Police Cars Inspected for Steering Problems (Video)
Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger removed 324 vehicles from the police fleet for inspection. A defect had been uncovered that might cause the steering to fail. All the cars have been inspected and only a few were found to have the defect, according to a county spokesperson. Watch this video for more.
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The Montgomery County Department of General Services (DGS) and the Police Department have launched a proactive inspection of the police department’s 324 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor vehicles in response to the identification of a potential steering problem that could occur in 2005 through 2011 model years.
Since July 2012, two Montgomery County Police cruisers have been affected by a steering defect that had the potential to cause the steering to fail during normal operation of the vehicle. The first incident occurred in July, and the second occurred just last week. In both these incidents, no injury or collision was caused due to the steering deficiency.
After the second incident, the Department of General Services’ Division of Fleet Management Services identified a defect in the vehicle that could cause a steering failure and proactively contacted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Ford Motor Company to conduct a detailed mechanical investigation. After being briefed on this defect, Chief Tom Manger ordered all 324 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors in the Montgomery County Police Department fleet to be brought immediately to Fleet Management for inspection. These vehicles are not permitted to be used in patrol operations until the vehicles are cleared of any possible defect.
Of the 324 Crown Victorias ordered to be inspected, 303 of the vehicles are part of the marked cruiser fleet. Those 303 marked vehicles comprise approximately 33% of the police department’s fleet of marked vehicles. The department’s vehicle fleet also includes Dodge Chargers, Chevrolet Impalas, and Chevrolet Caprice vehicles.
During these inspections, normal police operations have not and will not be affected as officers assigned to drive Crown Victorias have doubled up to ride with officers whose vehicles were not part of the inspection process. Also, unassigned Crown Victorias were the first vehicles to be inspected and cleared. These cleared vehicles were made available for use by officers whose vehicles are in the inspection process.
Since Tuesday’s implementation of Fleet Management’s aggressive inspection process of the affected units, which included a 24-hour inspection and repair process, 172 vehicles have been inspected and 127 have been returned to service without issues. The inspection process is expected to be completed by Thursday, and the entire fleet of Crown Victoria vehicles should be back in service by Saturday.
This identified steering deficiency has prompted the County to reach out to neighboring Fleet Managers in the metropolitan area. At this time, no other cases involving this steering issue have been reported, and there is no manufacturer recall for Crown Victoria vehicles.