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GM Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over Transmission Problems That May Cause “Shaking, Jerking”

General Motors faces a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of car owners who allege the automobile manufacturer hid information about the risk of problems with vehicle transmissions, which may cause vehicles to jerk, shake, buck or otherwise harshly engage, increasing the risk of accidents.

The complaint (PDF) was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware on May 17, alleging the automaker had longstanding knowledge of safety defects related to the Hydra-Matic 8L90 and 8L45 transmission used in more than 16 different vehicle models, yet neglected to issue a safety recall to address the problem.

Plaintiffs indicate the transmissions had a design flaw that ultimately renders them defective, and requires replacement much sooner than the anticipated lifespan.

According to the lawsuit, the transmissions are prone to internal issues which may cause the torque converter and hydraulic systems to experience excess internal friction due to an improper design. Metal shavings may enter and circulate throughout the transmission, escalating repairs on the torque converter and transmission that the consumer would be responsible for paying when the vehicle went out of manufacturer warranty.

General Motors is alleged to have known about the transmissions problems, which may cause abnormal wearing, sudden acceleration, delay in downshifts, and difficulty or delay in stopping a vehicle.

The Hydra-Matic 8L90 and 8L45 transmission defect is believed to cause the vehicles to lurch forward, cause sudden loss of forward propulsion and significant delays in accelerating, posing safety hazards to drivers, occupants and other vehicles or pedestrians due to the inability for the driver to control the vehicle’s speed, acceleration and deceleration.

The complaint indicates General Motor’s efforts to address the issues have been inadequate, despite continuous complaints being received by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and its own internal records. Rather than recalling the vehicles and redesigning the defective components, General Motors has offered insufficient software updates, parts replacements and other minor remedies that have failed to resolve the defects, according to the lawsuit.

Plaintiffs warn that consumers with the impacted vehicles will ultimately be responsible for paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to replace the transmission and related components, leaving General Motors “unjustly enriched” at the consumer’s expense.

Vehicles installed with the affected transmissions include the 2015 through 2019 Chevrolet Silverado, 2017 through 2019 Chevrolet Colorado, 2015through 2019 Chevrolet Corvette, 2016 through 2019 Chevrolet Camaro, 2015 through 2019 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV, 2016 through 2019 Cadillac ATS, ATS-V, CTS, CT6, and CTS-V, 2015 through 2019 GMC Sierra, Yukon, and Yukon XL, and Yukon Denali XL, and the 2017 through 2019 GMC Canyon.

Plaintiffs are seeking class action status so that anyone similarly situated may be compensated for alleged unfair and deceptive practices by General Motors.

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Image via Linda Parton / Shutterstock.com

22 comments

  1. Robert Reply

    Transmission down shifts hard!!

  2. Richard Reply

    I have been to the Chevy dealer four times for this issue. Every time it was a different reason, first Tran fluid need to be flushed, then it was the solenoids, then another part malfunctioning. The last time I when to the dealership for this issue, I informed them that I’ve been in almost in forty accident over this problem, some in which my children in the car. The tech then told me that GM was aware of the issue, but has no resolution for this problem and that there was nothing my family or I could do. So then, I thought I’ll trade it in and get something without that type of transmissions. I then went to get my truck appraised for trading in, the manager and sales person both informed me that due to my transmission problems, the value of the vehicle is substantially low then what it should have been. I was told that I would have to roll nearly twenty thousand dollars over into a new payment. So I did the only thing I could do, I walk out and left with my truck. This was at Rick Hendricks Chevrolet, my wife and I have bought five vehicles from them in the past ten year I’ve been stationed at Little Creek Navy base.

  3. Brian Reply

    Bought a 2017 GMC Canyon in Feb of that year. At the 32kmi mark I reported the shudder.. it was thought to be a flat spot in a tire which was due to be replaced. Did so problem went away temporarily.. have reported the shudder the last 3 oil changes usually with the tech could not duplicate the problem in house..until today when I requested the tech to drive it..on a highway keeping a steady pace and watching the RPMs between 1300rpm and 2200rpm it rattles off and on with no pattern. It’s currently going back in on Thursday for a tranny breakdown. The vehical now has 67k on it.. Like many have said on forums it seems like there has been a constant stall on addressing the issue until the problem is out of warrentee. Then it becomes the owners costly mistake. BBW- GMs initial power train only goes to 60k..luckily I purchased the extended warranty that took it to 100k. I wonder how we can be added to the class action suit?? Anyone know??

  4. Sandra Reply

    What about the 2012. Why are we not included we have the same trouble after having the issues fix and not it returns. What about us. Please help

  5. Barbara Reply

    I, too had the same problem, my Terrain GMC 2012 jerks Shaking and jerking while driving.. I, remember few years back it jerk so hard it cut off on me while in traffic on 95 I had my grandchild with me at the time.. it was the scariest thing.. I took it to the Gmc and of course they couldn’t find nothing wrong,, I, been hearing clicking sounds for years and decided to take it in the Gmc dealer kept it over night strip under the hood where the motor and they again couldn’t find nothing wrong..it’s still make that noise right today with the jerking now and then..it takes seconds to be up to speed also

  6. william Reply

    2016 Silverado 1500 crew cab. Trans went. GM won’t talk to me about it. 101000 miles

  7. Sherri Reply

    I had a 2010 equinox that the transmission completely broke down in May of 2015. With less than 70,000 miles on it. I expected some assistance from General Motors which they declined to do. This came 1 month after my son passed away after a year long battle with cancer. I did not and could come up with the $4000 plus required to repair. Had the car 3 years and it was well maintained. As much as I love the Eqinox model I refused to buy any more General Motors vehicles.

