Millions of car owners use motor oil to keep their engines running smoothly, but buying the wrong oil can do more harm than good.
To many consumers, one brand of motor oil is much like any other brand. But according to a recent consumer class action lawsuit against Dollar General, the discount retailer has been taking advantage of this assumption by selling their own brand of motor oil at a much lower cost than other brands, but there’s a catch.
The fine print on the back of the bottle says the oil is not intended for use in cars made after 1988. Dollar General’s oil is marked as 10W-30 and stored on shelves right next to oil meant for newer vehicles, so many consumers assume there’s no real difference, other than the price. Because Dollar General’s brand is considerably cheaper, many consumers buy it thinking they can use the motor oil in any car, but that’s not actually the case.
Joe Wood, a plaintiff in one of the consumer lawsuits against Dollar General, says his car died after he started using Dollar General’s brand of motor oil.
Tom Glenn, the president of the Petroleum Quality Institute of America, said that he considers Dollar General’s motor oil to be obsolete, because it should only be used on cars 28 years or older. The class action consumer lawsuit likewise called the motor oil obsolete, but Dollar General objected to the use of that word, saying their oil can be used in the millions of cars that were made prior to 1988 that are still on the road.
The latest consumer lawsuit has been filed in Omaha, Nebraska, but Nebraska is just the most recent of many states in which Dollar General will have to face lawsuits over its motor oil. The class action lawsuit recently filed in Nebraska is hoping to get approval from the court to include all consumers who purchased Dollar General’s motor oil in the state of Nebraska.
Dollar General also stated that their motor oil adheres to their standards of quality and value, as well as all the requisite federal and state labeling requirements. It further stated that it intends to defend itself against the consumer lawsuits over the motor oil.
Meanwhile, the Petroleum Quality Institute of America has issued a warning to consumers that there are currently engine oils and transmission fluids on the market that can cause damage to their vehicles.
Although Dollar General’s 10W-40 has been the focus of the consumer lawsuits, Glenn says there’s another Dollar General product on the shelves that consumers need to be aware of: the SAE 30, which is meant for small engines, such as certain lawnmowers or air compressors. Nevertheless, Dollar General shelves it along with the automobile oils, where unsuspecting customers who don’t know any better might use it in their cars. The SAE 30 motor oil contains fine print on the back of the bottle that warns it is not meant to be used on engines made after 1930.
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