Ford Windstar Axle Recall Expanded as Mass. Man Killed in Accident

Ford Windstar Axle Recall Expanded as Mass. Man Killed in Accident

An investigation and eventually a recall on snapping rear axles on Ford’s Windstar minivan wasn’t enough to save the life of Sean Bowman of Massachussetts. A 28 year-old father of two and Coast Guard veteran, Bowman’s family received an official recall notice in the mail from Ford a week after the he had died in a crash behind the wheel of his Windstar – an accident his family alleges was the direct result of a rear axle that snapped while Bowman was on his way to community college.

Bowman’s family is considering legal action against Ford, stating that the severity of the recall demanded more immediate action. “This is not your average, everyday recall. This is your rear axle can break, you can lose control of your vehicle, your wheels can fall off,” Bowman’s wife told The Associated Press.

Ford says that it fulfilled its legal requirement by notifying customers with vehicles affected by the recall.

After the story of Bowman’s death broke, Ford announced it would expand the recall to an additional 37,000 Windstar minivans, bringing the recall total to 612,000. The initial recall was only for vans in certain colder states where it was deemed corrosion was a factor in the snapping axles. The expanded recall now includes all 2003 vehicles and also now encompasses the state of Utah.

The recall itself has been a significant problem for Ford, as new axles had to be manufactured, causing a long wait for owners. As a result, Ford offered to either pay for rental vehicles for customers with affected vehicles, or to even buy back the minivans. The latter choice is proving the more cost effective for Ford, with most of the vans now quite old and their value quite low. Some customers waiting for the repair have had their vehicles parked on Ford dealer lots for over four moths.

Ford may face increasing threats of legal action over this issue, as there is likely to be a high number of recalled vehicles on the road that remain unrepaired. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 70 percent of recalled vehicles are repaired within the first 18 months, however, that number is generally much lower when recalls are issued for older vehicles.

[Source: NPR]

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

  • Dave Fessler

    The Winstar has been a major problem since they started building them . I have a 1996 Windstar that did not get used too often since we had other vehicles that got better gas milage. But because it was getting older I started using it for my electrical buisness. This is when all the problems started first the head Gasket blew then The front coil springs broke. Both these items were on a recall the first was Fords and the second was An NHTSA safety recall. Ford refuses to honor these because the recalls were back to 2001. There are many more recalls that I so look forward too since they will not honor any of them. I want to junk this Windstar but if a vehicle runs when it goes to a junk yard They will sell this unit , I can’t let this go to anyone because of the problems i know they will have so I will hold on to it until it becomes junk . Ford you need to do better than Repair these or give them blue book wholesale.By the way I don’t own any Ford products because of this vehicle

  • Otis Howard

    Is it true the ford Windstar and the Ford Taurus shared pretty everything other then the body and the engine from the years of this same recall If you look at the recall for the front coil springs the Taurus had the same recall???

  • Evelyn Badger

    Does this recall on 2003 Windstars, include all states?

  • Gloria Flower

    I live in Edson Alberta , Canada and I own a 2001 Windstar. will this problem affect my vehicle and should I take it to a ford dealer and have it checked?

  • Colum Wood

    Absolutely. Have it checked right away.
    See the official recall notice article here

  • Hurrypotter

    Hi, I owned ford windstar 1998 model…I also received the official notice for recall. A took the my windstar to the ford dealer after I received the notice, so far everything ok and passed the recall inspection for rear axel…I don’t have any major problem on this ford windstar 1998…>>>Maryland State!



  • Jen

    well on the first comment, the recall for the front coil spring was nothing but a notice for extended warrenty, and if the coils do crack within a certain period of time then they are covered just like a normal warrenty. and i dont blame Ford, how are they to know that things like this are going to happen, plus i work at a Ford dealer and there are just some people that choose to not rush to get their car checked out and i dont belive that thats Ford fault. All cars have issues, just look at the Toyotas with the sticking throttles. and the recall only applies to the 1996-2003 windstars in these states: connecticut, delaware,District of columbia,illinios,indiana,lowa,kentucky, maine, maryland, massachusetts,michigan, missouri, new hampshire, new jersey, new york, ohio, pennsylvania,rhode island, utah, vermont, west virginia, and wisconsin.

  • Leslie

    Living in the midwest snow belt area my husband took our
    2000 Ford mini van in because of the recall we had received.
    In turned out the our vehicle indeed had sufficient rust the made it
    unsafe to drive. Ford would not let us have the van back, offered us a low cash settlement which we rejected and then asked us if we needed a loaner until it got fixed. We picked up the loaner free of charge and was told that our car was one of 67 others waiting to be fixed at this dealership and that Ford doesn’t have a supplier for the part.
    It could be until the end of the first quarter of next year or later until it gets repaired. We are enjoying a dependable car during the winter month’s. Thanks Ford.

  • WendyStar

    We are conducting research on the problem of broken and cracked axles in Ford Windstars from model years 1998 to 2003. You can read the results of some of our research by going to: If you have experienced this problem, and you have contacted Ford Motor Company or the dealership about it, we’d like to speak with you. You can contact us at:

  • Norm Sisson

    Unfortunately my 2003 Windstar has been quarantined until such time the new axles are available. In the meantime, opted to drive a rental vehicle offered by Ford that has a 3,000km /monthly limit.
    Would like to take Ford to small claims court to recover any costs associated with mileage overages but don’t know what address to list on the claim. Is it Ford Canada or Ford USA? In either case, what is the mailing address?? Hoping someone can set me straight.