Recall Alert: 1998-2003 Ford Windstar


Ford is recalling 462,750 Windstar minivans from the 1998 to 2003 model years due to a rear axle that can fracture over time when exposed to corrosive materials used on roads in cold-weather areas.
The corrosion and stress can lead to cracks that can result in a “complete fracture” of the rear axle, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If this happens while the van is driving, it could lead to a crash.
We found 10 complaints of completely cracked rear axles on NHTSA’s complaint website for just the 1998 model year. All were from 2009 or 2010, and a few mentioned mileage of 90,000 miles.
Ford will begin the recall on or before Sept. 27, and all service and parts will be covered free of charge if needed. Owners can contact Ford at 866-436-7332 or NHTSA’s hot line at 888-327-4236.

By David Thomas | August 27, 2010 | Comments (64)
Tags: Ford, Recalls



This shouldn't affect too many people because most of these vans are probably in the junk yard.


To think they had to re tool up for a new run of rear axles.Probably would have been cheaper to offer massive discounts on a new Edge or Flex instead.

Mr. F

BUY US made.


Hey J - does the "J" stand for jerk!


You are probably just mad because you bought a Windstar instead of a Sienna, and the transmission probably went out on the Windstar like almost all of them made.



Hey - does the Ford stand for F--ker Only Rolls Downhills!

John Spada

I don't know what all these snide remarks are about. My 03 windstar still runs like a charm after 162,000 cliks, only routine maintanance.


I own a Windstar in which the rear axle broke into two pieces while I was driving down the road. Ford should be responsible for the repairs to these models as it is a defect in the manufacture and a danger to those people who not only own one but anyone on the road - including you. Think about exactly who purchases these vehicle - usually people who have children. Who do you work for "J" - Ford?


Why do people only make fun of Ford's recalls? Maybe its becuase Ford's the most reliable, have more 5* safety tests and that Ford actually cares for its costumers?


The trans in our Windstar went at 70,000 miles that were just about all highway. I paid $2500 to get it fixed and promptly traded it in on a Honda Ody. Our first Ody went 155K with zero issues and we are now on our second. We wouldn't buy another American minivan regardless of how big the rebate is.

Angela Slate

I just had my 01 Windstar inspected and it cannot be driven. They gave me a rental car for at least 3 months, if not longer. I have to pay the taxes each day, though. It's going to add up, but I love my Windstar. It's been a great van, and very reliable. I'm in Indiana.


Just had my 2003 Windstar inspected and it has a cracked axle. Just purchased it 6 months ago from a used car dealer and I am wondering if they sold it to me that way!! It has already been on a cross-country road trip so I feel fortunate nothing happened. Dealer tells me they don't know when parts will be available. Going to pick up a rental later today, if they have one -- they say they don't have any and I am on a reservation list! We'll see about that! I am in Michigan.


I was curious to see if people are trying to sell Windstars. A quick check of Craigslist in my area showed a whole bunch -- at least 20 -- for sale by owner and dealers right now!! I wonder how many of them have been inspected and cleared as safe for driving.

Dan Symms

Ford is making a huge mistake and kissing about 50,000 loyal customers goodbye. Ford is willing to pay about $3500 in rental fees for junky compact cars, then about $750 to fix the recalled cars in March but they are not willing to pay more than about $3000 to buyout the bad cars???? It makes no sense. Offer a fair $5000 and keep your customers (many like me will put the $5000 right into another Ford vehile). I am a loyal Ford customer who appreciated that they avoided bankruptcy and bailouts but this situation makes me again think that American Manufactuters are idiots. Take the money that you are throwing at Enterprise's junky rentals and save your customer base.


I had a 99 windstar.. rear axle split last week. Towed it to the dealer and Ford offered us a buy-out. Right now we are in an Explorer rental which (thanks to the great people at Avis) I only have to pay the tax on until the buyout paperwork clears. What I dont understand is how is it possible for used dealers to still be selling these vans??? BTW, the new parts will not be in until Feb/March of '11.


I had both the axesl and fire issue recalls checked last week on my 1999 model in NJ. Rear axel is cracked and they gave me a nice rental but really no concrete time table. My vehicle is worth way more to me that the book value especially since I put a few grand into it recently. They have yet to offer me any $ but if it is under 5k they can keep it and I will drive their rental until they fix mine.

