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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 8
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
66,376 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 (Page 1 of 2)

problem #37

Jun 152011

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles


About 10 minutes after parking and turning off my 1998 Ford Windstar the car filled with smoke coming from steering column. Later car would not start from keyswitch.

- Rutledge, PA, USA

problem #36

Aug 281998


  • 4,400 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Ford Windstar. While driving approximately 50 mph, the transmission became stuck in overdrive. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer who stated that the main control valve was defective; it was replaced. The contact later began having issues with the brakes as they locked up when the contact applied them to avoid a deer. The vehicle crashed into the woods as a result. A police report was filed. The contact sustained neck injuries. The contact was informed that the ABS tone ring seal had cracked; it was repaired. The failure continued and the dealer then replaced the tone ring and sensor. Months later, the brakes began to grab. The entire brake assembly was replaced four times. Furthermore, the contact noticed that the electrical system was defective. The switch assist in all doors was replaced in 2005. In 2011, the contact had the same failure with the switch for the driver side mirror. The dealer replaced the switch on the driver side mirror and checked the latches on the doors because the door light was constantly illuminated. The dealer also replaced all the sensor assists for the doors. The door ajar light was still illuminated. The failure mileage was 4,400 and the current mileage was 72,000.

- Egg Harbor Township, NJ, USA

problem #35

Oct 012010

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 165,000 miles
ABS and brake light on, and no speed control.

- Burkesville, KY, USA

problem #34

Jun 012010

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 125,000 miles


ABS brake light came on intermittently for a couple weeks then began to stay on. New brakes & rotors/drums all around. Now problem with brakes but light will not go off. Also airbag light came on about two weeks after the ABS light. It will not go off either.

- Barboursville, WV, USA

problem #33

Jan 012007


  • 80,000 miles
For several years the ABS light and the tracking light have automatically lit up, although there is no brake problems.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #32

Feb 012009


  • miles
I have a 1998 Ford Windstar. It first started with my cruise control switch catching on fire and causing wires under my hood to burn... now for the last year I have been having problems with my passenger sliding door..the sensor on the dash would show that the door was ajar(not closed) I could take the battery cable off for a while and the door light would go off. Now I have had to remove all the bulbs in the lights inside the van to keep my battery from running down this morning I get up and my battery is dead and acid from the battery is all over the post and cable wires. I talk to my mechanic he says this is due to some problem in the electrical system he said he has had to work on several Windstar for the same problemsome kind of sensor fault defect.

- Quitman, MS, USA

problem #31

Apr 262010


  • 230,000 miles


Vehicle is a 1998 Ford Windstar. While driving the windshield washer, seat belt, and door ajar warning lights flash on and off. While this is happening the wiper blades stop working, power windows will not operate and on a few occasions the headlights will blink with the warning lights. I understand that this is an old vehicle but I have researched this issue and have found hundreds of complaints about the same problem. Not just restricted to this year. It is also an issue that happens just after a few years of service. I would think that wiper blades malfunctioning due to an electrical issue would be a safety concern.

- Oak Ridge, TN, USA

problem #30

Dec 162009


  • miles
On December 16th 2009. I was driving down West 117th towards madison/lakewood in cleveland, Ohio and was trying to come to a stop (slow down and stop) to allow an ambulance to pass (there was a car in front of me that was also slowing downa nd that came to a stop at the street lot)this is on a major street near an highway intersection. I put my foot on my brake to slow down the vehicle and come to a stop but it would not slow down or stop. The brake had went out. I ended up hitting the car in front of me hard (an SUV) and doing quite a bit of damage to my vehicle. The other driver vehicle was so far as I could tell undamaged. On my vehicle the front light is broken, my bumper is damaged, and my hood is damaged. I, myself and the driver I hit could have gotten seriously injured. So far we are bothfine and no injuries occurred. However he may turn around and come after me if he decides to. And I now can not drive my vehicle. I received a recall notice on my vehicle brake about a month ago around early November. Maybe in end of October. The very day of my accident (happened around 12:15 noon) I was going to go home and call Ford about the recall. There is a worldwide recall on my vehicle model and many others. And I have had nothing but problems since I bought it. I have had to make numerous repairs on it and still had problems and this accident. Ford should be held responsible for this and should compensate me with another vehicle in good condition especially since I have spent so much time and money into replacement parts for this Windstar. Or give me my money back or something. I'm glad my kids were not with me when this happened and that the man I hit was also alone and is ok. What can be done about this? I have had to replace the following items since I got this vehicle: O2 sensors (both), alternator, belt, windshield wiper blade, and make back blades don't work at all, the transmission, the steering column box, door handle and components inside and more!

