013 Silverado "consumes an excessive amount of oil and that it has done so since at least as early as November 2016."

The GM lawsuit alleges the piston rings fail to keep oil in the crankcase because the piston rings have an "inadequate coating."

The Generation IV Vortec 5300 engines allegedly suffer not only from excessive oil consumption, but also engine damage and finally complete engine failures.

General Motors allegedly knew about the oil consumption from studies, customer complaints and other sources, but the automaker allegedly took steps to conceal the defects from the public. The plaintiff also alleges GM made misleading and false statements about the reliability of the Vortec engines.

The GM class action lawsuit further alleges oil consumption occurs due to several features found in the vehicles.

The active fuel management system contains an oil pressure relief valve that sprays oil at the piston rings, but since the piston rings are allegedly inadequately sealed, the system causes more oil to escape.

Then the positive crankcase ventilation system allegedly vacuums oil from the valvetrain into the intake system where it is burned in the combustion chamber.

And finally, the oil life monitoring system, oil pressure gauge and oil canister symbol on the dashboard allegedly fail to alert drivers of low oil levels.

Motion to Dismiss the GM Oil Consumption Lawsuit

Judge James P. Jones dismissed the GM oil consumption class action lawsuit for a lack of standing, but the plaintiff was granted leave to amend the lawsuit.

The judge says to establish standing, a plaintiff must have “(1) suffered an injury in fact, (2) that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct of the defendant, and (3) that is likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision.”

Additionally, to establish an injury in fact “a plaintiff must show that he or she suffered an invasion of a legally protected interest that is concrete and particularized and actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical.”

According to the judge, Sproles failed to establish an injury in fact because he has not plausibly alleged his Silverado has improperly sealed piston rings. The judge found the lone allegation to suggest the Silverado contains this defect is he has noticed his truck consumes an excessive amount of oil.

"But the physical manifestations of the asserted defect are reportedly legion. According to the Class Action Complaint, vehicles with improperly sealed piston rings require a quart of oil or more per week, suffer from burnt or fouled spark plugs, emanate blue or black smoke from the exhaust, do not start, run roughly, stall, or fail. This invites the court to infer that because Sproles’ vehicle shares a single common effect with other vehicles, then they must also share a common cause (defective piston rings)." — Judge Jones

The judge ruled the plaintiff does not claim to have done an “oil consumption test[ ] thru [his] local dealer” to “confirm the rings are leaking allowing oil to be burned.”

The class action lawsuit also doesn't allege oil and carbon buildup contaminated the spark plugs and combustion chamber, something caused by piston rings not properly sealed.

Therefore, just because the plaintiff says his truck uses too much oil, it doesn't mean defective piston rings are the cause.

"Since Sproles has failed to allege a defect in his vehicle, he has no injury in fact to support any of his claims. But Sproles has simply alleged that his vehicle may contain a defect. This speculative or hypothetical injury cannot support any of his claims." — Judge Jones

The General Motors oil consumption lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia: Sproles, v. General Motors LLC.

The plaintiff is represented by MichieHamlett, DiCello Levitt Gutzler LLC, and Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C.