Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: The Freestar was introduced in 2004, but it was essentially just a rebranded Windstar. While there was a redesign of the interior and exterior, the Freestar still inherited some of the design flaws of its predecessor.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
103,969 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Ford Freestar body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2004 Ford Freestar Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #54

Jun 122016


  • miles


The contact owned a 2004 Ford Freestar. While driving approximately 20 mph, the third row seat area rusted through to the trunk area near the spare tire. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #53

Jul 132016


  • 132,125 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Freestar. The contact stated that the rear passenger and driver side wheel wells were corroded. The vehicle was diagnosed, but not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 132,125.

- Cookville, TN, USA

problem #52

Jul 072014


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Freestar. While inspecting the vehicle's subframe, the contact noticed that it was corroded. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 85,000.

- Lancaster, NY, USA

problem #51

Jun 022016


  • 154,000 miles


The 3rd seat hooks rusted out leaving and unstable passenger seat and body structure issues that are identical to the recall #13S01but due to the vehicle not being in a "saltbelt" state, it was not included in the recall even though it is pretty clear that Kansas and Nebraska use sale abundantly on the roads. I was told by Ford that my specific can was not included in the recall because is was manufactured differently than the 100,000 that were included in the recall so it should not have the same problem which it now has. I put my four kids in this van and now it is not structural stable for them.

- Derby, KS, USA

problem #50

May 262016


  • 86,580 miles
The front subframe is rotted on my 2004 Ford Freestar. I found out when my car was in for it's annual inspection. They called the Ford dealer they said Ford was no longer making the parts. The dealer said Ford used to have recalls. I found out that Ford had a big problem with this on the Windstar. I contacted Ford and they said all the recall on my car were fixed. They said I should call the Ford dealer.

- Port Chester, NY, USA

problem #49

May 152016


  • 172,000 miles
Ford is not honoring 13V081000 for the third row seat striker problems. Our van which is operated in the Kansas City metropolitan area, which heavily salts the roads is having the corrosion problem. Just this weekend we were traveling with all seats occupied when the inner fender well on the rear passenger side broke through with the seat striker mounting bracket hitting the sidewall of the rear tire. Fortunately at the time we were not driving at high speeds and were able to remove the seat occupants and return home safely. The design of this seat striker plate is flawed as there is a reinforcing plate on the inner side of the fender well that results in entrapment of moisture and dirt. This bad design combined with the weight of three people occupying the seat results in stressing of the fender well material. When I went to the Ford dealer on Monday and gave them my VIN they could not find any hint of a recall for this issue on my vehicle.

- Olathe, KS, USA

problem #48

May 072016


  • miles


Ford refuses to pay for recall related repairs. I purchased vehicle in July of 2015. Received notice from Ford of safety recall involving 3rd row seating. Ford wants $2100 for repair of the corrosion on the wheel wells. The row seating is useless doesn't lock in open position.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #47

Jun 272014


  • 96,000 miles
Car history: The transaxle light has gone before when we travel through vt mountains, but turning off the engine and letting it sit, and restarting it, the light would go off. Upon getting home safety, our mechanics didn't find anything to repair and so left it be, and would only sometimes see it when we traveled through the vt mountains, a few times a year. All recall repairs were up to date. There were no other symptoms. Incident: As we nearing the top of a mountain, the transaxle light came on. Unlike the other times, the transmission suddenly failed to be in the correct gear, so unlike the other times, we were very concerned. We pulled over immediately, and as we reached the shoulder smoke began pouring out of the vents. We quickly evacuated our kids, and as we were getting them out we noticed that there was already fire coming from under the hood, near the windshield, on the passenger side. We are so glad our kids were awake, and able to unlatch their own child carseats, and able to get out quickly. The fire spread to the entire van, consuming everything, at a great expense to us. (and others; our accident blocked a significant amount of traffic for about 3 hours.)

