American Honda has finally settled a class-action lawsuit filed back in March 2012 by plaintiffs Alex Soto and Vince Eagan, who claimed their vehicles had a defect that let oil enter the engine’s combustion chamber that lead to the spark plugs degrading prematurely and the engine to malfunction.
The lawsuit claimed that almost 1.6 million vehicles excessively burned oil and required more frequent spark plug replacements when equipped with six-cylinder engines that came with variable cylinder management systems, or VTEC in Honda speak. The vehicles affected included 2008-2012 Accord, 2008-2013 Odyssey, 2009-2013 Pilot, 2010-2011 Accord Crosstour, and 2012 Crosstour models.
The two plaintiffs believed that Honda covered up the defect after hundreds of complaints showed up on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website and carcomplaints.com. Honda denied all allegations of hiding a potential problem and later issued a service bulletin informing technicians to check for a possible defect. No recall was implemented as no safety issue was found.
Both Honda and the plaintiffs reached a preliminary settlement earlier this month, and a final fairness hearing is set for March 21, 2014. The automaker has extended the powertrain limited warranty to eight years for the affected vehicles, and agreed not to oppose counsel attorney fees that are less than $800,000. Honda has declined to comment on the settlement until the final hearing is completed.
This is the second major class-action lawsuit Honda has faced in recent years, with the last one concerning its Integrated Motor Assist hybrid battery system not living up to the expectations of its customers in previous-generation Civic Hybrid models.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)