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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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
103,533 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.

2003 Ford Windstar drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Ford Windstar Owner Comments (Page 5 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #19

Nov 302011

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 132,871 miles


I have had no transmission issues with my 2003 Ford Windstar van. I drove home from work early this morning (3:30am.) I went to leave for an appointment at noon on the same day, and nothing. I started my van, attempted to put it in gear and nothing!! no warning, no nothing!! I have never towed with this vehicle (it doesn't even have a hitch, ) the total weight of people riding in it has been 350 pounds. There has been no stress on this engine as I don't live in mountainess areas. I am a single mom of 4 little kids, receiving no child support, working pt, just able to pay the bills, and Ford needs to fix this issue!! I have also had numerous other 'problems' but nothing so major the vehicle couldn't be driven (interior lights flashing, blender door actuator going out 3X in a year, rough ideal especially when cold, back door handles not working from inside, back doors so hard to open and close, I can hardly do it, back wiper worked one day then just stopped and hasn't worked since, one back window opens and closes only when it feels like it. I also just put $70 in gas in this vehicle! ugh!!

- Ham Lake, MN, USA

problem #18

Nov 072011

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 100,054 miles
On Monday, November 7, 2011, my wife was heading to work. She stopped at a red light. When the traffic signal turned green, she hit the gas and the car would not move. The RPM's would go up and the engine would rev up as if it was in neutral. This was the case in all gears. This could have been potentially dangerous since traffic approaching the signal are driving at 50+ mph. Luckily, a few passers by helped my wife push the van into a local parking lot. We had it towed to a transmission shop and they are now rebuilding it for about $2,000. Due to the number of complaints about the transmissions on these vans, I believe this should be a recall issued by Ford. I believe there should be some reimbursement for these costs I am paying for repairs. There was no indication (I.e.: knocking sounds, slipping, etc.) prior to the transmission failure.

- Forked River, NJ, USA

problem #17

Nov 112011


  • 120,000 miles
Drove the van to work without incident or any imminent warning of vehicle problems. As soon as I stopped and put the van in park, I heard a loud noise and different sound coming from the engine. When getting ready to leave work for home, I started the van and proceeded to place it in reverse and the van didn't wouldn't move regardless of the transmission selector position. There was a loud whine coming from the engine compartment.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #16

Dec 232010


  • 101,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Windstar. The contact stated that the vehicle was experiencing numerous failures with the ABS, brake light illumination, slow gear shifting and power windows and door lock failures. The manufacturer was contacted and advised that there were no recalls for the vehicle. The manufacturer denied any assistance with repairs to the vehicle. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer to be diagnosed or repaired. The failure mileage was 101,000 and the current mileage was 104,000.

- Gulfport, MS, USA

problem #15

Sep 192011


  • 82,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Windstar. The contact stated the vehicle would not shift into drive or reverse. The contact was stopped at a light and when attempting to accelerate, the engine rpms increased excessively but the vehicle would not accelerate. The contact tried putting the vehicle in reverse but to no avail. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer and was told that the transmission failed and needed to be replaced. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 82,000.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #14

Sep 072011


  • miles
I was parked outside my home.I went out to my van to go pick up dinner and to my distress, the van wouldn't reverse or go forward. After some investigation from online source and auto mechanics, this is an ongoing problem with Ford's transmissions. No warning of a the past weeks, my interior lights would come on while im driving. This van is a hazard. You really need to investigate this please.

- Saint Ouis, MO, USA

problem #13

Aug 012011


  • 89,000 miles


Transmission failure. Driving in reverse out of my warning lights or noise...transmission stopped. Car will now not move. Cannot shift into drive or reverse...huge expense that we do not have the money for..very unhappy with this Ford mini-van.

- Lisle, NY, USA

problem #12

Jul 232011


  • 46,988 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Windstar. The contact stated that while driving approximately 60 mph, the vehicle stalled and the tacometer began to display a high reading. The vehicle would not restart and was towed to an authorized dealer, who stated that the failure was due to the transmission. The dealer also stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacture was notified, but offered no assistance and stated that there were no recalls related to the failure. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileages were 46,988. Updated 10/27/11 updated 3/27/12

- Mililani, HI, USA

problem #11

Jul 242011


  • 102,480 miles
Traveling 65 miles an hour on I-96 eastbound, outside of the detroit area. Sudden loss of all powertrain function. Able to come to a complete stop on the right shoulder. Engine runs fine, and will go into park.

- Royal Oak, MI, USA

problem #10

May 012011


  • 128,000 miles
Transmission failed completely. Right in the middle of driving up a hill. Luckily we were far enough up that it coasted to the top. All gears failed on the trans, D/2/1/R. this is very dangerous, it could have happened while crossing an intersection or worse.. I have found that great amounts of people are having the same issue, it is almost a given now that the trans on this van will fail. Ford should be made to recall this problem. Cost to me for replacement is $3000.

- Palmerton, PA, USA

problem #9

Dec 172010

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 82,300 miles


Transmission reverse failure. I now have no reverse. Cost to rebuild is $2,200 from durabild transmission. I have not repaired the transmission for I do not have the cash to repair it and hoping there was a recall on this part also, since there is 5 other recalls on the 2003 Ford Windstar mini-van. Since this is my only vehicle, I'm using it currently with no reverse. I have found over 100 other transmission complaints for this model and year located at this link... I have found on-line that transmission problems have occurred with previous Windstar model years and seem to be still happening even though corrections were attempted. Below is a link to wikipedia and tranny problems can be found listed under problems... I currently have made a recalls appointment for this coming thurs. With a Ford dealer. I believe these Windstar were lemons and glad Ford does not build mini-vans any more. I will never buy a Ford again!!! thank you for your attention to this matter.

