The class action lawsuit arises from Kia Motor America’s alleged failure to disclose that the engines in affected vehicles contain a latent defect that results in the restriction of oil flow through the connecting rod bearing, as well as to other vital areas of the engine.
Plaintiff Greg Wallis of California purchased a pre-owned 2013 Kia Optima LX in November 2013. In March 2016, while driving on the highway, Wallis claims he heard an unusual engine noise upon acceleration and brought his car into a Kia service department.
A Kia service technician reportedly evaluated Wallis’ vehicle and advised him that he needed to replace the motor due to metal shavings found inside the vehicles engine for a cost of $7,000. After charging $200 just to diagnose the issue, Wallis declined additional work on his vehicle and left the dealership.
However, after leaving the dealership to drive a short 15 miles home, Wallis’ Kia Optima seized while driving and he was forced to have the car towed to his home, where is vehicle remains inoperable due to the failed engine, the lawsuit states.
Wallis claims that he contacted Kia’s customer service center numerous times, but Kia was unwilling to assist him with the costs of repairing the failed engine in his vehicle.
Co-plaintiff Jodie Peltier of Illinois alleges similar circumstances with her 2013 Kia Sorento, which caused her vehicle to dangerously stall during high speed.
It is believed the connecting rod bearings in certain engines fail as metal debris circulate throughout the engine via the engine oil. Over time, the contaminants in the oiling system cause the connecting rod bearings to fracture and spew large amounts of metal debris into the engine oil, which it cannot filter out to maintain necessary oil pressure.
“This contaminated engine oil is recirculated throughout the engine by the oil pump, causing damage to the various engine components and eventually results in sudden and unexpected catastrophic engine failure. If the vehicle is being operated on the highway at the time of the engine failure, it will ultimately result in a high speed stalling event, as it did for Plaintiff Peltier,” the class action lawsuit reports.
Both plaintiffs assert that Kia had a longstanding knowledge that this sufficient engine oil defect existed and could cause catastrophic engine failure and stalling while in operation, posing a significant safety risk to the vehicle occupants.
According to the Kia engine oil defect lawsuit, many owners and lessees of the affected vehicles communicated with Kia to remedy the concealed engine oil defect and damage caused to their cars, but claim that Kia refused to take any action to correct, even within the warranty period.
“Not only did Kia actively conceal the material fact that this particular component is defectively designed (and requires costly repairs to fix), but it also did not reveal that the existence of this defect would diminish the intrinsic resale value of the vehicle,” the lawsuit states.
Even numerous complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), have not prompted Kia to repair the engine oil defect or or to reimburse customers who incurred out-of-pocket expenses to repair the defect.
The lawsuit cites at least 19 customer complaints filed with the NHTSA. One of these NHTSA complaints posted by a 2011 Kia Optima owner states that “while driving approximately 60 mph an abnormal sound emitted from under the hood of the vehicle as the check engine oil warning light flickered. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the connecting rod failed and the engine needed to be replaced…”
This is not the first time Kia has been under fire for vehicle issues. In 2013, the automaker was accused of manufacturing vehicles with defective fuel tanks. The class action lawsuit included owners of the 2010-2013 models of the Kia Soul, Soul Plus, Soul Exclaim, and Soul Sport cars.
More recently in 2015, the Department of Justice launched an investigation into Kia (along with Hyundai) for purportedly misstating the fuel economy ratings on certain 2011 -2013 vehicles. Kia and Hyundai agreed to settle allegations for a reported $100 million – the largest civil penalty under the Clean Air Act.
The plaintiffs bring this class action lawsuit on behalf of themselves and a proposed Class of current and former owners and lessees with Theta 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter gasoline direct injection engines (GDI engines) installed in certain 2011- 2014 Kia Optima, Sportage, and Sorento vehicles.
They are seeking class certification as well as redress Kia’s violations of California and Illinois consumer fraud statutes, along with recovery for breach of express and implied warranties, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, and common law fraud in excess of $5 million.
Wallis and Peltier are represented by Richard D. McCune, David C. Wright, Joseph G. Sauder, Matthew D. Schelkopf, and Joseph B. Kenney of McCune Wright LLP.
The Kia Engine Oil Defect Class Action Lawsuit is Greg Wallis and Jodie Peltier v. Kia Motors America Inc., Case No. 8:16-cv-01033, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
UPDATE: On November 7, 2016, the Kia Engine Oil Defect class action lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed.
Where is the safety neutral switch located?
The neutral safety switch is located in the linkage or inside the transmission case which allows the vehicle to shift gear.
What are symptoms of a faulty neutral safety switch?
Common signs of a faulty neutral safety switch include the engine not cranking in park or neutral, not cranking at all, or cranking in any gear.
How do I reset my neutral safety switch?
Slide the Switch One method of adjusting the switch is by loosening it enough so it can move, sliding it back into the correct position, and tightening it back down. What is this? You will know that the switch is in the correct position when your helper can turn the vehicle over in park and neutral.
Can I start car without neutral safety switch?
The neutral safety switch is built into the transmission selector switch, and the power from the ignition switch goes straight through the switch when you are in park and neutral to the starter motor solenoid. There is no good reason to bypass the selector switch since the vehicle may start and run in any gear.