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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
107,292 miles
Total Complaints:
29 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced the rear axle (15 reports)
  2. not sure (10 reports)
  3. replace axle (2 reports)
  4. $1000.00 out of pocket money to ford (1 reports)
  5. the "fix" for the 1st recall did not work (1 reports)
2002 Ford Windstar drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2002 Ford Windstar Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #29

Jun 182016

Windstar Limited 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200,000 miles


FORD REAly installed a pos brackect to fix a corroding axle? this is my family not happy

- , Warsaw, IN, USA

problem #28

Jun 022016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,000 miles

click to see larger images

rear axle broke in half

The Rear Axle Beam is disintegrated, cracking because it was made of DEFFECTIVE material. This isn't normal wear and tear. There have been recalls on over half a million minivans. See link.

Apparently, my van is not on the recall list. I am told that if I drive the van, I could die. This is definitely not normal wear and tear. The rear axle is made of poor material and needs to be on the recall list before a law suit takes place!!

- , Omaha, NE, USA

problem #27

Jun 162014

Windstar ES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

Thank God I was the only one in the van and driving in town.

On October 19, 2011 I had my 2002 Ford Windstar serviced for the rear axle recall. The remedy was to install a metal brace on the rear axle. Seemed to be a quick and easy fix. On June 16, 2014 I was driving in town and noticed it was driving different and I could smell burning rubber. I called a friend to come figure out what was wrong with my van. Right away he knew it was a broken rear axle.

I have called Ford to let them know that the remedy did not work and the rear axle broke on my van. Ford told me that the recall has expired and there is nothing that they will do. I fear that this could happen to anyone of these recalled Ford Windstars and the outcome would be deadly, not only for the driver but, any passengers, pedestrians, or other vehicles on the road. Plus, I am out of a vehicle that I have owned for about 9 years.

- , Princeton, IL, USA

problem #26

Apr 192014

Windstar LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 151,000 miles


click to see larger images

rear axle broke in half rear axle broke in half rear axle broke in half rear axle broke in half rear axle broke in half rear axle broke in half

Got this van in hopes of having a safe van for me and my 4 children to take a weekend trip to see our family, I'm Kentucky. We had the brakes checked, tires checked, wipers and had someone look it over front to back. Traveled our trip at night and came around Columbus doing 75 (thank god it didn't happen then).

We get here early Saturday morning, I drop my son off at a friends house whom he hasn't seen in 7mths. And before we got out of his holler, we felt some thud thud. I just thought it was something rolling in the back seat, you know, I have four kids under the age of 13, lord knows. Kept going. Got to the end of the street smelt something funny so I got out to check it. Looked OK! Pulled out, a fellow who was passing yelled and said honey your tire is going to fall off. I stop! Oh lord no I just looked at it. I walked and looked at the back driver tire and sure enough it's leaned completely inward!

So now we are stuck in HELL! Been without a car, a place to stay expect for a hotel that I can't afford anymore at $80 a night and now after reading on this and calling Ford I won't be able to afford to fix this! I dunno what to do. Ford says it's my problem, deal with it. And I'm not even sure if the axle is the problem or if the rear end just gave out! I wish I never bought a Ford! If anyone has answers help me! I'm at a lost, I want to go home!

- , Marion, OH, USA

problem #25

Sep 242013

Windstar SEL 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,952 miles

click to see larger images

rear axle broke in half rear axle broke in half rear axle broke in half

Just happened to be crawling around underneath my 02 Windstar one day fixing an exhaust hanger when I happened to look over and see a substantial crack in the rear axle. Called the local Ford dealer, they told me it was a recall and was covered in my state (Iowa). They had it towed in and replaced the axle at no cost to me. Glad I caught it when I did, as it was cracked about halfway around. A few hundred more miles and I would have been in serious sh*t. My complaint is not that it happened, but that I wasn't sent a recall notice in the mail. The guy at Ford said it was because I had bought it used and the paper trail to the current owner had gotten lost. I called BS, as my 1997 Ranger, which I also bought used (12 years old when I bought it, the Windstar was only 10 when I bought it) had two recalls on it, both of which I received a notice in the mail. Well, I dodged a bullet this time, but it makes me question how long I will be a Ford owner. Up until this point, Fords have treated me well, contrary to what many people say about the brand.

- , Maquoketa, IA, USA

problem #24

Dec 192011

Windstar LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles

While pulling in a parking lot we heard a crack. At first I thought a tire had blown but when I looked they were fine and all seemed well. I figured we just ran over something, so I continued to drive it home, then my wife took it out on two small trips to town the next day. By the end of the second trip she was hearing lots of odd noises and the van was driving very rough. Thank God she was almost home and never went on the interstate that day. When she pulled in the garage she smelled burning rubber and the tire was bent into the van. Sure enough, the axle was almost completely severed, with only about a centimeter to go.

