Judge says Chevrolet and GMC oil consumption lawsuit is tossed out, handing GM the victory.

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Judge says Chevrolet and GMC oil consumption lawsuit is tossed out, handing GM the victory.

— A GM oil consumption lawsuit has been dismissed after a federal judge ruled there wasn't enough evidence of oil ring defects in 5.3-liter V8 Vortec 5300 engines.

The original class-action lawsuit alleges the following vehicles are equipped with 5.3-liter engines that burn oil at excessive rates and cause safety hazards on the roads.

  • 2010-2013 Chevrolet Avalanche
  • 2010-2012 Chevrolet Colorado
  • 2010-2013 Chevrolet Express 1500
  • 2010-2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • 2010-2013 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2010-2013 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2010-2013 GMC Canyon
  • 2010-2013 GMC Savana 1500
  • 2010-2013 GMC Sierra 1500
  • 2010-2013 GMC Yukon
  • 2010-2013 GMC Yukon XL

The plaintiffs claim the Generation IV Vortec 5300 engines consume extreme amounts of oil that results in low oil levels, not enough lubrication of the engine components and finally damage to those components.

The Chevy and GMC vehicles allegedly experience excessive oil consumption because of defective low-tension oil control rings used to reduce tension between the oil rings and the cylinder walls. GM apparently installed the oil rings to improve fuel economy, horsepower and torque by reducing friction between the oil rings and the cylinder walls.

However, the plaintiffs claim the rings actually allow oil to travel past the pistons and enter the engine’s combustion chambers where it is either consumed in the combustion process, or it hardens and accumulates.

The lawsuit also alleges the system used to monitor oil-related issues is defective and fails to warn drivers of low oil levels until those levels are much too low. Instead of monitoring the oil levels, the system allegedly monitors engine conditions to calculate "expected deterioration in oil quality" and then recommends when the oil should be changed.

Since the oil levels are allegedly not monitored correctly, drivers can travel thousands of miles without oil to properly lubricate the engines, causing the components to wear out early.

According to the oil consumption lawsuit, GM has attempted to fix the excessive oil loss problem by making repairs to the crankcase ventilation system and active fuel management system, but the plaintiffs claim the repairs didn't help with oil consumption.

GM ended up changing the Generation IV Vortec 5300 engine and replaced it with a redesigned Generation V Vortec 5300 engine designed and intended to remedy the excessive oil consumption problem.

The automaker also allegedly stopped using the low-tension oil rings and returned to using standard tension oil rings while at the same time reintroducing an oil level sensor, something the plaintiffs claim clearly shows the affected engines are defective.

While the arguments sounded good to Chevy and GMC owners, the federal judge hearing the case had multiple issues with the claims of the lawsuit, including about owners who claimed they didn't receive warnings about low oil levels. The judge ruled owners have no right to complain about possible engine damage because drivers will receive warnings about low oil pressure if the oil levels get too low.

Another argument set forth by the plaintiffs concerned consumer complaints about alleged oil consumption problems in the Generation IV Vortec 5300 engines. The plaintiffs argued customers had filed more than 80 complaints about oil consumption in the affected GM vehicles, so  the automaker must have known about any alleged problems.

In addition, the lawsuit mentions how GM sent its dealers a technical service bulletin about what to do if a customer complained about losing too much oil. According to the plaintiffs, the bulletin proves the automaker knew the vehicles were using excessive amounts of oil.

The judge ruled the plaintiff's arguments didn't hold water. Concerning owner-reported complaints, the judge found those owners talk about excessive oil consumption but they don't specifically say what is causing the oil consumption. As for the bulletin sent to dealerships, it doesn't say anything about the oil rings and sending the bulletin doesn't mean GM believed the Vortec engines were defective.

On top of that, the judge pointed out that when GM redesigned the Generation IV Vortec 5300 engine, the purpose was to redesign the whole engine, not just the low-tension oil control rings.

The judge also took a look at the claims of the plaintiffs and didn't notice where those owners claimed their engines were damaged by high levels of oil consumption.

The judge also ruled nothing in the lawsuit proves that General Motors knew about the alleged oil consumption defects, so the automaker didn't have a legal responsibility to warn consumers about the alleged defects.

Although the judge dismissed the Chevy and GMC oil consumption lawsuit, the plaintiffs can amend and re-file the complaint within 30 days, if they choose.

The GM oil consumption class-action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, San Francisco - Monteville Sloan Jr., Raul Siqueiros, Joseph Brannan, Donald Ludington, Thomas Shorter, Gabriel Del Valle, Gail Lannom, Bradley K. Zierke, Ross Dahl, Drew Peterson, Barbara Molina, Steven Ehrke, Bill Mauch, Thomas Gulling, Ronald Jones, and John Graziano, et. al., v. General Motors LLC.

The plaintiffs are represented by Andrus Anderson LLP, Grant & Eisenhofer P.A., and Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C.

CarComplaints.com has complaints about some of the vehicles named in the GM lawsuit.

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