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GM 5.3L V8 Engine Oil Consumption Lawsuit In Oklahoma Allowed To Continue

A lawsuit against GM that alleges excessive engine oil consumption in the automaker’s 5.3L V8 engine has been allowed to continue in an Oklahoma federal court after the judge overseeing the lawsuit denied GM’s motion to dismiss.

According to a recent report from Car Complaints, the lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, with the plaintiff represented by Levinson, Smith and Huffman, PC, DiCello Levitt Gutzler LLC, Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis and Miles, P.C.

According to the lawsuit, the GM Generation IV 5.3L V8 Vortec 5300 LC9 gasoline engine exhibits abnormal oil consumption that exceeds industry standards. The excessive consumption can lead to a lack of engine lubrication, resulting in internal engine damage.

The vehicles covered by the lawsuit include several 2011- through 2014-model-year GM trucks and SUVs:

The plaintiff in the lawsuit alleges that the excessive oil consumption is primarily the result of defective piston rings, which can prematurely wear out and allow oil to enter the combustion chamber. What’s more, the lawsuit alleges that the active fuel management system’s oil pressure relieve valve can overload and foul the rings. Further issues included in the lawsuit point to the engine’s four-cylinder mode, with inactive cylinders allowing oil to enter the combustion chamber, while the PCV system, which vacuums atomized oil from the valvetrain into the intake, is also identified as a source of excessive oil consumption. Finally, the lawsuit states that the onboard oil life monitoring system does not alert the driver about the low oil levels until there is already a danger for causing engine damage.

This lawsuit is one of several against GM regarding excessive oil consumption in the naturally aspirated 5.3L V8 Vortec engine. Last year, one of these lawsuits was partially dismissed in Washington, while another was dismissed in Virginia. Another in Oregon was allowed to continue.

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Jonathan Lopez: Jonathan is an automotive journalist based out of Southern California. He loves anything and everything on four wheels.

View Comments (32)

  • Say what? We have a 2002 Avalanche with 191K on the odo and it is rare that I have to add a little oil between changes (every 5,000 miles). This beast is without a doubt the best truck I have ever owned.

    • It's the Active Fuel Management system that causes the problems in the 5.3. Your truck doesn't have it. The system didn't come around until 2006.

  • Had two of them that used oil like crazy from new! Dealer changed the pvc was all and monitored. Still used oil! Never been crazy about the 5.3 will only by a chevy or gmc with a 6.2. But have know a lot others that were fine. Go figure

  • This was a major GM flaw in their attempt to gain a very small amount of mpg. It was not limited to 5.3 engines, my son had a v-6 Impala that drank oil, and my daughter’s Saturn used more oil than any vehicle I have ever seen. My current 4.3 Chevy engine uses a quart in 4k miles , more than my old cars ever did but tolerable. The other problem is that younger people never open the hood of their cars anymore. I guess I’m old school (63 years old) and I still do my own oil changes, brakes, and etc. I like to know what’s going on with my vehicle. My kids get it because my vehicles almost never break down and are never back to the dealer except for warranty work. All you have to do is drive smart and keep up the maintenance and your car will reward you with many trouble free miles. My current vehicles are a 2009 Pontiac G-6, 2012 Silverado, and a 2019 Equinox. I would not hesitate to take any one of them cross-country tomorrow. I have my eye on a new Silverado and Camaro but wouldn’t want to part with any of my current rides. I will probably save them for my grandkids.

  • My 2007 Yukon with the 5.3 Flex Fuel engine drinks about 2 quarts in 4 thousand miles, which is how long I run my synthetic oil. That is not normal oil consumption in my books.

          • How many people when trading in their vehicle start telling the dealer about all the issues with it.
            If you do you will get the most money for it if you cut the cats off it, post it for pick and pull, and with scrap at $400+ a ton you will have down payment money.

      • Just keep it topped off and it will probably be ok. Sounds like the old days when I was a kid. Before self-serve gas stations the pump attendant always offered to check your oil during every fill-up just part of the service. Sometimes they even walked over to the drivers window and showed my dad the dip stick. The oil cans were stacked next to the gas pumps and they would put a quart in if you needed it. I always thought those metal coin changers on their belts were cool.

    • Synthetic 5W-30 burns off easily in all engines, it's too wide of a range for the viscosity index improvers needed for the light synthetic base stock. There also were problems with the large amounts of VIIs gumming up the rings.

      Switch to conventional oil and I bet your consumption will drop. The only real benefits with synthetic oil are under extended drain intervals. If you're changing oil every 4k, synthetics are just making things worse.

      • I run full synthetic 0W-20 in my 2019 turbo Equinox and change it every 5k miles and it uses none. I use 5W-30 full synthetic in my 2012 4.3 and it uses about a quart in 4k miles. I had an early 4.3 in a 91 Astro van and it used some oil but it was a valve stem seal problem that GM warranted along with leaky intake manifold gaskets. It’s a great engine that should go another at least 100k miles with proper maintenance.

      • I've never had an issue with wide-range synthetic oil in any of my engines. I had a 2001 Silverado with a 4.8 that took a quart every 3,500 miles like clockwork, but it did this for the entire 127,000 miles I owned it.

