Honda oil dilution with gasoline class action settlement: where`s the benefit?

December 21, 2020

In early December the APA began receiving inquiries from consumers who had received a notice of a proposed class action settlement with Honda Canada concerning oil dilution (to correct a smell of raw gasoline when the engine is cold). Affected models are the 2017-2018 CR-V and the 2016-2018 Civic with the 1.5L turbo engine.

The settlement agreement filed in Ontario provides:

  • A one-year engine warranty extension for failures related to gasoline mixing with the oil.
  • Free towing for repairs related to the problem
  • Reimbursement of oil changes

Strangely, the offer is almost identical to a notice many CR-V and Civic owners received in November and December 2018 when Honda implemented a "Product Improvement" campaign to reduce gasoline mixing with the oil and improve performance of the heating system in winter. Nowhere in Honda`s owner notification sent in November 2018 is it indicated that the offer is pursuant to a class action, nor that consumers who accepted the product improvements Honda promised would be giving up their rights under the legal warranties available in their provinces. Honda Canada`s voluntary undertaking from 2018 appears to have morphed into a class action "agreement" with almost no enhancements.

The one-year warranty extension on the engine is the shortest the APA has ever seen from Honda to cover a potential manufacturer problem with a major component. Honda`s warranty extensions to cover major component failures normally run for eight to ten years after a vehicle is put on the road.

The proposal to pay towing charges appears to APA to be an empty offer, as towing is already provided under the Honda new vehicle warranty and is almost never required for this issue.

That leaves only the oil change refunds in the proposed settlement, which Honda had been paying but not on a universal basis. So, where`s the benefit?

Consumers who are already entitled to the product improvements under Honda`s voluntary program should opt out of the class action settlement. If you don`t, you will automatically be included in the settlement and give up the option to ask Honda for more than you already received in 2018. To do so, register on the class administrator`s website and ask to be excluded from the settlement. In the alternative, you can register an objection to the agreement if it does not address your concerns; the website explains how to do this.

The APA is currently surveying owners of the affected vehicles. Based on responses from the first 130 consumers surveyed, the APA can say with considerable certainty that if you park your 2017-2018 CR-V outdoors overnight and mostly use if for urban driving, there`s a good chance you`re unhappy with its cold weather performance. By accepting this settlement you aren`t getting any more benefit than in the offer Honda made to you two years ago (if you received the Product Improvement notice), and you are giving up the opportunity to ask Honda to do more forever.

The law firm representing consumers instructed the APA to have consumers contact them at McKenzie Lake directly for guidance. In a subsequent email, the firm explained that the deal is the same as one offered in the U.S. The APA thinks that because this is a cold weather problem, a repair that might work reasonably well in the Continental US may be unsatisfactory in Canada. Honda did not inform the law firm that the APA had written the automaker prior to the Canadian action being filed to report that owners were complaining about the cold weather performance of their vehicles. The APA wrote Honda again last year to report that some complaints persisted after the Product Improvement fix. For reasons the APA doesn`t fully understand yet, the firm appears not to have checked with vehicle owners on the efficacy of Honda`s solution.

The APA is hoping that if enough scrutiny is brought to bear, the law firm will ask Honda to improve their offer. Or perhaps the judge will ask the parties to re-open their deal. If you own a 2017-2020 Honda CR-V or 2016-2020 Honda Civic with a 1.5L turbo engine please complete the APA`s survey so we can better represent consumers. If you`re happy with the winter performance of your vehicle, the APA needs to hear from you too; your answers will help us develop a profile of how successful Honda`s solution is.




New Car Buying Service
APA’s new car buying service saves you time, money and hassles!
Used Car Buying Service
The APA recommends a network of trustworthy used car dealers in Toronto.

APA Lemon-Aid Reviews
Our expert staff can help you select the vehicle that best suits your needs.

Group Rate Insurance Program
APA has negotiated insurance discounts for members.

This content was featured in the APA Newsletter. Didn`t see us in your inbox? Subscribe today and keep up to date!