Joseph. E. David

I am driving a rental car Thankyou FORD
I love my 2000 windstar and feel the money offered as a buyout is not enuff am happy Ford
Stands good for their products


Got the bad news today on my 2001 Windstar. Just turned 150,000 miles and we've put money in along the way as it's been reliable and like a family friend. No way will I accept a paltry sum, Ford's logic here doesn't seem, well, logical! Enterprise couldn't be happier, I only hope I get a decent-sized vehicle tomorrow, they won't tell me until I get there :(


180,000 mi very little work done over 11 years. Not a speck of rust. Looks almost new. Yeah Ford. Worried about this rental thing though. I have four kids! No compact for me!


Just had my 2003 recall inspection-has a cracked axle-they are only offering me a toyota corella-trying squeezing a family in that. I am so done with Ford.

R Dixon

I have a 2002 Windstar. In June '10, driving on freeway at 50 mph rear axle
broke, by the grace of God I was able to make it to center lane. I was scared out of my mind. I did not drive van again. Even after mechanic assured me the replacement axle had been welded also as a precaution. YEAH RIGHT I told my husband. I bought a used Chrysler to settle my nerves. 3 months later we get the recall letter.My husband and mechanic accused me of running over something.You kniw blame it on the women drivers. Thank You Ford


Ford is killing the little guy with a family who has no money. This sucks. I just put new tires on now this. Should have bought a Honda.


Our 1999 Windstar axle cracked over the summer - friend fixed/welded in emergency, then at a shop it had cracked again. Finally the recall came and they gave us Enterprise rental til 1/8 when the part is supposed to be in. Heard no word about paying taxes or anything. They gave us a Ford Edge til then, not a crap car, it's really nice. The buyout won't work for us either - we can't take afford a car loan and $3000 is not enough to buy anything. Not sure what will happen next, but I love the Edge for now!


Why the $%^& isn't Nebraska included on the recall list?? We certainly get more snow than Kentucky!!


This whole thing sucks, On the bright side my rental car is a 2011 Impala LTZ. This car is absolutely amazing to drive and is about as close as I will ever be to a new car. Thanks Ford.


Once I received the letter from Ford on the recall issue about the rear axle, I took the car in to my local Ford Dealer. They gave me a loaner,(Escape); while they are in the process of checking my 2003 Windstar out. I might add that they said this could take until mid January until I got my van back. I was promised by the service dept that the cars that are recalled would be looked after. We were told that the car would be turned on every day to keep sure the battery stays good and that the vehicle would be run around the block once a week. Since the van has been in their hands, I have noted that the car has not been driven at all in over 3 weeks. I just went to check it out this weekend and found that THE NEW BATTERY THAT I JUST BOUGHT A MONTH AGE WAS DEAD. The rear brakes had a complete overhaul as well and my total bill was over $800.00. On one of my visits to the van, I was told by one of the Ford sales reps that he would give me $3,000.00 for it. My car is in better shape than some NEW cars on the road ans I told him that Ford can FIX it as they should be responsable for the fact that this was a design flaw that Ford had to be aware of when they made all these vans. At this point, I will tell ford that if you want to buy back my van, PAY ME WHAT i PAID FOR IT AND MAYBY I MIGHT THINK ABOUT BUYING ANOTHER FORD. On the off chance Ford does not take the high road on this recall, I will drop them like a broken axle and go to another make in a heart beat. SHAME ON YOU, FORD: IF YOU DO NOT DO THE RIGHT THING. I love my van and want it fixed with a new axle. OR....A FULL REFUND IN THE AMOUNT THAT I PAID WHEN I BOUGHT IT, IT'S YOUR MOVE.

Mardi Dawson

I helped my daughter get her family Windstar. What a disappointment when the axle broke. Thank God my family lived to tell about the ordeal.
There must be something Windstar owner's can do to get a better deal from Ford?


Just found out that my 2003 windstar is on the recall list for the AXLE. Does anyone know how they are estimating value in these. My daughter just damaged the tailgate this weekend. Trying to decide if i invest in a new tailgate to get the most $$$ from FORD in the event they make an offer or just let it ride. $800 to $1000 to fix gate. Van has approximately 134,000 miles.

