A class action alleges Volvo concealed a defect plaguing the piston rings, pistons and/or piston heads in the 2.0L four-cylinder and 2.5L five-cylinder engines found in certain 2013-2016 vehicle models.
On March 15, the parties submitted a status report in which they informed the court that they were “very pleased to report that they have reached a settlement of this action and are in the process of collecting the necessary signatures.”
No details are available regarding Volvo’s settlement with the plaintiffs.
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Sixteen plaintiffs allege in a proposed class action that Volvo intentionally concealed a defect plaguing the piston rings, pistons and/or piston heads in the 2.0L four-cylinder and 2.5L five-cylinder engines found in certain 2013-2016 vehicle models.
The 213-page case claims that the apparent defect prevents the piston rings in an affected engine from properly clearing oil off the side of the cylinder wall during the downstroke. Instead, the piston rings push that oil up, where it can coat the top of the piston head, enter the combustion chamber and ignite, the lawsuit states. Moreover, the alleged defect can cause a Volvo engine to consume excessive amounts of oil and a piston or pistons to crack, fracture or splinter, according to the suit.
More specifically, the oil control ring, i.e. the lowest ring on the piston, is defective and does not allow the oil from the cylinder wall to drain, the complaint alleges.
According to the lawsuit, the continual burning of oil over time can damage an engine’s piston rings and piston heads and allow even more oil to ignite, causing further damage to the pistons and other components. Per the case, the problem may cause a vehicle to lose power, both incrementally over time and catastrophically at one time, due to the fact that some of the oxygen usually ignited in the combustion chamber that powers the vehicle is being used instead to burn excess oil in the cylinder.
As the piston head and cylinder head become damaged, power generated in an engine’s combustion chamber is “dissipated” rather than used to spin the crankshaft to power the vehicle, the suit says.
Overall, the alleged piston defect can cause an engine to consume an excessive amount of oil given the pistons are pushing oil from the cylinder up into the combustion chamber, the complaint states. The problem may also cause the pistons and engine itself to fail due to a lack of enough oil to properly minimize friction and lubricate engine components.
The filing explains that in an internal combustion engine, the piston is a fast-moving metal component contained within a cylinder. Piston rings attached at the head of the piston make the piston “gas-tight,” and the piston’s purpose is to transfer force from expanding gas in the cylinder to the crankshaft via a piston rod and/or connecting rod, according to the suit. During normal engine operation, a piston is subject to tremendous forces and heat, the case adds.
Further still, the oil consumption issue also causes shrapnel from fragments of the piston rings, as they degrade, or from the piston head, to circulate throughout an engine, causing even more damage, according to the filing.
The lawsuit claims that the Volvo piston defect could ultimately end up costing a driver “well over $10,000” for parts or an entire engine replacement.
According to the complaint, the apparent piston defect poses a safety risk because when a piston or pistons suddenly and unexpectedly fail, a vehicle will immediately lose engine power.
“A sudden loss of power poses a clear-cut safety risk - it can prevent the driver from accelerating, maintaining speed, engaging the brakes and even adequately controlling the steering wheel, all of which drastically increase the risk of collisions, and puts other drivers, passengers and pedestrians in danger,” the case states.
The lawsuit alleges defendants Volvo Car USA, LLC; Volvo Cars of North America, LLC and Volvo Personvagnar AB “undertook affirmative measures” to hide the alleged piston defect. The suit claims that the automaker was sufficiently aware of the issue yet failed to inform the public.
The lawsuit looks to cover all individuals in the United States who bought or leased any 2013-2016 Volvo vehicle equipped with a 2.0L four-cylinder or 2.5L five-cylinder engine.
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