— General Motors Vortec engines are still being talked about in court as owners try to convince a judge not to dismiss a lawsuit that alleges certain vehicles consume too much oil and can cause engine failures.
The judge dismissed the entire lawsuit in August 2017 but allowed the plaintiffs to amend the complaint, sending GM into court again to allegedly show the amended lawsuit is as worthless as the suit that was dismissed.
The plaintiffs filed the proposed class-action lawsuit claiming the following vehicles are a safety risk because the oil pressure warning systems for the Vortec engines don't work properly:
- 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
According to the lawsuit, the Vortec 5300 engines in the vehicles consume extreme levels of oil because of defects in the oil rings that allow oil to invade the combustion chambers. The plaintiffs claim this causes the oil to harden or burn with gasoline, causing a decrease in engine lubrication and eventually engine failure.
The plaintiffs claim the oil pressure warnings can fail to activate in time to prevent engine damage, something GM has allegedly known is a problem with the Vortec engines.
The lawsuit alleges the oil level warning systems don't do what they should do to protect the engines because instead of monitoring the oil levels, the systems monitor engine conditions to calculate "expected deterioration in oil quality," then recommends when the oil should be changed.
The plaintiffs further point to changes GM made to the Vortec engines and how the automaker stopped using the very low-tension oil rings at the heart of the lawsuit. In addition, General Motors also allegedly switched to a standard oil level sensor, something the plaintiffs say proves GM knew about the oil consumption problems and was trying to erase those problems.
GM told the judge the plaintiffs can talk about engine fires all they want, but the lawsuit never mentions evidence for even one engine fire, or for that matter, not one case where an engine shut down. Attorneys for GM claim with thousands of these vehicles on the roads for four years, not one fire or shutdown proves the plaintiffs don't have valid arguments.
General Motors also says allegations of a risk to safety are baseless because owners receive plenty of warning about low oil pressure levels.
The judge dismissed the earlier version of the Vortec engine lawsuit by finding GM owners did receive adequate warnings if oil levels were too low. The judge also said while the plaintiffs claimed GM must have known about the Vortec oil consumption issues through customer complaints, there was no evidence those customers indicated what was causing the problems.
The judge also determined technical service bulletins sent to GM dealerships never mentioned anything about oil rings.
GM says the same arguments that got the case dismissed once are the same arguments that should earn another dismissal.
CarComplaints.com has complaints about some of the vehicles named in the GM Vortec engine lawsuit.
- Chevrolet Avalanche - 2010 / 2011 / 2012 / 2013
- Chevrolet Colorado - 2010 / 2011 / 2012
- Chevrolet Express 1500 - 2010 / 2011 / 2012 / 2013
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500 - 2012 / 2013
- Chevrolet Suburban - 2010 / 2011 / 2012 / 2013
- Chevrolet Tahoe - 2010 / 2011 / 2012 / 2013
- GMC Canyon - 2010 / 2011 / 2012 / 2013
- GMC Sierra 1500 - 2010 / 2011 / 2012 / 2013
- GMC Yukon - 2010 / 2011 / 2012 / 2013