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
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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Ford Windstar:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Ford Windstar Owner Comments (Page 1 of 5)

problem #99

Aug 252016


  • 225,000 miles


I was driving at hwy speed and RPM's went up and car slowed down.stopped and tried shifting gears no luck/movement.had car towed.transmission wiped out second time in 14 months.Ford needs to step up.

- Foley, AL, USA

problem #98

Jul 092016


  • 150,000 miles
Rear axle broke in half while driving, ( backing up in driveway) my 2003 Ford Windstar

- Amery, WI, USA

problem #97

Feb 032016


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Windstar. The contact stated that the engine cooling indicator became trapped in the speedometer and gear shifter area, causing the gear shifter not to engage in park. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the instrument panel needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 50,000.

- Hanahan, SC, USA

problem #96

Nov 252015


  • 96,010 miles


I just bought this car one week ago with 96000 miles on it. Because I previously got a 1995 Windstar with ax4S transmission, running over 190000 miles without any transmission issues. I then bought the 2003 car with relatively low mileage and hope it would last the similar length. This 2003 car is with 4F50N transmission. Both ax4S and 4F50N transmission are similar in design and dimensions but they perform totally different. Every time during the first week of driving the 2003 car, there were always a harsh reverse when the engine was warm after driving a few miles. I had to pump the gas to reach a high RPM just to gain a little reverse action. That makes me temporarily to park the car with the front facing the driving lane at shopping plaza. But I could still carry out the reverse action on the driveway during the morning while the engine is cold. It may not be the mechanical problem but the hydraulic issue inside the transmission.there must be something wrong with some not-up-to-the-spec internal transmission components that are temperature sensitive with warm transmission fluid, thus affecting the normal operation of certain components for their intended performance. I will bring the car for the mechanic check up soon. Ford designs, buys parts from suppliers, manufactures, fabricates, sell, and service this car. Ford should bear the responsibility to address this problem and initiate some actions such as notices, warnings, or recall to correct the problem and give consumers the confidence in their product.

- Holmdel, NJ, USA

problem #95

Aug 032015


  • 250,000 miles
My wife was driving the car in the country and heard noises when going over bumps. When she smelled something burning she stopped. Discovered the rear axle had split where it had been beefed up with brackets after Ford's 10S13 recall. Ford is saying we have to pay $300 to make repairs on an issue that appears to us to be a design/manufacturing flaw, for which there has been 3 recalls issued (if I understand it correctly). I don't understand why we should have to pay?

- Manistee, MI, USA

problem #94

Jul 082015


  • 87,343 miles
2003 Ford Windstar transmission completely failed at 87343 miles. I have seen thousands of reports on 2003 Ford Windstar transmissions failing under 70K miles. Transmissions should be recalled.

- San Tan Valley, AZ, USA

problem #93

May 092015


  • 118,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Windstar. While driving at various speeds, the transmission failed. The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 118,000.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #92

Mar 262015

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 175,000 miles
After looking up all of the service reports on this vehicle, I am beginning to recognize that Ford has some explaining to do. We have a large amount of service reports on our vehicle alone that our dealership is not reporting. We have paid more for service repairs than we did paying for the vehicle. Our ac/heat just clicks w/O working, power windows front and rear do not work, power door locks, leaking roofs, leaking doors, ABS lights on, engine lights on, traction control light on, engine sputters even after two complete old fashioned tune-ups, cowl broken, front and rear axles severely cracked, sub-frame cracked, rear wiper does not work properly, brakes need constant repairs, electrical shorts everywhere, head lights, fog lights, brake lights all need constant replacements, alternator was replaced 6 times in one day because they were all faulty, brake switch under brake pedal needs constant replacement, constant wheel alignments, wheel sensors missing or broken, power seat broke and the dealership told us that it was petty to have it fixed even with a height difference between drivers, control modules replaced, multiple expensive sensor failures, spark plugs with wires replaced at least twice, starter replaced, parking brake needs to be watched for slippage because it can't hold on hills, interior lights blink in a pattern while driving, can't haul it's own tailgate, battery replaced multiple times by dealership, power mirror switch broke, many more expensive repairs have been done at our cost, P0302, P0305, P0316, C1235, C1185, C1198, C1194, C1254, C1246, C1250, C1242, C1214, C1210, C1103, C1410, C1404, B1318. We were told by many service departments a while back that these codes were not important. They cleared the codes every time. Their response to these codes were to clear them every single time. We only have one vehicle and this is it. I am a mom w/children.