The crazy thing is when we called Ford they refuse to pay to have the axle replaced or even cut us a break because the recall doesn't extend to our state. Apparently we are a 'non-corrosive' state, even though we have had tons of snow and salt on the roads the past several years and even though it DID corrode due to THEIR manufacturer defect. I guess according to them the axle corrosion really didn't happen since I live in the wrong state (Tennessee) - Unbelievable... I will never own a Ford again. They are completely inflexible and irrational to deal with. To be fair the local dealer was angry too. Their rep went to great lengths to try and convince the Ford HQ to cover this for us, but to no avail.

- , Bristol, TN, USA

problem #23

Mar 132010

Windstar LX V-6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


I was driving down the parkway when the entire vehicle started to shake. It got worse and worse for the next few miles. Finally pulled off road into a parking lot. At this point the entire rear axle collapsed and the vehicle fell to the ground. Had to get a flatbed to tow it away. The body shop guy told me he had never seen anything like this. He told me that had it happened while driving I would have lost control and broken rear axle could have perforated the gas tank and we would have burst into flames. Wow!! Real nice. I had all my kids in the car at the time. We would have all been burn victims and scarred for life. Reminds me of the old Ford Pintos. I called Ford and they denied anything was wrong. They refused to pay for anything. I sent them a letter about the incident and told them I would never ever buy Ford again. So they sent me back a flashy brochure for all new cars(that probably cost $10 to print). I won't even get into the problems I had with all my previous Ford products. I am DONE with Ford. I always bought American to be patriotic. They don't care if I die in one of their products. All my friends with Toyota and Nissans have had minimal or no problems at all. All the commercials about new Ford cars will turn out to be lie. Wait until they get 90 or 100K on them. Ford is riding high right now with their sales. Wait 3 or 4 years from now when all these new consumers find out what a Ford product is really like. I hope Ford goes bankrupt.

- , Piscataway, NJ, USA

problem #22

Jul 152010

Windstar SEL 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,317 miles

Thank god no one was hurt. My wife has been shuttling kids to basketball camps and has made a few vacation day trips recently, all of which required a significant amount of highway driving.

She said that the van was making some squealing noises and an occasional bang. The exhaust system was a little loose, so we had it tightened up. There was no visible indication of anything wrong with the axe at that time. She complained that the noises were getting worse, that the back-end was hopping, and that the tire pressure light had come on. I checked the tire pressure and at that time there was no alignment issue. The wheels were still perpendicular to the road. I bounced the van thinking that the rear shocks had failed. It bounced a few times, but not excessively. My wife took the van out one more time and returned saying that there had been a really loud bang and that the sqealing noise was more consistent. She parked the van on the street, instead of in the driveway, which was untypical. We were returning home from a car dealership with the expectations of returning the following day with the van for trade-in evaluation and I noticed that the wheel was tipped in to the fender well. I took a quick look underneath and there was a clean fracture, with the axle pieces offset about an inch. The axle looked clean and there wasn't apparent rust.

Needless to say, we either are going to lose money on the trade-in value or will have to pay for the repair, whichever is the lesser of the two. And we will be incurring the costs for a rental until the repair is complete or the tow charge to get the van to the dealership for trade.

Not surprising that we were returning from a Honda dealership and not a Ford dealership when I noticed the damage. Never again Ford.

- , Wakefield, MA, USA

problem #21

Jul 252010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles

I noticed a creaking noise which I initially thoughts was related to the shocks. However I noticed a crack on the rear axle. After inquiring at a local mechanic and dealer I was told not to drive the car and have it fixed immediately. I read your web site and found out this has been an issue for many owners. I became very concerned that without addressing this problem my wife, 16 year old son or I could have been at the wheel when this axle broke apart and may have caused major harm to my family and car. I hope Ford steps up and fixes this right away.

- , Malvern, PA, USA

problem #20

Aug 032010

Windstar LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

I cant believe a rear axle can break with your wheels turned inward making the car undrivable, and Ford does not care.

I want Ford to realize that CHILDREN ride in minivans. Must a Child die before ford wakes up!!! I have bought Ford cars for 20 years, now I have to switch to another brand.

Get rid of your Windstar if Ford does not do a recall!!!!!

- , Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #19

Jun 302010

Windstar SEL 3.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles


It happened to me while taking my wife, daughter and several senior girl scouts to the Newark International Airport in NJ for their two week trip to Europe. JUST got off the turnpike when, BANG, the rear end of my 2002 Ford Windstar went down. I could see sparks in my side mirrors and thankfully was able to bring the van to a stop on the shoulder of the road. Rear axle was fractured due to internal rust and a flawed axle design. Had it towed to a local Ford dealer and was quoted $1200 to fix the problem.

My question to the world of automotive legal experts is this...."Is the rear axle beam of my Ford Windstar a normal wear and tear part?" That is, does it come under the same guidelines as say brakes or shocks that need to be replaced over time at the owners expense? Or, is this part suppose to last the lifetime of the vehicle with normal use?

My attached pictures clearly show that the rear axle beam rusted from the inside out, offering no indication that a failure was imminent. And my van is garage kept!

That's my story. I'm having my vehicle repaired at a Ford dealer so that (hopefully) when there is a recall on this part, I will (hopefully) get reimbursed. Thank God no one was injured.

Update from Jul 15, 2010: So, I had some conversations with the Ford folks, and here is what transpired:

In my e-mail conversations with the Customer Relationship Center of Ford, I asked them if the rear axle beam of my 2002 Ford Windstar is considered a normal wear and tear part? Their reply was "In reference with your question if the rear axle beam on your 2002 Ford Windstar considered a normal wear and tear part, please note that as we are not involved in parts related information, your servicing Ford Dealership is in the best position to address that. Resources are available exclusively to our dealerships directly from Ford Motor Company where answers may be obtained."

I had the rear axle repaired at my local Ford Dealer and picked up my van on 7/8/10. I asked for the broken rear axle to take home. One of the service managers and a technician helped me load the axle into my van. I asked, "So, is this considered a wear and tear part like shocks, brakes and wiper blades?" The service manager said, "no" and the technician said, "It's not suppose to be". I gestured to the parts on the floor and said, "Evidently, it is".

In conclusion, I was told by the Customer Relationship Center of Ford to ask my Ford Dealership if my rear axle is considered a normal wear and tear part. I did so, and was told by a service manager and a Ford technician that the rear axle is not considered a normal wear and tear part. Therefore, I must conclude that the rear axle is a part of the vehicle that should last the lifetime of the vehicle, but this is my own conclusion, and, the reason for filing this complaint.

- , Souderton, PA, USA

problem #18

Jun 152010

Windstar LE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,600 miles

I thought my broken axle was special, but I see from this webpage that I'm just another cog in Ford's machine. Yup, it made a sharp bang noise once in a while when I turned - but I'm a soccer mom... who knows what's lurking under those back seats...petrified french fries, soccer balls, a cannon ball that only makes noise when I turn.

I drove home from the Dells with 4 pre-teens & and an 85lb wet dog... if I heard that noise, I'm sure it just blended in with the beat of Lady Gaga and the howls from the back. It was 150 miles of Gaga, Miley and whats-his-name Bieber. Was making pretty good time too - 6 bladders all in sinc, not a single potty stop (our record is 4). No traffic, no lookyloos, we were making record time!

We got off the highway and I made an agressive mom move - I passed a putt putt truck just before the road narrowed from 4 lanes to 2, and KABLUEY. It sounded like a firecracker went off under the van and then we were doing the waltzing matilda. I felt like I was in one of those weight reduction machines my mom had in 1972. We shaked rattled and rolled. Girls screaming, dog howling... ok, not really. They were quiet for the first time all day.

I pulled on to the side of the road, thinking I'd blown a tire and found my car now resembled a bad tinkertoy - rear tires cambered in, scratch marks on the black top. And a very obvious axle lying in the dirt, just mocking me and my bladder.

So the Idot guys came and directed traffic, friends picked us up, dirty laundry, ipods and all and it seemed like the adventure was over.

But nooooooo. I found that I'm not teh first. I'm not even the second. In the world of cool breakdowns, I am number 292 according to In fact I'm # 15 in June! That's right - almost 1.4 Windstar axles break EVERY DAY and Ford doesn't think there's thing wrong.

I put on my mamabear hat and called Ford - not the "very nice, but can't help you" customer service folks - I called the executive office. Now, I'm grateful for the $500 they offered toward my bill, but I'm still ticked! I don't want to be IN a Windstar and I certainly don't want to be BEHIND one when their axle decides to take a powder and they do the shimmy to the side of the road. I learned how to drive in "adverse" conditions (dad was a safety engineer) but not everyone has (witness the Windstar driver who managed to roll her Windstar TWICE after the axle broke). But fear not, Ford says that the rear axle doesn't affect your ability to control the vehicle. The hell it doesn't.

