The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced that Ford is recalling 462,750 1998-2003 Windstar minivans because the rear axle could fracture and increase the risk of a crash. The recalled vehicles were manufactured from September 1, 1997, through February 28, 2003. NHTSA said that after so many years of vehicle service in these areas, corrosion can weaken the rear axle, making it susceptible to torsional stress. Corrosion and stress can lead to cracks which, if undetected, can propagate and result in a complete fracture of the axle. A fractured axle can affect vehicle handling and increase the risk of a crash. Ford also warns that there may be little or no warning to the operator before a cracked rear axle completely fractures.
The recall is expected to begin on or before September 27. Ford told NHTSA that owners will be notified and instructed to take their vehicles to a Ford or Lincoln/Mercury dealer for inspection of the rear axle. Owners of vehicles without axle cracking will be notified when to return for the installation of reinforcement brackets to extend the axle durability in the presence of corrosion, the automaker said. Owners who have vehicles with cracked axles will be offered a repair or alternative transportation until parts become available.
Owners of the affected Windstar minivans can call Ford at (866) 436-7332.
FORD / WINDSTAR 1998-2003
Manufacturer: FORD MOTOR COMPANY Mfr’s Report Date: AUG 26, 2010
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 10V385000 PE10016
NHTSA Action Number: PE10016
Component: POWER TRAIN:AXLE ASSEMBLY
Potential Number of Units Affected: 462750
Summary: FORD IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 1998-2003 WINDSTAR VEHICLES MANUFACTURED FROM SEPTEMBER 1, 1997 THROUGH FEBRUARY 28, 2003 AND CURRENTLY REGISTERED OR ORIGINALLY SOLD IN CONNECTICUT, DELAWARE, 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. AFTER MANY YEARS OF VEHICLE SERVICE IN THESE AREAS, CORROSION CAN WEAKEN THE REAR AXLE, MAKING IT SUSCEPTIBLE TO TORSIONAL STRESS. CORROSION AND STRESS CAN LEAD TO CRACKS WHICH IF UNDETECTED CAN PROPAGATE AND RESULT IN A COMPLETE FRACTURE OF THE AXLE.
Consequence: A FRACTURED AXLE CAN AFFECT VEHICLE HANDLING AND INCREASE THE RISK OF A CRASH.
Remedy: AS PARTS BECOME AVAILABLE, DEALERS WILL INSPECT AND IF NECESSARY INSTALL THE REAR AXLE REINFORCEMENT BRACKETS FREE OF CHARGE. THIS SERVICE WILL BE PERFORMED FREE OF CHARGE. THE SAFETY RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN ON OR BEFORE SEPTEMBER 27, 2010. OWNERS MAY CONTACT FORD AT 1-866-436-7332.
Notes: FORD’S RECALL NO. IS 10S13. OWNERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION’S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV .