— A Honda oil dilution settlement has received preliminary approval after CR-V and Civic customers alleged the oil levels increased due to fuel mixing with engine oil.
According to the lawsuit, the 2016-2018 Honda Civics and 2017-2018 Honda CR-Vs are equipped with 1.5-liter Earth Dreams turbocharged engines.
But the plaintiffs say the vehicles are not fit to drive because their engines have defects that were there since the point of sale.
The Earth Dreams engines are allegedly defective and cause a buildup of non-combusted fuel within the oil systems, diluting the engine oil and causing it to lose the ability to lubricate the systems. In addition, the lawsuit alleges the positive crankshaft ventilation (PCV) system is not good enough to handle contamination of the crankcase.
The plaintiffs say oil doesn't properly coat the bearing surfaces and allows contact between the connecting rods and the connecting rod bearings. In addition, the lawsuit alleges internal engine components are damaged to the point Honda owners must pay thousands of dollars for repairs.
Oil dilution problems also allegedly cause the crankcase to overfill with fuel-contaminated engine oil, "causing it to become aerated and foamy when it comes into contact with the crankshaft, leading to insufficient lubrication and overheating."
The class action argues the Honda should "repair, recall, and/or replace" the vehicles because they can't be used for the "purpose of providing safe and reliable transportation."
Honda denies all wrongdoing and argues the vehicles are not defective.
Although court documents say the oil dilution settlement agreement offers significant benefits to Honda customers, at least one of the benefits is a program Honda announced before the automaker and plaintiffs agreed to settle the oil dilution lawsuit.
And although the oil dilution class action includes customers nationwide, the so-called benefit, a product update, is offered to Honda CR-V and Civic customers in certain U.S. states.
The automaker had already announced the product update in 2018 for CR-V owners, but the oil dilution settlement says the product update applies to CR-V and Civic customers only in these states:
Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.
Honda customers in other states do not qualify for the product update program.
The Honda oil dilution settlement also says a benefit is an extended powertrain warranty solely to cover oil dilution problems until 6 years after the original sale or lease of the vehicle. However, Honda decided in December 2018 to extend the warranties in Canada and at the time was considering doing the same for U.S. customers.
Towing Reimbursement Related to Oil Dilution Problems
A Honda customer who paid for past towing as a direct result of oil dilution problems may submit a claim for reimbursement if all the following conditions are met:
- The CR-V or Civic was towed by a licensed towing company before the settlement notice date.
- The tow was required because of illumination of the warning light, “limp mode” or engine failure due to oil dilution problems.
- A diagnostic technical code for engine misfire or fuel mixture rich code must have been present in the vehicle related to oil dilution.
- Proof of towing expenses is provided.
Reimbursement for Past Honda Oil Changes
According to the Honda oil dilution settlement, a customer who paid for past oil changes directly caused by oil dilution problems may submit a reimbursement claim, as long as all the following conditions are met:
- The oil change occurred before the oil dilution settlement notice date.
- Honda must have adequate documentation proving the customer had complained about oil dilution problems to Honda or an authorized Honda dealer at any time before the oil change.
- The CR-V or Civic customer must provide proof they changed the oil on or before 5,000 miles from the prior oil change, and a customer must show proof of the expense.
Reimbursements for Past Diagnostic Costs
The Honda oil dilution settlement says a customer who paid out-of-pocket for diagnostic costs related to oil dilution problems may submit a claim for reimbursement of those costs up to $250. However, all the following conditions must be met.
- The diagnostics were completed on the vehicle before the oil dilution settlement notice.
- The charge must be related to diagnostics for oil dilution problems only.
- The CR-V and Civic owner must have made an oil dilution complaint verified by adequate Honda documentation.
- The customer must provide proof of the expense.
Attorneys for Honda owners have requested $850,000.
Although the Honda oil dilution settlement has received preliminary approval, the judge must still give final approval. A final fairness hearing is scheduled for July 31, 2020.
The Honda oil dilution lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota - Fath, et al., vs. American Honda Motor Company, Inc.
The plaintiffs are represented by Sauder Schelkopf LLC, Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman, LLC, Gustafson Gluek PLLC, and Migliaccio and Rathod LLP.