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Honda has agreed to settle a massive class action lawsuit covering oil burning in V6 engines in Accords, Odtssey, Pilot and Crosstour.

Client Settlement Site > Notice

American Honda settles class-action suit over oil-burning claim

October 22, 2013 - 12:00 pm ET

DETROIT -- American Honda Motor Co. has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit over claims that it manufactured 1,593,755 defective vehicles that excessively burn oil and require frequent spark plug replacements.

The settlement concerns all U.S. purchasers and lessees of 2008-12 Accord, 2008-13 Odyssey, 2009-13 Pilot, 2010-11 Accord Crosstour and 2012 Crosstour vehicles equipped with six-cylinder engines that have variable cylinder management. Accord vehicles with four-cylinder engines are excluded from the settlement.

The original suit -- filed in March 2012 by plaintiffs Alex Soto and Vince Eagen -- claimed the vehicles contained a "systematic design defect that enables oil to enter into the engine's combustion chamber." The alleged defect led to "premature spark plug degradation and engine malfunction," court documents said.

The plaintiffs claimed Honda hid the problem from consumers. Honda denied the allegation, despite receiving hundreds of online complaints on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Web site, and about 130 on carcomplaints.com concerning the 2008 Accord alone.

Honda later issued a technical service bulletin notifying its technicians to check for the defect. The automaker did not issue a recall because a safety issue was not discovered.

The majority of complaints allege that Honda said it was normal for a powertrain to burn a quart of oil every 1,000 miles. The suit claimed Honda refused to cover warranties for the vehicles and, instead, instructed customers to check their oil every time they get gas.

Eagan claims that he had to add a quart of oil to his vehicle each month and had to replace his "prematurely fouled" spark plugs twice within 55,000 miles as a result of oil burning in the cylinders.

Soto said in court documents that he routinely noticed carbon buildup on his exhaust pipe -- a sign that oil, and not just gasoline, is burning in the powertrain.

Honda assured Soto that this, too, was normal, court documents show.

Dave Sullivan, an analyst at research firm AutoPacific, said that today's emission requirements do not permit engines to burn oil.

"It's too dirty," Sullivan said. "We're seeing cars go 10,000 miles now between oil changes. If there was a quart for every thousand miles you would need 10 quarts, and most cars don't have that many quarts in them."

Sullivan said when he changed the oil in his Mazda6 that he may have lost "a cup or two of oil between changes, but that was over 7,500 miles. I think that's a negligible amount. That being said, there's no excuse for a quart every thousand miles."

Sullivan said the last major episode that involved people complaining about oil burn was with the Mazda RX-8." Instead of waiting for people to complain, [Mazda] was more proactive and … said 'even if you don't have a problem, you're going to have one so let's just fix it now.'"

Honda declined to comment until after the case is granted final approval.

The settlement was reached after U.S. District Judge Susan Illston declined the defendant's motion to force arbitration on the case in Oct. 2012. The judge found that Honda was a third-party non-signatory to a contract and therefore may not compel arbitration under the terms of the contract.

The preliminary settlement approval was given Oct. 9 by Illston in San Francisco. The final fairness hearing, which is the last step in a class action settlement, is set for March 21.

Under the conditions of the settlement, Honda agreed to extend the powertrain limited warranty for up to eight years after the original sale or lease of the vehicle. Honda also agreed not to oppose the counsel attorney fees as long as they do not exceed more than $800,000. Eagen is also asking the court to approve an incentive award of no more than $1,000 to compensate him for his time and effort on behalf of the settlement class, according to a copy of the class notice.

Honda settles class-action lawsuit over oil-burning V6s
Any comments?
 

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this suit doesn't affect 9th gen accords. it states: accords from 2008-2012
 

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Even My Mower Is a Honda!
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I saw this earlier today. I just picked up an uber powertrain warranty on our Odyssey.

Woot!

Jay
 

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Andrew Thurlow's summary (the quoted material above) is misleading with regard to what the proposed settlement order actually says.