Mom of 4 and more

I am freaking out kinda. I got my notice on the 23rd and yeah right would the dealership even answer the phone by the time I opened the mail at 3:30 pm. Its now Sunday and I sat on pins and needles when we drove just 9 miles away to go to a family christmas. The horror stories I am reading on this site and others have me paranoid. I don't make enough money to pay the rental sales taxes and my Windstar is not quiet yet paid off and offering to buy the cars back at lower than $3K is like stealing it from me. The people like myself are going to get really screwed here. I don't have the money to get a whole new car loan nor do I want a new one, I am so close to paying this off I was looking forward to the extra money in my budget so I could pay other bills. Not to mention this is our only vehicle and we have 4 children. Not looking forward to this nightmare!!!


is Hawaii on the list?


We have a 2003 and a family of 11!!!!!


mike - I would not put any money into fixing the tailgate on your van! The buy back offers have only been on the older models, 98-00, I believe. I have a 2003 also and my van has been sitting at a dealer since the end of October. If they do extend the buy back offers to the rest of us, it appears Ford is going by kelly blue book values. You will not recover the money you put into fixing that tailgate!

Mom of 4 - you do not have to pay the sales tax -- I flat out told Enterprise that Ford has said they are covering the rental in full -- I even have an email from someone at Ford who verified this -- Enterprise asked not further questions and did not even ask to see the email. I have been in my rental since the end of October and have not had to pay the sales tax.


Our 2003 Is a world of issues, everythings breaking on it, but for some reason the axel is not broken, so they let us use it still while they order new one. it's actualy been broken most the winter now so it's spent most it's time on a tow truck or parked somewhere waiting to be fixed lol and we can't get rid of it till it's paid off because we bought a new house. Great looking van but I feel it was made in a toy factory

Our Windstar SEL is a 1999 with 75K on it and in excellent condition. The engine cradle (subframe) has already been replaced by my husband 1 year ago when he noticed it was driving weird and checked it out himself. Now I am hearing that there may be a recall on the subframes....NICE! Anyhow, I live in MA and our van has been sitting in the lot of a local dealer since 10/17/2010. DH drove it in and was told he could not drive it out. Ford is paying (in full) for a rental but it is no van, or even the size of our van. Interestingly enough, it is a 2010 Fusion, and I already drive a 2011 Fusion. The van is a 7 passenger and fit my kids hockey equipment without a tight squeeze - the Fusion, def. not the same amount of room. Anyhow, Ford offered to purchase our vehicle for $2995. NOT !!! There is no way we can purchase another 7 passenger vehicle in the condition ours is in (minus the bum axle) for under $3000. We declined and received a call today (1/6/2011) from the dealership saying the parts have a ETA of another 3-4 weeks. I seriously doubt the dealership is turning our van on and driving it around the sales yard daily - or even weekly. My DH will refuse a repaired van if the (recently replaced) brakes are coated in rust from sitting in the yard for 3+ months. What a pain !!!

Edited to add...
The buy out offer that we declined arrived within a week (via Fedex) from when we turned in the van. Then to add insult to injury, the head salesman called a few weeks later to tell me that he could have me in a New Ford Focus for practically 50% off. He did some crazy math with the offer of $2995, $2500 off from Ford as an incentive to purchase a new car, and another $2000 off rebate. HA! I would hardly put a 7 pass. van in the same car class as a 4 passenger mini-car. LOL


Called my dealer to find out if they have been starting my van, which has been there since the end of October, and the service guy was almost laughing at me, saying, no, it hasn't been started or moved since it was parked there. Nice, huh? I asked what the dealer and/or Ford would be doing to make sure the van is running good once the axle is replaced and he had no idea and even suggested that it won't be their problem! If and when the axle is replaced, I bet they'll be calling me daily to come get it off their lot -- well guess, what? I will take my sweet time getting over to pick it up!

Tom sawyer

We have a 2001 windstar there are so many reasons why we are put out by this. I decided that I would never put my family back into this vehicle so I had a lawyer contact hem in the very beginning last September. I told them I would take $2000.00 for my van and that I knew they would be spending close to $4000.00 on the rental by the time it was through. What will our vans be worth when this is all said and done, think about it. The dealership said they closed out a $3500.00 rental ticket on the first of the year. Ford would rather pay the rental car agency close to $5000.00 than buy back their garbage for a fraction of the price. Why should anyone have faith in a company that would pull such a ridiculous move.


I know someone at the dealership I brought by '99 van to before Thanksgiving. I was expecting the buyout but never heard anything. Now I hear that the buyouts are done. They are going to spend over $4,000 on the rental plus fixing this van that I'm not going to drive again. I'll just unload it as a trade-in at some other dealership (not Ford). Now there's another recall.