It was like driving on a washboard dirt road after an ice storm in a 1976 banana yellow Honda rollerskate...without the $10 riding on whether you could get through it without spinning...but I digress.

Hey Gov't Folks - this is (another) accident waiting to happen. You opened the investigation on May 10 w 234 incidents. You've had 57 more in just 41 days - you don't need four months to see that this is a problem. Make Ford turn over their repair data and get this recall DONE.

- , Deer Park, IL, USA

problem #17

Jun 152010

Windstar LE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,600 miles

My axle broke yesterday while returning from a 150 mile trip. I was lucky that it broke on a side road, and not on the highway.

According to, the NHTSA ( opened an investigation on May 10, 2010 with 234 complaints of broken axles on 1999-2003 Windstars. It's because the axle is a "U" shape, with holes that allow salt water (in winter) to get inside the axle and rust it from the inside out.

Ford will not help repair my car because it's out of warranty. I have contacted my local news "investigative reporters".

It only takes a few minutes to file a report w/ NHTSA - I encourage everyone to do so, in hopes of a recall. No one has been killed YET but I can easily see a broken axle causing a fatal accident.

- , Deer Park, IL, USA

problem #16

Jun 182010

Windstar SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

Driving on the parkway, 50 miles an hour. With no warning I heard a thump and my car started spinning out of control. My axel snapped in half. I nearly flipped over. It was scary. I had it towed and need to have the axle replaced. I came online to get an idea of the cost and instead of finding out what to expect the cost will be I found out that this is a reoccurring problem. There needs to be an investigation!!

- , Kings Park, NY, USA

problem #15

Jun 052010

Windstar LX 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 151,000 miles

had read about this. left van with my mechanic. Sure enough- axle is cracked. Called three Ford service centers. All clueless about problem existing. Any hope for a recall as of yet?

- , Rocky Point, NY, USA

problem #14

Apr 082010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

You would think Ford would want to address this problem before someone is hurt or killed.

- , Hermitage, PA, USA

problem #13

Mar 252010

Windstar 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

Wife driving on the highway with my daughter, when she noticed the back end swerving back and forth. She said it was hard to keep the car straight, as if there had been a blowout. When she was able to pull over, she noticed a burning rubber smell, and called me.

When I arrived at the vans location, the back wheels were both caved in, with the tops rubbing against the inside of the wheel well. Amazed, I looked under the car and saw the rear axle was completely broken, almost dead center. What is even more amazing is the number of similar complaints I found when I checked the internet. Google images yielded numerous pictures of broken axles that looked exactly the same as mine.

The van being eight years old, with 100,000+ miles, I normally would have opted for a salvage axle. But since this seems to be a recurring problem, I decided not to risk it and had a local body shop install a new axle.

You should expect various failures with a vehicle of this age and this amount of miles. Until now, this has been a very reliable van (original owner).

Fortunately my wife is very level headed, not prone to panic, and the traffic that day was light. Under different circumstances, this could have had horrific results. Rear axles should not simply break in two. Even if the van had been subject to abuse (which it has not), there are many many other components that should have failed before the axle. I feel a failure of this level needs to be addressed by Ford, there most certainly needs to be a recall.

- , Vandalia, OH, USA

problem #12

Mar 232010

Windstar SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles


- , Piscataway, NJ, USA

problem #11

Mar 152010

Windstar 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

Just driving down the road and on left turns heard unusual noises coming from the rear of the vehicle. Returned to work and looked under the car and visibly saw that the rear axle had cracked and split in half. The right rear wheel was cocked into the fender well where the tire was rubbing on the inside of the well and had worn the tire to the white wall. So far the cost of repair has been minimal - 125.00 (for towing and weld on axle) but I haven't taken it in to the dealership to have the complete repair estimated. I'm sure it's not going to be cheap as all parts have to be shipped to the island and paid for prior to installation.

- , Christiansted, Virgin Islands, USA

problem #10

Mar 152010

Windstar SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

My wife told me she heard a rubbing noise in the rear of her van. I quickly noticed the left rear wheel was tilted in from the top. My first thought was what a broken tie rod end looks like on the front of a rear wheel drive car. I thought since this Windstar is front wheel drive, it is probably a worn wheel bearing or some sort of broken control arm. I jacked it up and tried to wiggle the wheel. No play in the wheel, so I pulled the tire. After inspection, I was amazed to see the axle was almost completely broken about 8 inches left of center. I figured she must of hit a major pot hole or something. She says she did not. I can see when mechanical parts fail or wear out, but why would an axle just break under normal driving? I'm relieved that this did not result in an accident.

- , Mount Vernon, OH, USA

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