  8. James Reply

    Well I have 2017 Sierra 1500 long bed Denali. I have loved it until about a year ago it started to bang shift from 2 to third intermittently and then about 6 mos ago developed the dreaded shutter at highway speeds. I finally found time to get it to dealer at 61000 miles. They told me it was a common problem and to change transmission fluid for $500! 40,000 miles early , I complained and GM paid all but $100. Well it still bang shifts on occasion but so far shutter is gone. Concerned about for how long. I want a 2020 w the new 10 speed tranny but am finding out this problem has reduced value of truck substantially- very disgusted.

  9. Ryan Reply

    I have a 2013 GMC Acadia Denali and mine started shuddering about 9 months ago.. Not too much longer after my warranty expired. I think this issue is a lot larger than we are being told with more vehicles.

  10. Dallas Reply

    I have a 2019 Sierra purchased 2 months ago and had this problem of extreme jerking when slowing down and accelerating. The problem has started since I bought it. I want to join the class action lawsuit.

  11. paulo Reply

    i have chevy colorado 2016 and same problem, transmission jerking dont know what to do

  12. David Reply

    How do I join or at least talk to a attorney about this?

  13. Jeremy Reply

    My family has always owned gm trucks . Never had any problems . Two hundred thousand miles no problems . I bought a 2015 Silverado with 4500 miles two years ago . Transmission was junk 2 week bought it . Shift hard at first than vibration . It got so bad was afraid to drive it. So I had to drive my 2007 Chevy Silverado 5 spd with 230000 miles to work everyday and my 78 half ton still turn key and smooth drive line no vibration both vehicles together cheaper than transmission to fix 2015. Sad 1500 dollar truck drives better and more reliable than 35000 dollar truck . Just complete scam . So I to trade it in because you can’t sale junk so I have to eat 6500 dollar roll over fell like they should be responsible

  14. Donna Reply

    I have a 2018 Chevy Colorado ZR2 which has had transmission problems within the first few months. They flushed it and it came right back a couple thousand miles later. It hesitates, jolts forward, falls out of fear, shifts all over the place at low speeds….it has a mind of its own…all this on top of electrical problems….shame on GM for pulling a fast one on the consumer….karma

  15. Matt Reply

    We have issues with the shaking and jerking on tour 2016 GM Acadia. Started at about 55,000 miles. We have been to the dealers a few times. Replaced sensors to up to $1000. Last time told us a wheel weight fell off and that was the issue. Pretty scary.

  16. David Reply

    My 2015 GMC Sierra with the 6 speed transmission has been in and out of the Sellers Buick GMC dealer for the transmission not shifting, stalling and shacking when pulling into an intersection or going around corners. My wife had her scare with this and will not drive the truck anymore. We both feel it is not a safe vehicle when driving into traffic and the vehicle stalls on you. The truck is still in the shop and they are shooting from the hip on what to do next. They are telling me that GM has nothing on this issue. But if you search the internet, it’s all over and GM does not want to do anything about it.

  17. Tommy Reply

    I bought new 2017 Silverado in May 2016. The transmission began down shifting hard just over 60k miles same time warranty went out. Transmission began surging at 94500 miles. Within 2 days forward motion stopped. Had to make hefty spend to replace with rebuilt transmission.

  18. Ilya Reply

    I have 2017 Yukon SLT. Was at the dealership with different problem 4 times and I think it is linked to transmission problem. Some times SUV makes exhaust like noise and looses power. Now it shakes and kicks under load. It feels and sounds like torque converter. Dealer as always says ” IT IS NORMAL”…I don’t think its “normal” on over $60K SUV.

  19. Gerald A Reply

    I own a 2016 Chevrolet Corvette with an 8L90 8 speed automatic transmission and have the same issues of hard shifting, shuddering and the like as reported by the other commentators. I have had it to the dealer twice for repairs. I would like to be included in the class action, if granted, so that my rights under the lemon law are protected and that im protected from costly out of pocket repairs when GM knowingly installed a defective transmission into my vehicle.

  20. Stephanie Reply

    Have have a 2017 Corvette, automatic, and been to the dealership 3 times in the past 3 months. Every time they cannot find anything and no jerking. They changed the transmission fluid, they change the differential fluid, and this time nothing… my car is jerking hard, mainly when coming to a stop and taking off. Usually jerking happens between first to third gear. They dealership said the the shaking is what a Corvette does. The car downshifts hard as well.. this jerking feels as if someone hit me from the back.. 2 weeks ago, the car RPMs went way high and did not go anywhere. In that same week I was on the freeway, during traffic time, I lifted my foot off the gas petal and let it slow down, during the slow down it jerked hard… something is wrong here.

  21. Joseph Reply

    I’ve owned my truck for just a few months now, been dropped off now 2 different times for transmission shifting before my warranty ran out to make sure everything was okay. Was appointed to that yes it has a problem but no it wont be fixed and I was handed a bulletin. Now after taking up with GM customer service about the issue I was pushed back with no answers till my warranty ran out. Now the truck is at a transmission shop getting work done soon.

  22. Brenda Reply

    2007 Tahoe after warranty ran out lights came on shaking, throttled control, transmission , I could go on n on I’ve call GM Corp some years back n nothing no recall passenger airbag never been replaced call Felix Chevy they call me on never hear back.yes ineed people to know GM is not right

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