Dollar General motor oil dangerous to modern cars, suit alleges

The label warns that the oil shouldn't be used in cars made after 1988

Chances are the car you drive isn't a 1988 model. If it is, you can stop reading, but if it isn't, pay attention.

A class action lawsuit charges that Dollar General is knowingly selling store-brand motor oil that's not safe to use in cars built after 1988. No one denies this. In fact, the discount chain admits in the fine print on the oil's label that it is not suitable for modern cars. 

The label on the back of DG Auto SAE 10W-30 and 10W-40 oils states that the products are “not suitable for use in most gasoline powered automotive engines built after 1988” and “may not provide adequate protection against build-up of engine sludge.”

Aggrieved consumers say no one sees the warning, which is in small print. 

In fact, a Houston man named Michael Deck sued Dollar General in 2015, saying that although the product has a disclaimer on its label, it "further disguises the obsolete and harmful nature" of its motor oils by placing them on shelves next to various other motor oils, such as PEAK, Pennzoil and Castrol, that are suitable for modern vehicles.

The latest lawsuit was filed on behalf of Wisconsin consumers in Green Bay federal court. It charges that the "entire line of DG Auto Obsolete Motor Oil Products is unsuitable for the modern-day vehicles driven by its customers, except that it is successfully deceiving a sufficient number of customers to make this fraudulent practice profitable and therefore worthwhile,” Courthouse News Service reported.

Previous complaints

While this may seem surprising, it's not really anythinig new. Dollar General began selling its line of company-branded motor oil in 2010, according to the complaint, and there have been frequent complaints, not to mention lawsuits, ever since. In June 2016, several lawsuits were transferred to a court in Missouri

The Wisconsin class is represented by John Blythin of Ademi & O’Reilly in Cudahy, Wis.

Editor's note:  This story is about a class-action lawsuit. If you are among the class of consumers described in the suit, you may eventually be eligible to participate in whatever compensation the court awards, if any. Unlike what many people think, you do not "join" a class action -- you are either in the class covered by the action or you are not. 

Often, consumers included in an award do not need to take any action, as the defendant is required to contact them directly. In other cases, the court and the attorneys who brought the case will issue instructions when the case is settled.

Please note that under our Privacy Policy, we cannot provide you with the names of other consumers who may be similarly affected. 

Please see our Class Action Guide for more information.

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