- Barrington, NH, USA

problem #46

Dec 252012

Freestar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Freestar. The contact stated that while attempting to have the vehicle repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 13V081000 (seats), it was determined that the rear wheel wells were corroded due to water penetration and were unable to support the recall remedy. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The consumer stated the rear latch 3rd row seat fell off, due to it rubbing against the rear tire.

- Watertown, NY, USA

problem #45

May 212012

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 170,214 miles
I had my vehicle to the Ford dealership on a recall for the third row latch/corrosion issue. While in the process of doing the repair, the service dept. Found massive undercarriage corrosion, in which other parts of my car were disintegrating & falling apart, such as the starter and the engine mounts, as well as parts of my exhaust system. While my car was on the premises there were also two other Freestars with similar amounts of massive corrosion on the body of the vehicle, particularly all of the doors. My vehicle is only 9 years old and has been taken care of with regular maintenance and should not look 20 years old with the corrosion that it has accumulated. I also have a large, visible crack in my wheel well in the rear passenger area caused by corrosion and my vehicle may not pass inspection. I have been in touch with Ford Motor Co. And they seemed only casually interested, but did give me a case file # [xxx]. they report that there is currently no recall on any of the peripheral corrosion problems and could not guarantee that there would be a recall on this. The supervisor at the dealership expressed to me that he has seen at least 6-8 other Freestars with the same corrosion in the same places. My car is rotting from the inside...presently when it rains, my front passenger door accumulates water inside, which eventually drains itself out through the corrosion underneath that panel. Please help me to force a recall on this issue so that I can get my car repaired in an appropriate manner and feel safe in driving without worrying that my vehicle will disintegrate underneath me from this massive corrosion problem. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Northfield, MA, USA

problem #44

Feb 152013

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 87,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Freestar. The contact stated that there was a gaping hole in the rear wheel well, causing the third road striker and latch to fracture. The failure prevented the third row seat from locking into place. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 13V081000 (seats) however, the technician notified the owner that the water damage caused mold and corrosion to form in the quarter panel, seat belts, left third road seat and the carpet. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure but did not offer any assistance since the additional repairs were not included in the recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 87,000 and the current mileage was 88,000.

- Elmwood Park, IL, USA

problem #43

May 142013


  • 154,430 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Freestar. The contact stated that the rear door latch would not release for the door to be opened. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection of the rear door latch. The dealer was unable to release the door latch due to excessive moisture. The dealer attempted to repair the vehicle under NHTSA campaign I.D. number 13V081000 (seats) but to no avail. The contact had to take the vehicle to a second dealer to have the vehicle remedied per the recall. The failure mileage was 154,430.

- Menomonie, WI, USA

problem #42

Nov 292012

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 66,000 miles
On christmas eve 2012 we drove to our parents house we heard something rubbing against the rear driver side tire. When we investigated what was going on we found the 3rd row seat latch had almost detached but was rubbing against the tire it eventually fell off as we tried to get it to reconnect. We received a recall letter in April but was unaware of the potential danger that driving like this for 3 months had caused. At repair shop vehicle would not pass insp due to rotted wheel well and springs also rotted we called local dealer for appt on recall. To my dismay a couple of things that are very concerning to me occurred I received a call later that day from the dealer stating that they where having problems with Ford company itself the latch had fallen off and they had the parts to replace it but they could not attach it to the rear well because it was rotted and not only that they also told us the springs could fall out and collapse the rear suspension if it was driven again when they told the Ford representative this they said just weld a metal piece over the well wheel and just attach it on their dealer declined because this would still be a dangerous situation to drive because of the rear springs if driven could drop the whole rear suspension while driving Ford rep said not our problem you need to complete the recall and the customer has to pay for the springs to be repaired. This is totally unacceptable to me it obvious that the latch situation and corrosion has caused this whole problem to have them try to have the dealer put in effect a bandage on the situation and let my family risk there life driving this van is corrupt to the core. The dealer was able to get the area Ford rep to come out and look at the vehicle in the next couple of days. But I cannot emphasis more what they tried to do today was without question unethical.