Bill Belk


Kim Rasmussen

I just got a call from the ford dealer today telling me my 2003 windstar axle has been replaced and the van can be picked up today. My excitement was quickly squashed when the woman told me I needed to purchase a new battery if I wanted to drive it home. I quickly replied my battery was only 3years old and should not need to be replaced and furthermore if you had been staring it like you said you would then there should not be any issues. She responded with, they did start it monthly and drove it forward and back and the battery being dead is not their problem it is mine. The only thing they want to know is if I am bringing a new battery in or would I like to buy it from them. They are not taking responsibility at all and now I will be out the cost of a new battery. In what universe is this fair ? Ford should be paying for my battery ........not me ! To add insult to injury they asked me to return the rental immediately........I guess I will never buy another ford as long as I live. I wonder how many more people will be hit with this cost as well.


I know alot of people are upset about the recalls for the Windstars, but think about it....Ford is fixing ussues with rust. These cars are around 10 years old and some have over 200k miles. I can understand that it may be an inconvienence to some people to bring it to a dealer for a FREE fix, but I don't see any other company spending Billions of dollars to fix a decade of rust. As for the recall on the subframes? Customers are being offered a substantial amount of money if it fails the inspection. I know someone that was offered over $7000 and it had over 150k!!! Wouldn't you be satisfied?


Kim R.--I don't know what dealer you are goig to, but you need to set them straight. Ford will replace the battery and the take care of the labor for NO charge to you. Ford corperation will take care of the bill and pay the dealership for the parts and labor. I know this for a FACT!


I don't think ford cares very much for their customers or these van's would have been recalled long ago. My van has a crack in the rear axle it's a 1999 with 185,000km on it. I bought it 6 months ago I don't think these van's should even be available for purchase ford should take them all back and give people their money back dollar for dollar on what they paid for them and demolish them all. I bought this because I thought it was a safe vehicle for my family my parents had one when I was a kid too a 1996 and then a 2000. I will never buy another ford. I'm currently waiting to see what ford is willing to do for me.

Joseph k Graham

How do I know my ford windstar is on recall I have a ford windstar 98 3.8


Dropped my van off on December 20 - it was confiscated with a cracked axle. As of March 22, still waiting for the repair (which I don't want, because the van will never be safe to drive again, not with the swiss cheese subframe in the front). I was given a Dodge Caliber to drive. Uh, I have a dog that weighs 170 pounds (yes, really). Where the hell am I supposed to put the dog in that Caliber? I need the sliding door and the low step-up for her to get in. And do I really, really think that the dealer is starting the vans and driving them around the lot? Heck no. I get no buyout offer either, because it's a 2001 with only 85,000 miles. They've spent more on a rental car than the van is worth! Idiots.


i own a 2000 windstar that has 3 recalls on it one it could go on fire while parked in my driveway something to do with the cruise controll and the van does not even have to be turned on therefore not a good idea to park close to our home or in our garage the other is the rear axle wich i was informed by the dealership has a large whole right through it like most people we do have children and are so fortunate to deal with the idiots at enterprise who give you a small truck with no room for car seats and is harder on gas then my van after this experience with this rental company i would never recomend or rent anything from these people anyway some people in our area have been offered buy outs of 5000 dollars im wandering why we have not been offered one so we can find something more suitable and safe for our family when we checked our van yesterday at the dealers one of the wipers was laying on the ground the longer our van sits there the more its value drops, what do we have to do to get a buy out?


We have a 2009 Windstar. The Ford dealer "fixed" the Axle problem this summer, but we were told that the check engine and ABS light were not recall problems. I have found info all over the web about these issues! I went out to Ford's website to contact them and there are no links "available". They tell you to check back soon. We also have a 2005 Chrysler Sebring. It works perfectly! Think we're going to have to change...


Sorry!! I meant a 2000 Windstar not a 2009...

Lee Lee

lol, for the one who said that these vans would be in the junkyard by now, think again! =)
We bought our '98 Ford Windstar in 2001.
It's been through its share of repairs but has served us quite well over the years.
We've made several cross state moves, schlepping a trailer behind us, loading up the car.
It's never once left us stranded.

We don't bother with the recalls mostly because the parts would take forever to come in, you'd have to find an 'authorized' dealer and who knows if they'll screw you over in the end?

