— A GM PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) lawsuit alleges Buick, Chevrolet and GMC vehicles suffer oil leaks from ruptured rear main seals.
According to the seven owners who filed the Ford class action lawsuit, a traditional PCV valve has been replaced with a small fixed orifice in the 2.4L engine, as seen in the photo to the right.
But that tiny hole allegedly gets clogged with sludge, water and ice in cold weather conditions.
The main symptom of a clogged PCV system is a blown rear main oil seal caused by pressure in the engine. A GM vehicle with a ruptured rear main seal will allegedly suffer a sudden oil loss and loss of power.
The GM class action also alleges a blown rear main seal can cause permanent damage to the engine which requires replacement of the engine.
The GM PCV lawsuit includes consumers who were purchasers or lessees of these vehicles from April 1, 2016, to the present:
- 2010-2016 Buick Lacrosse (including Hybrid, eAssist)
- 2011-2017 Buick Regal
- 2012-2017 Buick Verano
- 2010-2015 Chevrolet Captiva
- 2010-2017 Chevrolet Equinox
- 2013-2014 Chevrolet Malibu (including ECO, eAssist, Hybrid)
- 2010-2017 GMC Terrain
All the General Motors vehicles are equipped with 2.4L engines equipped with PCV systems used to regulate the amount of air and gas pumped through the engines.
In February 2019, GM issued Diagnostic Tip bulletin 19-NA-021 to dealerships and titled, "Diagnostic Tip for Oil Leak from Rear of Engine After Extended Driving in Cold Temperatures Below 0 Degrees."
"Some customers may comment that an engine oil leak appeared as they were driving the vehicle in extremely cold ambient temperatures (Generally 0°F / -17°C or colder). Some customers may also comment that they heard a single 'pop' noise right before the oil leak started." — Diagnostic Tip 19-NA-021
GM also warned technicians they may find an oil leak coming from the rear main oil seal of the engine.
The bulletin doesn't apply to rear main oil seal leaks found in warmer climates.
If the problem occurs in cold weather, GM technicians should:
"Clean any ice/sludge/water/carbon out of the PCV pipes/hoses, the PCV nipple on the cam cover, the PCV orifice between the #2 and #3 intake runners (use a 1/16 inch drill bit), PCV orifice in the head...and the throttle body. Also inspect the related PCV hoses/connections for potential damage and replace if necessary."
Technicians should also drain the engine oil for at least 15 minutes to remove all oil and condensation from the crankcase and repair any oil leaks caused by the frozen PCV system.
According to the GM class action, the automaker hasn't recalled the vehicles to repair the alleged PCV problems, and GM hasn't extended the warranty beyond the standard 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. The plaintiffs assert a GM technician will use a drill bit to clean out the sludge and other debris.
General Motors also allegedly continues to conceal the PCV problems from consumers and has done so since 1985.
The plaintiffs named in the GM PCV lawsuit are:
- Melissa Kiriacopoulos / Massachusetts / 2016 GMC Terrain
- Craig Johnson / Minnesota / 2015 Chevrolet Equinox
- Beverly Trevethan / Michigan / 2017 Chevrolet Equinox
- Sarah Burns / New York / 2017 Chevrolet Equinox
- Geralyn Darr / Wisconsin / 2017 Chevrolet Equinox
- Steve Fiene / Wisconsin / 2016 GMC Terrain
- Thomas Graham / Minnesota / 2013 GMC Terrain
The class action lawsuit argues all affected customers are entitled to "recovery of the purchase price of their vehicles, compensation for overpayment and diminution in value of their vehicles, out-of-pocket and incidental expenses, disgorgement of GM’s unjustly derived profits, and an injunction compelling GM to replace or recall and fix the Class Vehicles."
The GM PCV lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan: Kiriacopoulos, et al., v. General Motors LLC.
The plaintiffs are represented by the Miller Law Firm, P.C., and Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP.