Ford Windstar Recalled for Rear Axles That Can Snap; 575,000 Vehicles Affected

Ford Windstar Recalled for Rear Axles That Can Snap; 575,000 Vehicles Affected

Ford has officially announced a recall for the Windstar minivan after a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation confirmed the rear axles on the cars can snap. The recall affects 1998 to 2003 model year models (a total of 575,000) in 21 cold-weather U.S. states and all of Canada.

The issue is specific to cold weather vehicles as corrosion from salt and rust could lead to a fracture in the axle.

NHTSA began the investigation in May of this year after 234 reports of fractured or snapped axles had been reported. Since then the number of complaints has risen to 950.

Owners are asked to contact their local Ford or Lincoln-Mercury dealership to have their vehicle inspected. If a crack is detected the axle will be replaced. If no crack is detected, owners will be asked to drive the vehicle until a reinforcement bracket is available.

States where vehicles are affected include: Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

[Source: Reuters]

UPDATE: The Ford Windstar is now under investigation by NHTSA for rusting subframe issues. Click here to read the story.

  • Jesse

    Hi i work where we have fleet trucks. From 2005 to 2010 the f150 2 or 4wd have been snaping the axel tube where in connects to the diff and ford havent done anything about it but tell us 60,000 miles and they can help after that where on our own…Also a side note the ford throttle body as well no recalls yet eather…

  • Dave

    Ford sucks! I owned a 2000 Windstar and the rear axle broke while my wife was driving 75 mph on the Interstate. When this happened I called Ford and told them about the problem and their fix at the time was we have the part in stock and the price is $485. I will never own another Ford. I gave the van away and bought a Toyota. It pains me to say as a Union president I had to give away American made junk and buy a Japenese car that has been great. At least they’re asymbled in Kentucky, which is where I live. Ford can go screw themselves and take all the crap the make with them.

  • Jason

    I’m waiting for them to modify the recall from the brake switch that leaked into the ABS computer. Ours didn’t leak, but the computer is junk. It wasn’t leaking that causes the computer to fail, it is the case that didn’t allow for expansion in warm weather and the computer board warps and cracks the solder. Ours has been working on & off for 100,000 miles.
    I have noticed Ford is lousy with standing behind problems, but I don’t own anything else so the other manufacturers might be the same way. I’ve had good luck with my Fords for the most parts. Never had tranny problems on the Taurus (x8) we’ve owned and when I did blow a head gasket on a 3.8L it had 210,000 miles on it.

  • Nancy

    Do not wait another day to get your Windstar axle inspected. My 2001 Windstar SE Sport’s axle snapped clear in half while driving on a major highway at 55 mph during rush hour. I lost all control of the car, no brakes, no steering. Had my 14 year old kid with me. Total repair and towing charges exceeded $2000. My insurance company did not cover the repair; said it was normal wear and tear. This was very frightening and happened without warning. Get your axle inspected now. When it happened last May, I did contact Ford and the NTSB and NHTSA and see that they finally took the problem seriously. I took my car to a Ford dealer for an inspection of the repair I had done to make sure it was up to spec. Now they submitted my original receipts with the repair costs and am now waiting to see how much of my $2000 repair Ford will cover. I am the original owner. Purchased the vehicle brand new.

  • Mom of 2

    While i was leaving work yesterday, driving out the downhill driveway, my rear axle snapped clear in half. Thank goodness I hadn’t gotten on the road yet as my four year old son was in the car with me. I called for a tow and called my husband to let him know what happened. He didn’t believe me and thought I was crazy. Then he looked up info online and saw I was right. I immediately called our Ford Dealer to let them know I was having the van towed to them. The mechanic I spoke with let me know he has 3 Windstars waiting for repair with broken or cracked axles. They don’t expect the repairs to be completed until mid-Feb! I will have a car provided to me but right now the dealer is “out” of rentals. I plan on having them figure out an alternate ASAP as I need to get to and from work. At least the dealer didn’t blame me and admitted to the problem. Now I just need the rental issue cleared up.

  • Dave

    Some Windstar owners are reporting complications with dealerships and rentals. Our dealership and Fords have been cooperative enough. When the cracked axle was discovered I was leased a comparable replacement on the spot (Town and Country van)at no cost, no taxes. I did have to purchase extra auto insurance due to Michigan laws; expect that to be covered by Ford though. Individual experiences are varying greatly. If you have a Windstar, it is important that you get it inspected, this is a critical flaw that is very dangerous.

  • Jon

    I agree with Dave’s comment. My case is very similar. I have a rental vehicle (Dodge Grand Caravan) and it is at no cost to me. No insurance problem either. The dealer is maintaining my battery and tires every 2 weeks by starting and running the engine to charge the battery, and moving the vehicle in the lot so the tires don’t get flat spots in the cold MN winter months, until the repairs are done. I am satisfied, but do miss the windstar somewhat. It’s a 2003, and the dealer said there is no buyout option for that model year because of the residual value left in the vehicle. that’s understandable, and I don’t want to go looking for another van. This one has only 74,000 miles on it, and I have had the dealer maintain it consistently. good vehicle, just want it back as soon as possible, but dealing with driving a ‘Dodge’ OK so far!

  • moh

    any body know when ford going to have the parts fixed for my windstar , 99 , and is there an option like giving a leas car and with different coast .

    pleaSE HELP

  • Peter

    How can Ford be sure this doesn’t affect earlier models eg. 1995 – what changed in the design/manufacture?

  • Eddie Medina

    Iam so shocked at this I own a 2000 Ford Windstar, I travel to New York with my wife and 1 year old son and sometimes other family memebers. I received a letter from ford in the mail for the first time for a speed sensor. I took it to the shop here in Massacusetts where i live. That was replace but I dont understand why would ford recall for a speed sensor when this axle problem was more important look how that gentalman got killed just before getting his children. I wonder imagine me traveling at least 65 miles an hour on a highway coming back from new york with my wife and one year old son and all of a sudden this axile breaks. I give thanks to God nothing happened to me,wife and son. My deepest simpathys goes out to those who lost family members due to this. How do i have an assurancce that my windstar will be repaired right. Currently iam driving a rental and sometimes i still dont feel at ease due to driving a vehicle that is not mines namely the rental iam driving.

  • kandice robinson

    i have a 2000 ford windstar i bought from a guy not even a week ago and i have been having problems with my engine light and ABS light and air bag light are always on and they flicker at me and my odomitor goes up and back down then its steady for awhile then it starts going crazy again. this is the first i have heard of this and i have 3 kids that go with me everywhere i go and this is my daily driver if something like this is wrong with my van i will just have it totaled out and ill go buy something different thats safe for my kids.

  • Ldhall_10

    I have a 2000 windstar  and the battery was stolen .After replacing  it i could not start it .What do you suggest?

  • J Mack

    Push it off a cliff.

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