West Palm Beach Police had to pull thirteen police cars off the streets due to engine failure. The cars in question are different models but with the same engine, which is specific to police cars.
West Palm Beach City Administrator Jeff Green said the cars affected are the Ford Taurus Interceptor and the Ford Explorer Interceptor with a 3.7-liter engine.
Representatives from Ford were in West Palm Beach to talk with city officials to figure out what the problem is.
“It’s kind of a big detective novel,” Green said. “We’re trying to work through and see what the answer is.”
Green said it started when two cars suddenly had their engines fail.
Officials pulled other cars and looked at them and saw similar problems, each time oil showing up on the air filter.
Green said since WPTV’s story aired, several agencies have contacted them, some of them reporting similar issues, others just wanting to get more information on what to look out for.
Green said the symptoms are silent.
“It doesn’t’ have an engine check light,” Green said. “There’s no manifest symptom of this issue unless you open up the car and look for it specifically.”
That’s what West Palm did.
Of its more than 150 cars in the fleet, officials brought 60 vehicles in for a closer checkup, all of which are less than 3-years-old.
More than half had been checked as of Friday afternoon, and thirteen of them had the same engine problems.
Green said at this point they’re 99 percent sure they can rule out sabotage.
Ford is taking some of the engines to Detroit to have them analyzed, which could take up to a month.
Both Ford and West Palm Beach are reaching out to other agencies across the country to see if this problem is widespread.
Contact 5 reached out to several agencies in South Florida. None of them reported similar problems. Many agencies said they don’t use Ford cars.
Fort Pierce PD said they had to replace the engine on one car, a 2016 Ford Explorer Interceptor.
It is too early to say if that is a related issue.