Are heating systems vital to cars? According to the complaint for this class action, plaintiff Mark Pustulka put up with damage to his until, in a colder than normal winter, he found himself unable to maintain complete windshield visibility. When he finally took the car for repair, however, the complaint alleges that his Chrysler was out of warranty, even though the problem involved a manufacturing defect that Chrysler should have remedied long ago.
The Nationwide Class for this action includes all persons who purchased or leased a Chrysler Jeep Wrangler for model years 2012 to 2017 in the US. The New York Subclass includes all persons who purchased or leased a Chrysler Jeep Wrangler for model years 2012 to 2017 in the state of New York.
Car manufacturers sometimes use a sand casting method with sand molds to make certain engine components. Although the Jeeps in question in this case have an engine made with die casting, the complaint alleges that the cylinder head on top of the engine is made with sand casting and that the sand is not sufficiently removed from the cylinder head afterwards.
The complaint claims that the sand seeps out as the car is driven, works its way through the car’s systems, and settles in the heater core, radiator, and oil cooling systems, where it forms a thick, reddish, sludge that builds up until the heating and cooling systems stop working properly. Routine engine flushes only provide temporary relief, if any, the complaint says, because the sand is too thick to flush properly and has already circulated throughout the system and will continue to build up as the car is driven.
The complaint claims that Chrysler should have known about this defect from presale testing of the Jeeps or from the many consumer complaints, in Chrysler’s own records as well as online. Some of the complaints even seem to include images of the orange sludge. However, the complaint says, Chrysler has not disclosed the problem to Jeep buyers or fixed the problem.
The Jeeps are sold under warranties, including a New Vehicle Limited Warranty that covers the car “bumper to bumper” for three years or 36,000 miles and a Powertrain Limited Warranty that that covers the costs of parts and labor on defective powertrain components within five years or 100,000 miles. The complaint says that Chrysler has refused to pay for repairs required by the problem, claiming that the problem is caused by “external factors” or “misuse” or that the vehicles are out of warranty.
However, the complaint points out that buyers cannot know of the defect until the systems actually fail, which it claims should toll the statute of limitations. Among its other claims, it requests a declaration by the court that the repairs should be covered under the Powertrain Warranty and an extension of the Basic Limited Warranty.