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General Motors GM 8L90 or 8L45 Eight-Speed Transmission Defect Class Action

2019 GMC Yukon SUV

Auto defects can be both costly and dangerous for consumers. The complaint for this class action alleges that certain recent General Motors (GM) vehicles have a transmission defect that is uncomfortable while it’s occurring and that over time degrades or ruins the transmission and other vehicle parts. 

Six statewide class have been proposed for this class action. The California Class is all residents of California who bought or leased a GM passenger vehicle with a GM 8L90 or 8L45 transmission, from December 18, 2014 to the present. The Florida, Oklahoma, Illinois, New York, and Texas Classes are similar. 

GM is the largest US automobile maker and the tenth-largest US company by revenue. It sells a number of brands of cars and trucks, including Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac. The vehicles at issue are from model years 2015 to 2018 and are equipped with either the GM 8L90 or 8L45 eight-speed automatic transmissions.

GM began putting its eight-speed transmissions in vehicles in 2015, claiming they would distribute power more efficiently than earlier six-speed types. A 2015 press release said, “The new-generation transmission delivers an optimal blend of efficiency, power, performance, durability and NVH suppression that’s never been offered, one uniquely suited to the engines and vehicles with which it will be paired and the demands of 21st-century drivers and advanced automotive engineering.”

GM sold a number of different models with the two transmissions at issue:

  • 2015-2019 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 2017-2019 Chevrolet Colorado
  • 2015-2019 Chevrolet Corvette
  • 2016-2019 Chevrolet Camaro
  • 2015-2019 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV
  • 2016-2019 Cadillac ATS, ATS-V, CTS, CT6, and CTS-V
  • 2015-2019 GMC Sierra, Yukon, and Yukon XL, and Yukon Denali XL
  • 2017-2019 GMC Canyon

However, the complaint claims that the new transmissions do not operate properly. “Drivers attempting to accelerate or decelerate their cars feel a hesitation, followed by a significant shake, shudder, jerk, clunk, or ‘hard shift’…. Drivers have reported that the shift is sometimes so violent, they feel as though they have been hit by another vehicle.”

The complaint makes clear that it isn’t simply talking about discomfort. “The shuddering, shaking, jerking and hesitation is related to internal issues with the transmission and/or torque converter causing friction surfaces, hydraulic system, and gears to not function properly, and resulting in metal shavings being circulated throughout the transmission.” Over time, this causes damage, including metal shavings throughout the transmission and eventually requiring the flushing of the transmission and/or replacement of the torque converter, valve body, or the entire transmission.

The complaint alleges that GM knew about the defect and has issued thirteen technical service bulletins on it since 2015. None of the suggested fixes actually fixes the problem, the complaint says. The complaint claims breaches of warranty and violation of consumer protection laws in the various states.

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