According to recent reports, Ford is recalling 575,000 older model Windstar Vans because of faulty rear axles that can corrode and potentially break. The recall includes Windstar model sold between 1998 and 2003 in states where heavy use of road salt during winters contributed to the corrosion of the axles. Specifically, vans sold in Michigan, New England, Canada, and the Mid-Atlantic states are subject to the recall.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began an investigation in May after receiving 234 complaints of rear axle problems, including two crashes. The NHTSA is particularly concerned that the design of the axle, which is shaped in a “U”, may cause excess salt from the roads to build up, resulting in corrosion. So far, one owner of a Windstar Van reported that their axle snapped in half when they drove over a pothole, causing the tires to blow out and the car to hit a guard rail. Luckily, no one was injured during the accident.
Ford Motor Co. plans to officially start notifying Windstar Van vehicle owners on September 27. In addition, the company will provide repairs at no cost.