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