        Since then, none of my Plymouths, Dodges, Chryslers, other GMs, and one Honda, took more than maybe a teaspoon of oil between 5,000 ti 6,000 mile change intervals.

  • We just made a trip to Lake Tahoe (325 miles) in my 2021 Silverado with the 6.2 engine , used 1 qt of oil . 10-01-22 9,500 mileage William

  • My 2012 Avalanche ran out of oil at 24,000 miles. Chevy rebuilt the engine and addressed the oil dump valve repair. I'm still going to get rid of the AFM...

  • I own a 1999 Silverado Z71 and it has been absolutely flawless. It looks great too! That’s the year it won Motor Trend Truck of the Year! Same motor and tranny from the factory, regular maintenance and 345k miles later it’s still running strong. So good in fact I get offers to sell it most places I go. The only problem I’ve had is people keep trying to steal it. 3 attempts in the past year alone. The last time they did over $7K in damage and it took the dealer 7 months to fix. Open season in Colorado for Silverado’s!

    • Josh:

      Install an ignition interlock toggle switch in a secret location under your dash. Also install a current state of the art motor vehicle alarm system. This is your solution to preclude the bad actors from stealing your truck. Unfortunately Colorado has become a California.

      • If one is in the Apple ecosystem, throw an AirTag in the console or glove box, wrapped in something so as not to be noticed. If it is stolen, it may help trace the vehicle.

        EDIT: if you have an Android phone, I believe there is an app that will find AirTags as well.

  • Piston vendor quality control issue with ring metallurgy? Heat treat of piston rings? Or could it be friction bearing bi metal heat treat issue by vendor. A great deal of GM's engine components are vendor made.

    • I believe that they reduced the ring pressure against the cylinder walls to decrease friction and increase mpg. It increased the mileage a bit but also allowed more oil to bypass the rings snd burn with the fuel mixture combustion.

    • I've worked in a couple factories in my life. Vendor supplied parts are made to GM specifications. When they arrive at their destination they are placed in a holding area. Quality control then inspect them for Applicable specifications such as dimension And hardness et cetera et cetera et cetera.

      • Budlar:

        Your comment is correct if the system is functioning as designed and managed. The factory has the final say so on the design and receipt / use of the part(s). However, sloppiness, laziness, and sabotage come into play in the receiving/inspection area and assembly area of the factory floor. This is due to worker dissatisfaction with labor contract agreements, worker-management social unrest, leading to very creative part and assembly sabotage. Worker focus and interest on the task due to recreational drug and alcohol use. Many things are at counterproductive play in the modern factory.

        Also of positive note is that machine tool precision, housekeeping, environment, cost accounting, lighting and scrap are at the finest conditions and levels in history. So what's the problem? The human element both by vehicle users and internal areas of the factory floor. Does quality control receiving and inspection have oversight? Is block sampling and it's extrapolation being correctly applied.
        What totally amazes me in this whole oil consumption issue is that nothing has been mentioned by the plaintiff's and defendant about engine oil sampling and analysis of subject high oil consumption engines. What elements are wearing adversely? Is there a fault in the air induction system causing crystalline Silica to enter the engine? API oil specifications to the engine?
        My call on all this is what is oil analysis indicating? Cleaning piston rings and changing valve covers is bizarre. The root cause is going to be determined by engine oil analysis which Cat and the oil company labs use to determine engine wear and oil consumption issues.

  • I have a 2013 Chevy Silverado with 147000 miles. At 60000 miles the vehicles was back at the dealer with oil consumption and piston issues. GM did as little as possible to remedy the issues therefore causing nemerous trips back to the dealer. At 100000 miles GM finally told me the engine needed to be replaced. $7200.00 later out of my pocket the engine was replaced. I contacted GM requesting some type of financial assistance at which time they dismissed me like a bad habit. The new "rebuilt" engine is also a 3.5 that still has issues. When I contacted s law firm in Chicago, IL., about joing the class action I was told I was not eligible because the defective engine was no longer in the vehicle.

    • Tom Deakin:

      You still have an actionable cause. Contact the consumer complaint department of your state's Attorney General's office. Also check with pro bono legal services for the public in your state. Also check with law schools in your state to see if their students would file a complaint and argue it in your behalf on a gratis basis as a viable training exercise for their students. I have found the BBB to be worthless. Best of luck in your pursuit.

    • I may be out to lunch on this, but, if I were turned down for any compensation or discounts by the dealer, I would turn the truck over to a local, REPUTABLE engine rebuilder, and let them at it. Ones that specialize in this or that make or manufacturer knows all the tips and tricks, and you'd end up with something superior to a factory "reman", or crate motor.

      Variation on that theme: the Chrysler UltraDrive was - in fact - a very sturdy design, but suffered from poor quality in some of the parts, especially cir-clip fasteners. Another problem was, it was so different from what was out at that time, many mechanics at the dealers did entire rebuilds or swaps over something as simple as replacing a $35 speed sensor.

      Savvy shops learned how to rebuild them. A friend in Texas lost his in an LH-series Chrysler. The shop used a regular Chrysler rebuild kit except for the cir-clip fasteners, set things at the very center of factory ranges, and let the computer do the rest on the test drives. That transmission went another 400,000 miles and was still working when he sold the car.

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