Car motor

California Jury Awards $102.6 Million After Finding Class of GM 5.3L Engines Defective

A California jury awarded $102.6 million in a class action lawsuit against GM after finding its 5.3L engines to be defective.

The problem involved three classes of GM trucks and SUVs made between 2011 and 2014 with 5.3L engines. The engines’ piston rings failed to keep oil in the crankcase and combustion gases in the chamber.

GM’s “Active Fuel Management” system worsened the defect by covering the piston rings with oil spray. The extra pressure pushed excess oil into the combustion chamber, which either burned or collected as carbon buildup. As the carbon collected, it coated the spark plugs, which struggled to ignite the gasoline in the combustion chamber.

The results were poor ignition, misfire, power loss and eventual engine stall.

The vehicles’ oil monitoring system also failed to warn drivers about engine oil level problems because they didn’t monitor the oil level. Instead, it monitored engine conditions such as temperature to guess the expected deterioration in oil quality. The oil pressure gauge would light up after the engines were well past the point of being critically oil starved.

Vehicle owners could drive thousands of miles without warning that the engine needed proper lubricant.

These defects significantly reduced the life of the engine components, decreased the value of the plaintiffs’ vehicles, and increased the safety risk to vehicle owners and others who shared the road. During the trial, Beasley Allen lawyers Clay Barnett, Rebecca Gilliland, Mitch Williams and Dylan Martin, along with DiCello, Levitt and Jennie Anderson of Andrus Anderson, argued that GM violated the Idaho’s Consumer Sales Practices Act and for breach of express and implied warranty under California and North Carolina law,.

The plaintiffs showed that GM knew about the engine issue before the vehicles were placed in the market because of the extraordinary number of complaints and warranty claims. Despite this, GM continued selling the vehicles and, in response to those claims, instructed its dealers to use stop-gap fixes to address the problem, which failed to remedy it.

GM admitted under oath that it chose to do so to save on repair costs.

“We are pleased that the jury understood the issue in detail and rendered a verdict in favor of the class members, who need relief for this defective engine,” said co-lead trial counsel Barnett. “The evidence was clear that GM engineers knew about this defect in this model engine as far back as 2009 but remained silent about the defect because of the cost associated with curing the problem.”

The jury awarded $2,700.00 per car for each class member in the three tried states, amounting to approximately 38,000 vehicles. Beasley Allen and the rest of the trial team filed classes with similar issues in eight other states.

Consumer Protection

Free Case Evaluation

Since 1979, Beasley Allen has been committed to “helping those who need it most.” Our attorneys have helped thousands of clients get the justice they desperately needed and deserved. You pay us nothing if we do not win for you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

For Disclaimers, see our Terms of Use.

Free Case Evaluation Full - Updated

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.