Motor Oil Sold Today May Be Worthless for Modern Car Engines

Sep 19, 2018

Is my motor oil obsolete and potentially dangerous for my car?

Breach of warranty attorneys represents consumers of products in claims against manufacturers and sellers when products fail to live up to express or implied warranties.

Express warranties are oral or written voluntary statements and promises by manufacturers about their products and their commitment to stand behind them. Two different implied warranties, on the other hand, are neither written nor spoken but are created by state law.

The implied warranty of merchantability is an implied promise that the product is fit to be sold. The implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose is an implied promise that a seller makes when a customer relies on the seller’s representation that a product is fit for a particular purpose.

Consumer protection laws are designed to protect consumers from sellers who breach these express or implied warranties. Breach of warranty claims often go hand-in-hand with dealer fraud cases within related to auto industry.

An interesting proposed class action lawsuit has been commenced by a plaintiff in Florida on behalf of consumers who bought XCEL motor oil to be used in vehicles manufactured after 1930.

The lawsuit reportedly doesn’t specifically say the plaintiff actually used the XCEL oil in his post-1930 vehicle or that his vehicle was damaged by said oil—it merely alleges that “he lost money on the bottle of oil” which he wouldn’t have bought if he’d have known the oil wasn’t made for his modern vehicle.

According to the lawsuit, the Amalie Oil Company produces and sells four types of motor oil at gas station chains and large retail stores despite the oil being “obsolete” and “worthless” for vehicles made after 1930.

With the exception of some super old classic cars that roll out for an occasional parade appearance, nearly every car on the road today was made after 1930.

The subject oil is allegedly a “base oil” that doesn’t have any additives or detergents in it which are allegedly needed to protect modern car engines. The plaintiff claims that a 2003 interview of a senior officer in the oil company contains an admission that the non-detergent oil is “not good for today’s engines” and that they still sell the cheaper oil to compete with other companies that do the same.

The plaintiff raises the following alleged issues about the front and back labeling on the product:

  • the front label omits important information regarding post-1930 vehicles
  • the front label does not admit additives are missing
  • the front label doesn’t warn consumers about risks of using non-detergent oil in post-1930 engines
  • the back label contains a small print caution but not adequate warnings
  • most consumers don’t read small print on back labels.

Is it reasonable for consumers to expect that motor oil sold in 2018 comes with an implied warranty that it’s fit for use in modern car engines?

It will be interesting to follow this lawsuit.

If you need assistance with a breach of warranty claim, a dealer fraud issue, or a Lemon law claim, the Law Offices of Timothy Abeel & Associates can help you. Depending on the type and nature of your claim, you may be entitled to a full refund of your down payment, trade-in, monthly payments and taxes, or a brand-new car or a cash settlement. Contact the office today for a free consultation.

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