It should be noted initially the proposed settlement order ["PSO"] only pertains to specific V-6 engines produced before 2013 (2008-2012 Accord V-6 engines, for example).

It is further important to note the scope of the proposed settlement. Namely: "This lawsuit is about Engine Misfire and its symptoms and causes . . . . The Engine Misfire at issue generates one or more of the following vehicle diagnostic trouble codes (“DTC”): P0301, P0302, P0303, or P0304." Significantly, the proposed settlement does use or mention the words "oil consumption" anywhere in the proposed settlement order. Thus, unless a claimant's V-6 experiences a "diagnosed" "engine misfire" that results in one of the DTCs listed in the proposed order, the fact that the engine may consume "x" amount of motor oil per thousand miles is not relevant and is not included in the PSO.

Thurlow also failed to note that (quoting from the PSO): "The Court has not decided in favor of Plaintiff or Defendant. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement on behalf of everyone in the proposed Settlement Class . . . . Settlement Class Members will only receive certain agreed-upon benefits "if the settlement is approved and becomes Final." That determination will not be made until March 21, 2014.

What are the proposed benefits for claimants? Good question. Here again, it's important to read the PSO for content. If the PSO becomes final, the "remedy" for "qualified Engine Misfire" may include repair or replacement of spark plugs, valve stem seals, and engine pistons and/or pistons rings." The PSO further states: "[L]ess commonly performed [repairs] . . . may include repair or replacement of ignition coils, the engine short block, the engine long block, and the valve timing chain and/or valve timing tensioner." Finally, "Out-Of-Pocket Expenses for services are eligible for reimbursement only if the repair invoice or other documentation indicates that they were performed in connection the following diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) P0301, P0302, P0303, or P0304."
 

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Its a shame that Honda, along with other big corporations, seems to choose to deny legitimate warranty claims and instead rely on the courts to sort things out. :thumbsdow

In my view a customer should not need to go to court to get their car fixed. :dunno:
 

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"equipped with six-cylinder engines that have variable cylinder management." Another reason why I hate the VCM feature. It's just a system that is overly complicated and can cause problems down the road while providing minimal benfits in the long run. There's a thread about this over on the odyclub.com forum. I am glad that neither of our 6-cylinder Hondas we own (my 07 Accord and our 08 Odyssey) have the VCM feature on them.
 

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this suit doesn't affect 9th gen accords. it states: accords from 2008-2012
"equipped with six-cylinder engines that have variable cylinder management." Another reason why I hate the VCM feature. It's just a system that is overly complicated and can cause problems down the road while providing minimal benfits in the long run. There's a thread about this over on the odyclub.com forum. I am glad that neither of our 6-cylinder Hondas we own (my 07 Accord and our 08 Odyssey) have the VCM feature on them.
Soooo I have a 9th gen with the ECO mode (2013, v6, 6at, coupe to be specific) and I just happened to check my oil at around 4000 miles (total) and I am below the lowest oil level line. Gives me a bit of a concern. What do you guys think? Am I crazy? are the 9th gen v6 engines the same as the 8th gens?

Does honda use a synthetic from the factory or is it natural? Is there still that rule around that you should change the initial factory oil at like 1000 miles? Or just wait until the maintenance minder comes on?
 

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^ Update: I went to check my 9th gen with 5k miles and I was over 2 quarts low. I was very surprised.

After reading further into the Class Action details, I see that it mentioned specifically the VCM models. I thought to myself, why would this cause oil to burn more than other models. If I had to guess, by shutting off 2 cylinders your essentially cooling those cylinders slightly which may be just enough to burn more oil than the operating cylinders. So to test my theory, I will fill my car to the oil line and keep the VCM off for the entire oil life. I will see if that makes any sort of difference.

Anyone else have any ideas?
 

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I've had no issues with my engine at all (the rest of the car has been anything but reliable, however). No misfire, no burning oil, no issues other than being able to feel VCM engage/disengage at speeds of 25-50 mph which I'm told is normal.