- Watertown , NY, USA

problem #41

May 082007

Freestar 6-cyl

  • miles
The latch on the rear of the van has rusted closed on three separate occassions. It is presently rusted shut and the back hatch doesnt open as a result. There is a recall on the third row seat due to water leakage from the rear tire well. This has to be related as the carpet throughout the van gets wet. Even the front drivers seat where it attaches to the floor is soaked, posibly leaking from front tire well.and all the way down the interior of the car to the third row. There is also a short in the dash lights due to water leaking into the dash area. The car radio stays on when it feel like it and you have to hit the drivers window button for the radio to shut off otherwise it drains the battery and the car will not start. The car was at the electrical shop a year ago and could not find the problem.

- Wyandotte, MI, USA

problem #40

Jan 202013

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 154,000 miles
2004 Ford Freestar ses I changed the rear brakes on 1/20/2013 noticed the left rear wheel was rusting out. Today 2/24/2013 went to install a car sear & noticed the bench seat in the back was rocking slightly. The anchor point on the left rear is rusted out and moving. Upon inspection I noticed that I can see down to the ground where the anchor point has rusted out. I have had to replace numerous parts on this van over the last two years. To date I have replaced: 3 ignition coils, (this is the main problem whenever heavy rain or snow has happened and I start to throw misfire codes), 3 camshaft position sensors, 2 driver side window controls & motors, (the window doesn't want to work half the time so we leave it cracked open with the rain guards), an egr valve, and a clockspring. I have never had so many problems with this vehicle in such a short amount of time.

- Prairie Village, KS, USA

problem #39

Feb 202013

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 22,500 miles
Severe rust issues plague the frame, jack points, and rear frame (spare tire storage area). The spare tire wheel looks as if it has never had paint on it there is so much rust. We just purchased the vehicle a few days ago and are currently working with the Ford dealer to hopefully get the problem corrected. We did not realize the severe rust issues prior to purchase.

- Strasburg, PA, USA

problem #38

Feb 152013

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
As stated with other 2004 Ford Freestars, rear rust on driverside rear, rear seat will not lock because the safety lock is rusted away, not safe to any passenger to sit there.

- Chesterton, IN, USA

problem #37

Jan 282013


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Freestar. The contact stated that while driving approximately 25 mph, a loud grinding sound was heard coming from the rear tires. The contact also stated that the wheel mount and wheel well were rusted. In addition, the third row latch failed and the seats were unable to stay folded. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostics. The technician stated that the wheel well and latches needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure but did not offer any further assistance due to the vehicle not being included in any recalls. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage and current mileage was 140,000.

- Levittown, PA, USA

problem #36

Jan 112013

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
Back seat wouldn't latch. Found rotten wheel well due to rust and corrosion and latch fell out along with a piece of the wheel well. Now, there is a hole where the latch was and the rear seat is unsafe due to the fact that there is no latch to hold it in place. I have three kids so now their life is in jeopardy and the van isn't even 10 years old. We've had so many issues with this van. Also, the computer had to be replaced due to water damage. We were told Chevy had the same problem of water coming right down onto the computer and they designed a part for it, but not Ford.

- Rockford, MI, USA

problem #35

Jan 182013

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 100,800 miles
The left rear 3rd row seat anchor plate, mounted normally to the left rear inner wheelhouse as an integrated part of the wheelhouse, has rusted around the plate edges and the entire plate is separating from the wheelhouse assembly. Currently it is rusted thru on the left, right, and bottom edges of the mounting plate, remaining attached only along its top edge. This is letting road moisture into the interior regions of the van, soiling carpet and jute, causing odor and possible mold development. The 3rd row seat can no longer be safely attached.

- Louisville, KY, USA

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