A proposed class action lawsuit filed against FCA US LLC alleges the automaker has sold certain model Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Ram vehicles stricken with a defect that can cause excessive engine oil consumption and sudden engine shutdown during normal operation.
According to the 82-page complaint, the 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir II engine found in the below vehicle models burns off and/or consumes “abnormally high amounts” of oil:
2015-2016 Chrysler 200;
2013-2016 Dodge Dart;
2016-2020 Fiat 500X;
2017-2020 Fiat Toro;
2014-2020 Jeep Cherokee;
2017-2020 Jeep Compass;
2015-2020 Jeep Renegade; and
2015-2020 Ram ProMaster City.
As a result of the apparent oil consumption defect, the vehicles can abruptly shut down in the course of normal operation, placing drivers, passengers and pedestrians at risk of injury or death, the lawsuit says.
Making matters worse is that the oil indicator system in the above-listed vehicles fails to warn drivers when their engine oil is running low, the case claims. According to the complaint, this additional defect causes drivers to be unaware of dangerously low oil levels until after their engine has stalled or shut down.
According to the suit, the defect in FCA’s 2.4L Tigershark engines utilizing electro-hydraulic “MultiAir” technology stems from the pistons and/or rings inside each engine. More specifically, the case claims the oil control strategy employed by FCA “does not work as intended” in that oil can escape past an engine’s piston ring and into its combustion area. As a result, an engine’s piston rings will not integrate properly with the cylinders in which they operate and can wear down, allowing oil to be consumed during an engine’s compression cycle, the lawsuit says.
“And if there is insufficient engine oil, the engine will not have the necessary lubrication or cooling, causing premature wear of internal parts and catastrophic engine failure,” the complaint reads.
The case claims FCA has known of the oil consumption and oil indicator system issues since at least 2015 yet has “engaged in efforts to conceal” the existence of the defects by describing the problems as “normal” in a technical service bulletin. By characterizing the flaws as “normal,” FCA has “avoided the economic fallout” of having to recall millions of vehicles, leaving owners and lessees on their own, the lawsuit alleges:
“As a result, Class Vehicle owners must fend for themselves, attempting to have the defect diagnosed and repaired on their own or otherwise drive unsafe vehicles that could suffer from mechanical breakdown at any time, even while the car is traveling at full speed."
Those who bought or leased any of the above-listed vehicle models would not have paid as much for the cars had they known of the engine oil and/or indicator system defect, the complaint says. In addition to posing the risk of injury to drivers, passengers and pedestrians, the alleged engine oil consumption and oil indicator defects materially reduce the value of proposed class members’ vehicles, the suit charges.
Get class action lawsuit news sent to your inbox – sign up for ClassAction.org’s newsletter here.