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 |  Nov 12 2010, 9:56 AM

The Windstar is proving to be a small nightmare for the folks at Ford and for anyone who happens to own one. First NHTSA was investigating the minivan for possible rear axle failure, then an official recall was issued. Then Ford announced it would go so far as to buy back the cars, while offering to cover the cost of a rental car for those who opted to get the axle fixed.

While that sounds like a reasonable solution, it hasn’t been and is costing Ford, its dealers and Windstar owners plenty of money. A recent article by Automotive News outlined how many dealers are now having to find space for dozens of Windstars on their back lots as a fix for the problem may take several months. Owners are reluctant to take the buyout at Kelly Blue Book value, as the older minivans are worth more to the owners than they are on a retail lot.

According to several reports Ford is offering to cover $38 dollars a day to cover rental costs, which could put Ford out by as much as $2,000 per car. And with the recall notice being issued for 575,000 vehicles, the total could be in the millions.

The cost to owners is varied. A long list of replies to past articles on this topic on AutoGuide include complaints about unequal service from dealers. Some respondents mentioned having to pay the tax on their rental car price, while others had to pay for specific insurance on the rental vehicle. Several replies include complaints that their dealer wasn’t able to get them into a reasonably sized vehicle, while others had to pay extra to get into anything larger than a Fusion.

And as bad as this situation seems it’s likely to get worse for owners as NHTSA is currently investigating a rusting front subframe issue with the vans, and as owners continue to return their vehicles for recall service for the axle issue, numerous complaints have begun to pile up about the subframe, indicating a recall isn’t far off.