Did I buy a lemon?

chevrolet
avalanche

#1

I own a 2008 Chevy Avalanche. Just recently I was driving it and a warning light appeared saying “LOW OIL STOP CAR” or something like that. Anyway, I drove to my mechanic right away and long story short it needed the engine rebuilt. Luckily it is still under warranty. The mechanic said all Chevy trucks with the ability to switch from V8 to V4 are doing this. He also told me it will happen again because GM has yet to find a solution to this problem. My question is, did I buy a lemon? What should I do? The repair is $4,000.00 without warranty.


#2

Your mechanic may be correct in what he is reporting, but I am disturbed by what may well have been an omission on your part, namely–personally checking the oil.

How often do you pull the dipstick to check your oil?
If you are one of those people who rarely do it, then you are inviting disaster.
Additionally, by driving to the mechanic, rather than adding oil as soon as you pulled to the side of the road, you likely increased the amount of engine damage.

I don’t know exactly what the warning message on your dashboard stated, but I am pretty sure that it didn’t say “Low oil–continue to drive”. STOP CAR means that you should stop the car as rapidly as you can do so safely, and then shut down the engine until the nature of the problem is determined and hopefully corrected. If that means getting a tow truck, so be it. Towing is far cheaper than replacing an engine.

Warranties are wonderful–while they last.
Within a year or so, your warranty will be over, more than likely.
Unless you get into the habit of personally checking your oil every couple of weeks, this type of problem will be paid out of your wallet if it happens again.

And, begin to take warning lights seriously. If you see a warning light that has anything to do with oil level, oil pressure, or engine temperature, bear in mind that continuing to drive the truck will result in very expensive damage.


#3

I would keep some oil in the back. NEVER keep driving when a light comes on…NEVER


#4

Well, in order too keep a long story short I left out a lot of facts. My oil gets changed and checked regularly. I have it changed every 3,000 miles, even though my mechanic told me it could go 6,000. I was less than a mile from my mechanic when this happened. If I had put oil in it or not it would have had the same outcome. The mechanic told me he has rebuilt an engine twice on another '08 Avalanche and my friend who owns a '08 Silverado had the same exact problem. I am not the brightest bulb in the box when it comes to vehicles but I did not neglect my vehicle to the point where it was burning oil. I am not sure but I didn’t think it was normal for an 2 year old vehicle to burn oil. I shouldn’t have to keep spare oil in my vehicle. So, It was not my fault this happened! If it was, would GM have footed the bill???


#5

Regularly has different meanings to different people.
How many months does it take you to accumulate 3,000 miles?
When was the last time that you did personally check the dipstick?

I am not trying to be accusatory, but the fact remains that it would be highly unusual for the level of oil in your crankcase to go from full to dangerously low in a very brief period of time, unless you had a hole in the oil pan or if you had catastrophic failure of an internal component.

Even if the engine was burning oil excessively (relative to its being a very new engine), it would likely take many weeks for the level to fall that low. It is simply a case of being your own best friend, rather than being your own worst enemy, if you get into the habit of pulling the dipstick every couple of weeks.

I’m very glad for you that this expensive repair job was covered under warranty.
Can you find out exactly what the diagnosis is, regarding the loss of this much oil from the crankcase?
Can you post that diagnosis for us?

I am just trying to point out what you need to do with this engine and the engine of every other vehicle that you will drive in your lifetime, if you want to avoid bearing this type of expense once the warranty is over. There is no substitute for spending a few minutes under the hood every couple of weeks, checking all of your fluid levels.


#6

Okay, according to my boyfriend, who is smarter with vehicles and understood my mechanic, the rings stuck to the pistons allowing oil to get into the combustion chamber and burn. Was this preventable on my part?


#7

Rings that are stuck would seem to suggest oil change intervals that were too long, thus allowing sludge to build up in the engine. However, I could be wrong.

How many months does it take you to accumulate 3,000 miles?
What percentage of those 3,000 miles are done in short-trip, local driving?
When was the last time that you, or your boyfriend, or your mechanic, or a friend, checked the dipstick?


#8

Although I would agree that the OP should have been more attentive to the oil, if the oil was changed at 3,000 mile intervals the manufacturer should take full responsibility for the damage. It is outrageous that the engine in a relatively new vehicle could burn enough oil between changes to cause catastrophic failure. And to add insult to injury, with all the electronic gimmicks available there were no advance warnings of a low oil condition.


#9

“if the oil was changed at 3,000 mile intervals the manufacturer should take full responsibility for the damage.”

Maybe yes, maybe no.

We still don’t know how long it takes the OP to accumulate those 3k miles between changes.
It is possible that this truck needed to be maintained according to the Severe Service maintenance schedule. Until the OP answers the questions that I have posed–twice–we really don’t know as much of the fact pattern as we need to know.


#10

VDC, I wonder if the prior oil change was done by one of the fast lube places.


#11

There were no warnings what so ever. It was fine in the morning when I drove it to work, it was on my way home when it happened. I want to know what to do because this is going to happen again and again and again. They rebuilt the engine with the same exact parts that failed. It wasn’t burning oil because I was neglectful it was burning oil quickly because of bad parts!


#12

No, GM certified. It is the car dealership I purchased it from.


#13

Perhaps the computer can be spoofed so the engine stays in the 8 cylinder operating mode…In this case, there may be some benefit to using synthetic oil and changing it every 4500 miles to prevent the stuck ring problem…


#14

I don’t know 3 months maybe? Mostly local, and the dipstick has been checked by my boyfriend but I don’t know how many times. If it is my fault why would the mechanic blame GM? He is a GM dealer and relies on my business.


#15

We asked, the engine can not be made to stay in 8 cylinders. Thank you for finally giving me a straight answer! I will ask about the synthetic oil!


#16

I won’t elaborate on the advice you’ve been given but whenever you get a red oil pressure lamp, warning indicator telling you to stop the car, etc. this does not mean driving to your mechanic right away.

It means stopping instantly, leaving the vehicle on the side of the road, and resorting to walking if need be.
Maybe this damage occurred between the time the lamp appeared and you arrived at the mechanic’s shop; which was ? miles.


#17

It is funny how people are only reading certain parts of my statement. First off I was less than a mile from the mechanic. Secondly, this is happening to numerous Chevy trucks with the V8 to V4 option. I was just asking what I should do because I was told by a GM certified mechanic that this problem would happen again in the future. Never once did he yell at me for driving a block down the road or for not checking my oil enough! I know of 2 other people that this exact same thing happened to. Everyone is so hung up on me driving it a block after it happened to my mechanic and whether or not I checked the oil everyday before getting in it. Just forget about it no one is listening.


#18

The warranty is far from over. The drivetrain on a 2008 Avalanche has a 5 year, 100,000 mile guarantee. You are probably less than half-way through it. If it happens again at about the same interval, you will have the engine replaced under warranty. You have 2 options: keep it or sell it. Since it is a new engine, you have a lot of time to consider it. One possibility is to opt for an engine that does not use cylinder shut down if it is available and you can still do it.