For now, we're doing just fine and that van hasn't given us a reason to scrap it. Just needs repairs here and there, much like any old car out there.


Sad to say I was driving on a daily routine signing my son up for school and my 2001 ford windstar caught fire unfortunately it was a total loss. My family was able get out safely with all of the recalls on the ford website I don't think I will ever buy another vehicle from ford


Just found out something interesting today from Ford dealership. Background: Back in 2002, my mom (now 78 yrs. old) purchased a 2002 Windstar with aftermarket wheelchair conversion from Canadian company Liberty (bought out). Unknown to me, she got a recall letter on the axle problem and took it to dealership. Dealership "reinforced" axle by welding flange(s) and sent her on her way. So, months later I borrow the van to pick up my brother who is in wheelchair. Everytime I hit a small bump, pothole, or dip the rear slams down and makes a horrible bang sound. I ask my mom about it and she says it's been doing this for awhile. What?!!! Fast forward to dealership's call today: The report is that the recall "fix" of welding flanges is causing the loud banging noise when going over bumps because there is not enough clearance. They cannot remove the welded flanges but they can charge me $615 to mount heavy duty springs and shocks to hopefully increase the clearance - no guarantees! I have yet to actually view the axle, which I will do and then insist that they replace axle. In my opinion, they should not have done the recall fix on a conversion without getting an expert opinion. As for my mom, she is a little old lady who trusts everyone and never asks questions. For all I know the existing axle was fine before the fix - we don't really salt our roads in california and rust should not be an issue.


Own a 1998 Windstar that had the reinforcement brackets placed on the rear axle in Nov. 2010. The Axle has cracked anyway and was told the cost to repair is on me. Since the dealership did brackets instead of replacing it, and it STILL cracked.

Found On Road Dead

I have a 2002 Ford windstar all of has recall has been repair and replace like the brake light stays on. But now there's a big major problem on my windstar the transmission went out on the highway, wouldn't move in any gear with only 74,000 miles on it. I'm afraid how much that's going to cost me. There's other more problem with van also passenger front door won't unlock with switch, passenger sliding door won't open from the inside, that would be bad if van caught on fire and rear window sometime won't open. Do I fill like buying another Ford again with all this problems? I'm planing to buy another car but different brand without to much problems.


Having transmission issues , had it check but there saying that's bit the problem , I don't know what to do now I'm looking around and find out there is axle issue , omg I should have learned my lesson on for when my transmission went out on my explorer ugh some one please tell me what to do , I'm a single mother of three ugh I'm so upset


I just bought a 2003 winstar because my 98 ford explorer tans went out now I'm having same issues have it looked at but there saying there no trans issues but to me. That what it feels like , not I'm look around online and now there axel issues wtf am I going to do

I do not have an owner's manual for ford windstar 2003. From where I can get one?

Joyce Rodgers

I have a 98 Ford Windstar with about 162,000 miles.Do I need to take to a Ford dealer to have axle checked.I am having trouble with the it not wanting to change gears and just not feeling quite right.I bought this cause my husband is in a wheelchair but since has went in a nursing home.Help I don't know what to do and can't afford to buy anything else and to think my last payment if due


Right way you can get one at auto zone or orielys


I am thinkin about tradeing my 1999subaru outback for a 2001 ford windstat but not sure nowlisa






I have a 2000 Windstar and this is the first I've heard of any long is a recall stay open?

Syed Khurshid

I have for 2001 Limited edition with 180000 miles on it. I have spend handsome amount of money even more than the vans market value and still have problem with it. While i am driving the vehicle gives couple of jerks and when when i have higher level of fuel in it this jerk problem reduces a lot. I have changed couple the P0340 censor and cleaned the Mass air flow sensor P0171 also but the jerking of van still exists. Ford company should give me a recall service call for resolving this issue. I am a ford lover but if my satisfaction and loyalty with ford is not considered i will never buy or recommend any one to buy Ford vehicles. Toyota is doing a marvelous job and customer satisfaction with them is 100%. Someone from from FORD should call me on my cell # 407-283-0475 to resolve my issue. I cannot afford to spend more money on this vehicle.
Syed Khurshid
Orlando, Florida USA

wayne sheets

2003 ford windstar driving down the road and all of a sudden engine revs up and the van dont move know look up these vans everybody has transmission problems we should think about class action suit are just fix the problem ford this is wrong

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