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #29

Jul 272009


  • 200,000 miles
1998 Ford Windstar caught on fire while parked at dentist. Fire dept was called and the vehicle is totaled.

- Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #28

May 292009


  • 102,000 miles
1998 Windstar van was parked in the front yard key out of it I was inside I heard a noise looked out the engine part was on fire I was moving my personal things I lost everything I own I left everything in the van including my purse w/ my money and id inside.

- Williston, FL, USA

problem #27

Jan 152009


  • 126,000 miles


The contact owns a 1998 Ford Windstar. The contact stated that there is an electrical sensor on the sliding door of the vehicle. While driving at any speed, the beeping sound does not turn off. In addition, the door ajar indicator and dome light do not dim. There is a switch that needs to be bypassed or rewired. The dealer stated that there was no recall issued for these failures. The contact stated that the failures occur everytime the vehicle is started. She has researched other consumers experiencing the same failures. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure mileage was 126,000 and current mileage was 127,000.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #26

Feb 242009


  • 127,000 miles
Dinging from faulty switch while driving - interferes with drivers concentration and emergency warning sirens and horns.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #25

Jan 152009


  • 82,818 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Ford Windstar. The brake indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. Whenever the brake pedal was depressed, the speedometer would malfunction. The contact took the vehicle to a mechanic and was informed that there was a brake fluid leak. The technician further stated that the speedometer failure was linked to brake fluid ingressed into the ABS module. The manufacturer has not been notified. Through online research, the contact found an investigation number PE08035 for the same failure. The investigation was closed with no recall issued, but he believes that the investigation should have led to a recall. The mechanic replaced a vehicle speed deactivation switch to stop the leaking; however, the ABS module still needs to be replaced. The contact believes that the manufacturer should be responsible for the repair. The current and failure mileages were 82,818.

- Woasso, OK, USA

problem #24

Jan 172009


  • 138,000 miles
Brake fluid leaking from cruise control reset switch, fluid dripping on wiring and controller switch for transmission. I am very concerned about fire potential with the brake fluid dripping on electrical wires and contacts that have constant 12 volt source. This same design has caused deaths do to fires.....

- Roseville, CA, USA

problem #23

Jun 242003

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,700 miles
I purchased a 1998 Windstar van from the Ford dealer located in corning ca. I have had nothing but trouble with it passing smog for the oxy sensor. And the transmission has never worked right. The turbo thing is bad. When I went to trade it in I found that the vehicle was out of Canada. And these things were part of the recalls reported to you. But, Ford of corning said they did nothing to this van before selling it to me. I found 14 things wrong with this vehicle. I acted up a month after purchase. But I was on aware of my rights as a consumer. Also, I was not sure what oms meant. The van is stuck in folsom, ca at aamco transmission repair shop. Financed through fireside bank. Ford of corning said they did nothing to the van before I purchased it but cleaning it.

- Corning, CA, USA

problem #22

Oct 052006

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles
Thursday Oct. 5, 2006 at 7:00 pm, my van was sitting in the parking lot at my son's high school where it caught fire and was completely destroyed. I was not notified of any problems with my Windstar van.