- Nashua, NH, USA

problem #8

Feb 202011


  • 63,028 miles
Complete failure of transmission with no visible or audible warning. Transmission changed per Ford spec as well as the rest of the fluids. There is a high rate of failure of this component according to a number of independent reporting agencies via the web. The transmission in a 2003 Windstar seems to be particularly prone to very early and unacceptable failure. I am extremely thankful that the transmission failed at stop and not during operation with my wife and 4 kids in it. From other reports via independent reporting agencies, we were fortunate.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #7

Jul 012010

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 149,990 miles
I took my car in to Ford due to a failure in the instrument panel. My speedometer was spinning and "stuck" in an approximate 5:00 O'clock addition, my prndl needle "stuck" in the park position and would not move. On top of this, my ABS/brake lights were coming on and off sporadically and occasionally smelled like something burning. The Ford dealer replaced my instrument cluster and attempted to fix the ABS/brake light problem. The "fix" didn't last more than two weeks...the ABS/brake light is back to going on and off. According to the information that they gave me, the parts are no longer available for the ABS/brake light repair...they assured me that my service brakes still worked. In the process, I have been told about recalls to the 2003 Ford Windstar for similar problems in other vehicles, however, I was told that these recalls didn't pertain to me. If I am experiencing the same problems that others are having and they are getting their repairs fixed at no charge to themselves, why am I paying for repairs for the same problem items"?????? the sway bar links on my Windstar were also repaired along with the bushings...again...another recall that seems to have been issued but I was told that "it didn't apply to me". now I have my Windstar in the shop, again, because the transmission pump exploded and damaged the transmission. No warning, no check engine light, nothing. How much of an additional expense is this going to be???? oh, I did receive the recall notice for the rear axle...that will be checked right after I get my car back from having the transmission repaired. Why are some vehicles covered and others aren't??" if it affects a 2003 Ford Windstar, it should be all of them, not just some of them.

- West Chicago, IL, USA

problem #6

Oct 282010


  • 88,757 miles
2003 Ford Windstar rear axle ready to break. Ford says it is not part of the recall even tough our dealer documented the problem.

- Laconia, NH, USA

problem #5

Oct 192010

Windstar 6-cyl

  • miles
Sit down, get a coffee, because you will be reading a book. I purchased a 2003 Ford Windstar, with 20,000 miles, in 2005. I've had nothing but major problems. In 12/2008 with 87,205 miles the transmission went, that was $2013, then in 3-2009 check engine light, had to replace gaskets, that cost $500, . then in 10/15/2010 I had to bring van in for different sensors, and ABS light, and emergency brake light kept coming on. That was. That was $232. Then on 10/19/2010 brought van in to the Ford dealer, because none of my gauges work, letting me know how fast I'm going, or how much gas I have. They say it is the gauge cluster, that's $500 alone not including labor, they inform me I have a hole in the left rear axle, and I have to leave the van there, and I may also need a new alternator, and it may takes weeks for the part to come in. That's not including other miner repairs along the way. The best part of all. I still have 6 payments left. What rights do I have? I can't believe all the major issues. They should take this van, and give me a different one. Not a Ford. I told you, that you were reading a book.

- Westhampton, MA, USA

problem #4

Jun 152010


  • 97,139 miles
My 2003 Ford Windstar keep showing system information error and ABS, brake light, od offlights stays on. This normally starts after about two to three minutes into driving.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #3

Nov 142008


  • 106,000 miles
I have a 2003 Ford Windstar that I purchased at the end of September 2008 from a local Ford dealership. In November, the ABS and brake light started intermittently coming on the dash. I currently have the van at the dealership for a transmission repair and had them look at this problem. They have told me that the ABS hydraulic module is bad and needs to be replaced. After doing some research, I have seen that this is a known problem by Ford and they have yet to do anything about it. The brakes still function like normal, but the ABS system does not work due to this problem. I understand that they do not want to fix this since the brakes will still technically work, but as this is a fire hazard I am shocked that they have not been directed to fix this problem. I was quoted $1,200 for the module by the dealership which I just can not afford to spend the money on right now. I will search on the net for a new module, hopefully, at a lower price and replace it myself. Ford needs to be held accountable for their products and they should be forced by the government to correct this problem.

- Crestview, FL, USA

problem #2

Oct 112003

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10 miles
We own a 2003 Ford Windstar van. Ever since we have had the van after running at cruising speed the engine will not idle down. We have taken it to the dealer several times but they could not fix it. Being a former Ford tech. I tried to fix it my self and replaced the tps sensor with no luck. No matter where you set the idle speed the problem will come back. We have been dealing with problem for three years now and are growing very tired. Not only is this dangerous it is wearing out brakes faster. It seems to be an electronic problem where the computer will not lower the idle. I have checked the throttle cable and throttle valve and nothing is binding. I can't blame the mechanic at the dealership, I blame Ford. I hope this can be corrected before someone gets hurt. I bought this van so I would not have to worry about my wife and kids.

- Alabaster, AL, USA

problem #1

Oct 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50 miles
Purchased vehicle 10/17pm with 50 miles registered on odometer. Driving the car home from king's Ford, the engine light came on and the shifting was rough upon starting and stopping the car. The overdrive light was also flashing on and off. 10/18 am, the Windstar was taken back to king's Ford service where 2 diagnostic checks showed transmission trouble.

- Harrison, OH, USA

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