If your car engine is consuming oil faster than it should, how would you know when more oil is needed? Perhaps you would rely on the vehicle’s oil pressure warning (OPW) or oil life monitoring (OLM) system. But if you had a Chevrolet Equinox from certain model years, the complaint for this class action alleges, your engine could suffer damage or even shut down on the road before either of these systems gave you a warning.
The Nationwide Class for this action is all current and former owners or lessees of model years 2010-2017 Chevrolet Equinoxes that have 2.4 liter engines. The Illinois Subclass is all members of the Nationwide Class who live in Illinois and who bought or leased their vehicles in Illinois.
The complaint claims that the Chevy Equinoxes in question consume as much oil as they do because of defects that prevents them from properly managing oil use. These defects, the complaint says, lead to potentially serious problems, such as low oil pressure, lack of lubrication, engine knock, spark plug fouling and knock, and major damage to engine parts.
However, the complaint says, the OPW’s engine oil pressure light does not come on until the vehicles are below the critical level of oil and therefore does not prevent engine damage, and the OLM seems to base its warnings on calculations relating to vehicle use rather than actual conditions of excessive oil consumption.
Plaintiff Patrick Sanchez bought a new Chevy Equinox in 2011. When he checked his oil in early 2012, he said, he noticed it was consuming more oil than other vehicles he’d owned, so he began checking the oil often and performing more frequent oil changes. In early 2013, he began hearing a knocking noise, which the complaint claims was a “spark knock” indicating, the complaint says, that “internal damage had begun occurring within the engine” although Sanchez was not aware of this at the time.
In January 2018, the complaint says, Sanchez was on the road when his vehicle shut off. He was able to pull over safely, the complaint claims, but the vehicle shut off three or four more times while he was getting it home. The problems were due to the oil consumption defects, the complaint claims, but never at any time had Sanchez’s OPW or OLM indicators come on.
The complaint alleges that the company knew about problems with the vehicles, partly because of repair records and online complaints, but also because the company issued a Special Coverage Adjustment (SCA) for 2010-2012 model year vehicles with the defect, nor has it offered suitable repairs or replacements of damages caused by the defects. The complaint alleges breaches of warranties, among other violations.