Is Dex-Cool To Blame For Chevy's Intake Manifold Failure?

Posted on
Scott McCracken
#engine #lawsuit
An overly corroded engine bay. The hoses and pipes all showing significant wear.

Leaking coolant from a cracked intake manifold gasket is an extremely common problem on most GM vehicles made from the late 90s to the mid-2000s. Most experts agree that the problem stems from GM's "DexCool" coolant, which reacts with the intake manifold gasket, causing it to leak coolant.

DexCool Coolant and the Intake Manifold Gasket

Dex-Cool is a type of coolant that many Chevrolet owners claim is corrosive and eats up critical engine parts like the heater core, radiator and water pump.

Several class action lawsuits have been filed, both in the U.S. & Canada. However even statewide class action lawsuits have been running into trouble. State courts in Michigan and California already have rejected class action status for Dex-Cool lawsuits.

Replacing the intake manifold gasket usually costs between $700 - $1,000, mostly labor. GM has updated the material used in the intake manifold gasket so that it doesn't react with the Dex-Cool coolant as fast as the original gasket material. Currently there is no recall for the intake gasket, because it is not a safety issue (at least according to the NHTSA[1]).

Federal Judge Rejects Dex-Cool Class Action Lawsuit

The push for a national class action lawsuit against GM for problems related to their Dex-Cool coolant suffered a setback Friday, when a U.S. federal judge ruled that national class action status would be too complicated.

U.S. District Court Judge G. Patrick Murphy rejected the Dex-Cool class action by ruling that the magnitude of the class action, combined with the wide array of state laws involved, would make it impossible to cover all claims under one national class action. The decision can be appealed, but GM vehicle owners may ultimately be forced to pursue claims either in statewide class actions or as individual cases against General Motors.

The class action contends that in over 35 million GM vehicles manufactured from 1995 to 2004, GM's "Dex-Cool" coolant caused serious car problems such as plugged radiators from coolant sludge, as well as head gasket and intake gasket failure possibly resulting in engine damage. GM marketed Dex-Cool coolant as good for 150,000 miles or 5 years without needing to be flushed and replaced with new coolant.

The law firms involved are seeking national class action status to include plaintiffs from 47 U.S. states. A number of statewide class action lawsuits have been filed, although two of those have been rejected already in Michigan and California. Another class action goes to trial in Missouri in November 2007.

Dex-Cool Class Action Law Firms

  1. NHTSA stands for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ↩︎

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, here's a handful of things you can do to make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

  1. File Your Complaint is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.

    Add a Complaint
  2. Notify CAS

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.

    Notify The CAS
  3. Report a Safety Concern

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.

    Report to NHTSA