My Accord sees mainly city driving so its running on 6 cylinders most of the time so maybe this helps in my case.
 

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7th Gear
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It's too bad - I bought this car thinking I was getting a tank.
 

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How come they're saying: "Accord vehicles with four-cylinder engines are excluded from the settlement."?

Alex Soto (one of the plaintiff) is or was using a Honda Accord 2008 4-cylinders according to the class action complaint. Here's the link...

www.bergermontague.com/.../honda---complaint.pdf‎ Page #16

I've got a Honda Accord 2009 EX-L Coupe and I have to add around 3 to 4 quarts of oil between 2 oil changes.

That's pretty stupid if they exclude 4 cylinders owners.
 
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Honda Accord oil burning and spark plug issue

i have a 2010 Accord and have had problems the last six months. My check engine light started to come on and i brought it to dealer. They said the oil was very low. They did an oil change. The next month the samething happened. Another oil change. Another month last the check engine light went on along with VSA. The engine started to misfire. I bought the car into dealer and they replace spark plugs. i looked on the internet and saw the class action suit. I talked with service manager and he refused to acknowledge my car had this problem. He said my car oil problem and spark plug issue was wear and tear. He said when the oil gets low to put a quart of oil in. I was not very happy. The check engine light went on a month later and the car was misfiring. I brought it into the dealer again and after calling American Honda they acknowledged the problem. the service manager said we had to go through the steps to determine this problem. I called the American Honda person and told them how upset i was and Honda's shouldn't have this problem and they failed to recognize this was the problem initially. They are fixing my car but that doesn't help with the bad taste i have with the deception and the totally disregard for my well being.
 

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2005 Honda Accord eating oil

Honda has agreed to settle a massive class action lawsuit covering oil burning in V6 engines in Accords, Odtssey, Pilot and Crosstour.


Any comments?
Flyboy, I am having the same trouble with my Honda that you were having with yours. I have a 2005 Accord that started eating oil around 80k miles. I say eating because it disappears. I have no leaks and am now being told that I have to replace my short block and have the heads turned. All I have to pay is $4800. I am beside myself especially knowing that this has happened to others. Who should I contact about this issue? I have already contact Honda Corp of America. That was their answer. I need help.
 

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I am also in the lawsuite but I will only get about 200 bucks back from it. My local dealer saw that there was a problem and was able to change my spark plugs for free. When I got my 9th gen i did not want to deal with small problems my 8th gen v6 had. The car never left me on the side of the road but I had the change out my spark plugs 4 times over 200k miles.
 

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I got my reimbursement check a few days ago.
 

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^ Update: I went to check my 9th gen with 5k miles and I was over 2 quarts low. I was very surprised.

After reading further into the Class Action details, I see that it mentioned specifically the VCM models. I thought to myself, why would this cause oil to burn more than other models. If I had to guess, by shutting off 2 cylinders your essentially cooling those cylinders slightly which may be just enough to burn more oil than the operating cylinders. So to test my theory, I will fill my car to the oil line and keep the VCM off for the entire oil life. I will see if that makes any sort of difference.

Anyone else have any ideas?
get an oil change done. make sure your oil level is perfect when you leave. reset the trip odometer. when you hit 1000 miles check the oil. if you have reached the lower line on the hatch marks, you have an oil consumption problem. if not, then you just go WAY to long between oil changes, OR you dont check your oil like you should. (monthly)
 

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Last week my 2010 started to "chug" and threw a flashing CEL and ran rough. Pulled over, turned the car off, checked things out and the cel and rough idle went away when I restarted it.
Took it to Advanced to plug it in and no codes where stored. :(
I called the dealer and had them note it down but I'm sure there's nothing they can do with no symptoms showing.
I'll use about half a quart in 8000 miles and the oil gets dark relatively quickly.
I'll guess I have to wait and see if it does it again.
 
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