discusses the main issues with General Motors' 8-speed transmission.

The Problem with General Motors’ 8-Speed Transmission

Several lines of vehicles manufactured by General Motors (“GM”), manufacturer of brands such as Chevrolet, Cadillac, and GMC, were equipped with defective transmissions that presented safety issues to consumers and caused premature wear to the vehicles’ transmissions. Designated as the 8L90 or 8L45 eight-speed transmissions, the transmissions are found in a number of General Motors vehicles from model years 2015-2018. Vehicles equipped with these transmissions run the gamut from pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles, sedans, and sports cars. 

Models equipped with the faulty transmission include the following:

  • 2015-2019 Cadillac Escalade/Escalade ESV
  • 2016-2019 Cadillac ATS, ATS-V, CTS, CT6, and CTS –V
  • 2016-2019 Chevrolet Camaro
  • 2017-2019 Chevrolet Colorado
  • 2015-2019 Chevrolet Corvette
  • 2015-2019 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 2017-2019 GMC Canyon
  • 2015-2019 GMC Sierra
  • 2015-2019 GMC Yukon/Yukon XL
  • 2015-2019 GMC Yukon Denali XL

Drivers of vehicles equipped with the 8L90 or 8L45 8-speed transmissions regularly report difficulty in acceleration and deceleration, “followed by a significant shake, shudder, jerk, clunk, or ‘hard shift.’” Drivers also reported that the transmission “shift is sometimes so violent, they feel as though they have been hit by another vehicle.” Drivers have also described instances where the defective transmissions have represented safety hazards to nearby vehicles because of lurching caused by the defective transmissions. 

The defective 8L90 and 8L45 transmissions and the issues they present for operators of vehicles with which they are equipped present more than just negative safety implications. In addition to the discomfort and unease experienced by drivers of vehicles equipped with the 8L90 or 8L45 transmissions, the defects inherent in the 8L90 and 8L45 transmissions mechanically degrade the vehicle, causing premature wear and tear to the transmission components. 

According to a recently filed Class Action Complaint, GM documents show that by 2016, GM was aware that the defects in the transmissions caused metal shavings and debris to build up in the transmission pan.  According to the Complaint against General Motors, the defects tormenting the 8L90 and 8L45 transmissions were known to GM as early as October 2015. In a feeble effort to fix its transmissions, GM issued at least thirteen (13) Technical Service Bulletins (“TSBs”) to its authorized technicians instructing their service technicians on various Band-Aid fixes, such as recommending transmission fluid flushes or introducing of a new torque converter. One such TSB even recommended a second transmission fluid flush in the event a vehicle returned to a GM service facility in the event of a subsequent complaint of transmission shuddering.

The federal government also became aware of GM’s faulty 8-speed transmission. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) provides consumers a forum on its website to post complaints about their vehicles. Consumers with vehicles equipped with the 8L90 or 8L45 transmissions have logged dozens of complaints regarding the negative impact on these defective transmissions on the safety and value of these vehicles. Though GM was aware of these issues, they have done little of value to redress them.

Though the transmissions are covered by a 5 year/60,000-mile warranty, tragically GM allowed no monetary safety net for owners or lessees who experience the issues that commonly plague these transmissions after the warranty period has expired. In other words, owners or lessees of vehicles equipped with 8L90 or 8L45 transmissions will have to pay for repairs to their transmissions out-of-pocket. 

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you have purchased or leased a vehicle equipped with the 8L90 or 8L45 transmissions and have been hampered by the faulty transmission, the attorneys at CCA would love to help you. Please call us today to learn more about how CCA can assist you at no charge to you: (833) LEMON-FIRM.