GM to pay in coolant repair cases
WASHINGTON -- General Motors Corp. has agreed to pay as much as $800
each to millions of customers to settle lawsuits that it sold about 35
million vehicles with faulty coolant and engine parts.
The move announced by lawyers Wednesday would close one of the largest
product-liability lawsuits faced by a U.S. automaker. GM declined to say
how much it expected the settlement to cost, but the agreement gives
payments to customers even if they bought the vehicles used.
The suits stem from GM's use of Dex-Cool, a coolant it first introduced
in its vehicles in 1995 and sold in more than 35 million cars and trucks
between 1995 and 2004. About 14 federal and state lawsuits seeking
class-action status have been filed against GM over a variety of
problems in V6 engines linked to Dex-Cool.
Thousands of customers have complained of problems ranging from small
coolant leaks to complete radiator and engine failure. Court documents
show that GM has received tens of thousands of repair requests linked to
Dex-Cool and engine gaskets in the affected engines, and considered
recalls for some models.
Under the settlement approved by a California judge last week, people
who paid for Dex-Cool-related repairs on 3.1-, 3.4-, 3.8- or 4.3-liter
V6 engines within seven years or 150,000 miles are eligible for some
payment from GM. Repairs made within the first five years are eligible
for up to $400, while sixth-year repairs could receive $100 and
seventh-year repairs $50.
If the damage went beyond the engine's cooling systems -- as many
customers claimed -- GM is to reimburse them up to $800. The company
will also allow owners who made multiple repairs to apply for multiple
GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said the company settled the case because the
lawsuits were "time consuming and expensive." He said GM was unable to
estimate how many consumers might apply for payments.
As part of the settlement, GM is to pay $18 million in lawyers' fees and
expenses. The settlement covers 49 states, excluding Missouri, which has
an identical settlement authorized by a different court.
Owners and customers who have paid for Dex-Cool-related repairs have
until Oct. 27 to submit a claim. Further details of the settlement and
instructions for applying for payments are available at