- Macon, GA, USA

problem #21

Jan 312002


  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles
Electronics-door ajar warning light stays on specifically when weather is damp or mild. This causes door locks to unlock by themselves even when vehicle is in motion, also door chime keeps chimming. Battery looses power because dome lamp stays on for extended period of time. Rear windshield wipers will not work if illuminated door ajar warning is caused by opening or closing rear liftgate. Repairs have been made to driver door switch at the cost of $100 parts and labor, however the passenger door, side slider and rear liftgate have the same problem. Im not sure if doors are really closed or not. Since the doors wont stay locked, I believe this poses as a safety hazard to all passengers. Mechanics have told me that this is a common problem with mini vans.

- Abington, PA, USA

problem #20

Sep 152005

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles
The vehicle had been parked for about 15 mins before it caught on fire. The doors locked, and the windshield wipers were running on their own. The fire department came and had to cut the battery cable to stop the vehicle. The keys were left inside the vehicle on the console in between the two front seats. A report was filed with the fire department. The dealer stated they had not received any reports of fires on Windstar. Manufacturer was contacted, and caller filed a complaint. They will get back to him. Vehicle was totaled, and it was towed away. The caller did not know what started the fire.

- Mapleton, GA, USA

problem #19

Jun 032002

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
We have always had trouble with this van - we bought it used(1 yr old) so we had no recourse as far as warrenties go. We finally were able to take it in to the Ford dealership and have the light problem looked at - they replaced a sensor for $140 and as soon as we drove 45 miles it started up again! we were on our way on a road trip and I called to tell them it failed, but when we got back two weeks later they claimed that it must be something different... interior lights do not shut off, removed door ajar chime so we didn't have to listen to that while driving all the time, door ajar light has been on continuously for more than 3 years, we've had to remove the dome lights and turn the other lights to "off" so our battery doesn't go dead over night - the passenger floor lights remain on however and get very hot... the doors do not lock because the car thinks it's doors are open! the car has become dangerous to drive and the problem has stumped too many mechanics to list - when driving above 40 mph the right wheel starts making a 'thumping' noise and when turning left or accelerating it becomes almost deafening, now it's making a very loud screech if, but don't want to sell this death-trap to anyone else eithe you turn too sharply - there is a continuous squeaking noise comng from the same area. Please help!! thank you, freida kirkland ps... cruise control doesn't work and the back wiper only works if you're backing up... have had the van realigned continually and I just bought another set of tires in June and the left front tire is already worn out... the right passenger's window sometimes doesn't roll back up and the service engine light stays on sometimes for months for no reason as well as the brake light...

- Cotopaxi, CO, USA

problem #18

Feb 122005

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles
I purchased my van from my grandfather's estate. On Saturday, February 12, 2005, I was driving my 1998 Ford Windstar. I was traveling from a school function where I teach with my seven-year-old daughter in the van. My van seemed to have smoke coming from under the hood. I was stuck in traffic on highway 183 heading North toward cedar park where I live. I couldn't make the light at the junction of 620 to pull into a parking lot, so I went past the light and turned into the construction area just North of that intersection. I had already called my husband to meet me because I was concerned about the van. When I pulled in, I popped the hood and saw small flames and smoke coming from the driver side rear section under the hood. I dropped the hood and grabbed my daughter from the car. I then called 911 and they dispatched the fire department. While I waited, I pulled a bottle of water from the van, popped the hood and sprinkled water on the flames. When the fire department found me, the fire was smaller. They finished putting out the fire and told me that I probably saved my van by sprinkling water on it. It appeared to be electrical and near the area where the cruise control is located. I was in tears by the time my husband arrived and it was a horrible experience. I am grateful that we were not injured, but am furious that Ford has not recalled my van. I did have it repaired at computer age automotive in cedar park and my insurance agent is ryan with state farm whom I did submit the claim. I was told that state farm does not have plans to pursue Ford. I don't want another family to have this problem. It could have been a extremely bad situation.

- Cedar Park, TX, USA

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