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #91

Mar 232015

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
Rear axle recall was inspected in 2/17/2011 by the dealer and was noted no cracks and just put some brackets. Today 3/23/2015 went for a state inspection to the same dealer and failed due to crack in the rear axle(that was once recalled). Now dealer/Ford states that the recall was once managed, and no longer responsible for further issues... if an item was recalled, it should be fixed without cost. Please address this with Ford. Thank you

- Cheltenham, PA, USA

problem #90

Jan 222015

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 137,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Windstar. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 40 mph, there was a pothole on the road, which was driven over. The contact noticed that the rear drivers side wheel fractured and was detached from the axle. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the rear axle fractured. The vehicle was not repaired. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 12V193000 (power train) however, the recall remedy failed to repair the vehicle. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 137,000. Updated 4/15/15

- Sloatsburg, NY, USA

problem #89

Jan 042015

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 129,381 miles


My spouse was driving our 2003 Ford Windstar home from church and while turning right onto our street the transmission failed, no longer powering the vehicle. She coasted to a stop in front of our home. I had the vehicle towed to a local transmission repair shop and was told by the mechanic that this is a very common problem in Ford Windstar and that he has had to prematurely replace many of these transmissions. We were very lucky during this incident. It could have easily happened on the interstate highway and caused a severe crash, injuries or death. Ford customer relations informed me they had no recall actions underway for this problem on my vehicle, but to save any receipts in case there was a future reimbursement/recall effort.

- Yorktown, VA, USA

problem #88

Oct 222014

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 198,897 miles
I was on a 65 mph highway and had to stop for a stoplight. When the light turned green, I put my foot on the gas and nothing happened. I put in 2 then 1 and then reverse and nothing happened. I had put my hazard lights on as I was afraid of being at a green light and getting rear ended with the other car going at least 65 mph. I proceeded to shut the van off, turn it back on and put it in drive and it jerked forward, but I could tell the transmission was slipping and the O/D light started flashing on and off and the check transmission light came on. I had to continue to shut the vehicle off and turn it back on to get it to a safe place where I finally had to be towed home. I had my 14 year old daughter with me and had we been hit from behind, we both could have died.

- Otsego, MN, USA

problem #87

Nov 082014


  • miles
I have a 2003 Windstar Ford mini van. About 2 1/2 years ago they put a patch fix on the rear axle that was so when the axle breaks instead of the wheels separating it holds it together. Well recently I was on my way to a major highway I thought my brakes locked up, but in actuality the patch fix broke and so did my axle. So a big thankyou for almost killing my 2 children in the back seat, does Ford motors care? no they don't! because when I called the dealership they said Ford is aware of this ongoing problem with numerous complaints and will not fix it again. But I can buy another part for $800. If they are aware of the problem and the patch was not a safe fix then why bother at all! I feel this company should put their children in the back seat and then maybe they would actually care to find a safe fix.

- Carbondale, PA, USA

problem #86

Jul 082014

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
A few days after buying the van the ABS light started coming on, it goes on and off. My interior lights have flashed on and off, my passenger window no longer works! and the gear shifter is loose and sometimes hard to get into park.

- Thurman, IA, USA

problem #85

Jul 302014


  • 137,000 miles
April, noticed that cruise control not working 100% of time - not engaging and not disengaging!! opted not to use it anymore. July, ABS and brake light on and didn't shut off while in home garage. Shut van off, restarted it, lights off. August, lights seem to be coming on with more frequency. Doesn't seem to be speed related. September, ABS and brake light coming on more frequently. Seems to reset (for short time) after shut van off. October, had brake system checked. Disc rotor - R&R; control arm w/ ball joint - lower - front suspension; rear brakes serviced; brake fluid flush. Thought that would have "fixed" everything however less than 10 days later, the ABS and brake lights are coming on again while driving. Turn van off, turn back on - lights reset - until next time I drive it!! after reading through, realize that the two might be related. Safety is a must!!

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #84

Jun 092012


  • 125,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Windstar. The contact stated that water was entering into the transmission. While at a stop light, the vehicle failed to accelerate and the rpms increased. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic who rebuilt the transmission. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 125,000.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #83

Aug 302014

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 111,545 miles
Transmission failure, van will not shift into any gear, forward, reverse, 2,1.

- Mason, OH, USA

problem #82

Jul 082014

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
Brake light and ABS lights are on, brakes are fine, fluid level is fine, but light is on. ABS now not working. Speedometer does not go above 40 mph until driven at least 3 miles, this is also causing the cruise control to not work smoothly. Transmission is not shifting into overdrive, transmission is clean and working. All of these issues began within a few weeks of each other.

- Avon, NY, USA

problem #81

Aug 022014


  • 78,500 miles
While driving lost all power to transmission. Car would start but not move in any gear. Code scanner shows no codes, engine light does not stay lit. Mechanic's guess in torque converter. Seems to be a too common problem.

- Hampton, VA, USA

problem #80

Feb 012014


  • 10,000 miles
When driving up hills the "od off" transmission light will begin to flash and though I depress the button on the shifter the light will not stop flashing. Only way to make it stop is when I turn he car off and then turn the vehicle back on.

- Santa Barbara , CA, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?