The plaintiff in a proposed class action lawsuit against Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America, Inc. claims the alleged defect found in the companies’ Theta II engines is not the result of leftover metal debris from the engines’ manufacturing process, as the automakers previously claimed, but rather an engine oil contamination problem.
The lawsuit points out that Hyundai and Kia issued a recall between 2015 and 2017 of 1.5 million vehicles equipped with the Theta II engine, with the companies attributing the alleged defect to “leftover metal debris” from the engines’ manufacturing process. The case argues, however, that the cause of the issue stated by the defendants is inaccurate, as the Theta II engine’s problems stem from a fuel injection system that allows contaminants to enter an engine’s oil supply, the 40-page complaint says. The supposed issue, the case continues, can produce a knocking noise from within the engine, a decrease in engine power and stalling episodes, or even a loss of power steering should the contaminant problem get worse.
The lawsuit alleges Hyundai has long known that all of its Theta II engines possess a design defect. Worse, the litigation claims the defendants routinely deny warranty coverage to engines affected by the reported defect by “blaming the engine-killing oil sludge on inadequate maintenance of the use of aftermarket oil filters.”
“Non-recalled Theta II engines are failing because of the defect in numbers that in some cases exceed the failure rates of recalled vehicles,” the lawsuit adds.