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.

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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 8
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,014 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.

1998 Ford Windstar electrical problems

electrical problem

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1998 Ford Windstar Owner Comments

problem #9

Dec 242006

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 143,000 miles


I was driving our 1998 Ford Windstar northwoods edition from the shopping center parking lot on 12-24-06 when the van began to smoke. The smoke came into the car as I turned on the heater. I pulled the car immediately to the side of the road and called 911. Within minutes the car was fully on fire. There were no previous problems with the car. I believe that the fire started in the right front near the dashboard, the fire came through the firewall at that point, and that is where the smoke started and the flame first came out and where the most intense damage is. Needless to say the car is totaled and we are now without a much needed vehicle. The tow truck operator stated this was the third Ford Windstar in this area to burn like this.

- Newtown, PA, USA

problem #8

Sep 112006

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,129 miles
: the contact stated while traveling 10 mph, the engine began to smoke. The vehicle was pulled over and the contact noticed a fire under the hood on the passenger side. The contact waited for the fire to extinguish itself, and then the vehicle was towed to the residence. The vehicle was not inspected by a mechanic.

- Rumford, RI, USA

problem #7

Sep 022004

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving smoke was coming from the vents and from the hood. Consumer pulled over to the shoulder, lifted up the hood, and saw flames. Vehicle caught on fire. Consumer extinguished the fire, and had the vehicle towed to the dealer for inspection by the insurance company.

- Auburn, ME, USA

problem #6

Dec 052003

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles


While driving my 1998 Ford Windstar on the highway, I smelled smoke. I pulled to side of the road thinking at first that I had a broken fan belt or something similar. I got out of the car, opened the hood to find flames coming from the area of what I believe is the electrical wiring harness on the drivers side of the engine compartment. I used my cell phone to call for the fire department. Before the fire department arrived, a motorist stopped to assist me in putting out the fire with water.

- Traverse City, MI, USA

problem #5

Apr 142002


  • miles
I was driving after making a right-hand turn and started to smell something unusual. I checked my warning lights but there was no indication of a problem so I continued to drive hoping to make it home. The whole time that I continued to drive, I kept checking my warning lights because a still smelled something. When I had to stop at a traffic light a few minutes later, I started to see smoke and was going to pull into an adjacent parking lot when a bunch of people ran up to my car and yelled to get out of the car. It was on fire. Someone grabbed my toddler and I quickly turned off the car and grabbed my dog. We got away from the car but the fire died down significantly after the engine was off. Other people had called the fire department and police by then. Other people put out what was left of the fire while I cared for my terrified child and contacted the auto club and relatives to help. The dealership said that there was a hole in one of my lines that leaked onto the engine causing the fire. They claimed because several lines were burned up that they could not determine which one it was. They acted as though fires are common " but 50,000 is a little early" for this to happen. If I did not have an extended warranty, I would have been paying for everything out of pocket. After the incident, I looked my car up on your website and found ODI id 753227 which sounded like the same situation I had.

- Elma, NY, USA

problem #4

Oct 122001


  • miles
On the evening of October 12th 2001, while driving with my wife and children in our 98 gl Windstar to see a cousin of mine. We approached a semicircle curve on a hill, as I turned my wheel to the right entering on to the curve, when all of a sudden smoke started to come from the bottom of my vehicle. My first thought was that the car was overheating but then fire was starting to come out as well. I yelled to everyone on board to exit the vehicle and stay some distance away. As the flames were getting worse. I had to pop open the hood and see if I could control the fire. I saw the flame shoot out of the bottom and the sides of the car. I immediately turned off the car and then disconnected the positive battery cable on the advice of a stranger that was there. Another person came with a bucket of water and we managed to douse the fire out. My cousin arrived later towards where we were as my wife had notified him by cellular of our situation. We took the vehicle to his home and in the morning he took a look at the car to see what had caused it to flame. He noticed that power steering fluid was visible and that the power steering pressure hose had rubbed with time on the rack and pinion or something metallic of the car slowly forming a groove on the hose about an inch and a half wide and about 1/4 inch deep. This created a hole in the groove where it was rubbing when I made my turn on the hill, thus pouring out power steering fluid on to the catalic converter which then started to smoke and fire. Importantly the protective fire cover placed on this pressure hose had worn out as well. I have only 63,256 miles on the car. I thank god that we are all safe and thank god for those who assisted us and also thank god that this did not happen to my wife and children while I was not there. I can't imagine being out alone and having this happen to someone else then having a great catastrophe with some deaths. I have kept the power steering hose as evidence of my situation.

- Carolina, PR, USA

problem #3

Jan 082001


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


While traveling 30 to 40 mph transmission started slipping and smoke started coming from underneath hood of vehicle. Consumer pulled off to side of road and turned vehicle off. Consumer examined vehicle and found that there was fluid leaking from engine, pool of fluid was approximately 2 feet in diameter on the ground. Dealership examined vehicle and could not determine that there was a problem with vehicle. Informed consumer that no fluids leaked from vehicle. Also, this vehicle was not affected by any recalls. Dealer finally replaced transmission with a refurbished one after a field engineer stating it was faulty.

- Howell, NJ, USA

problem #2

Aug 112000


  • miles
Van went on fire under hood at this time landmark Ford in tigard Oregon doesnt know the cause of this fire it is there at this time waiting to be repaired

- Calgary Alberta Canada, OR, USA

problem #1

Oct 251999


  • miles
Was driving approximately 60mph with rear defroster on. Vehicle overheated & blew a hole through rear window, causing a fire which melted the plastic interior of vehicle. Owner thought maybe it was an electrical short. Vehicle at dealership now for repairs.

- W. Monroe, LA, USA

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