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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
81,748 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Ford Windstar Owner Comments (Page 5 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #13

Sep 042006

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


I own 2003 Ford Windstar, serviced by the Ford dealership. At 70,000 miles while driving on the freeway, the overdrive indicator light started flashing. Within an hour the transmission failed altogether, no forward or reverse gears. The teardown revealed a failed torque converter, input shaft support bearings, and burnt out intermediate clutch pack. The vehicle is at the Ford dealership having its transaxles replaced completely as it is beyond repair. The industry standard for transaxles is a minimum of 120,000 miles between rebuilds. My research indicates this transaxles model, the Ford axod and its variants, has been the subject of a huge number of failures, which are reported to occur at approximately 70,000 miles. The failures are alternately attributed to various components, which lead me to believe that internal components which are unreliable have been used in its manufacturing.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #12

Jun 152006


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While making a right hand turn, the van made a noise like it was shifting out of gear, then the car stopped. I had no problems getting the gears to shift before or after. After the van stopped, would not move into any gear. I tried reverse, neutral, drive, D2 and D1 and the car would not move at all.

- Gahanna, OH, USA

problem #11

Apr 292006

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles
We own a 2003 Windstar and the transmission and power steering is going out of it. To me they should last longer than 60,000 miles.

- Hastings, NE, USA

problem #10

May 102005

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,712 miles


03 Windstar was parked on a slight incline with the engine running, A/C was on. My wife and I unloaded the children from both sides of the van (manual sliding doors) and I unloaded a stroller from the back of the van closing the tailgate. We placed items in our garage and I moved the kid's toys out of the way so I could pull the van in the garage. My wife needed help taking items in the house and I followed the children into the house. We heard a loud crash. I opened up the door to our garage to find our Windstar had engaged and drove up the drive, through the garage and into a deep freezer and refrigerator, pushing them both through the back wall of our home. The back wall of our house was moved 8 inches off the foundation and the appliances were crushed. The bumper and hood of the van was damaged. The van was idle and still running as it pushed against the appliances. I opened the driver door, took the van out of park and backed it out into the driveway and turned off the van. We are thankful that there were no injuries or deaths. The van was taken to a Ford dealer immediately. The Ford dealer was concerned and had three tech's look for issues. The tech rep's could not find any issues with the van and stated that it would be impossible for the vehicle to move forward while in park. In a professional manor they advised me to always turn a vehicle off and remove the key as well as set the parking brake prior to exiting the vehicle. I have a hard time understanding how the van was able to accelerate while in park but was witness to the results. The mechanics stated that strange failures can occur in any machine and confirmed that the van was safe to drive.

- Palmyra, PA, USA

problem #9

Feb 122005

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles
The transmission failed after 43,00 miles and had to be replaced. I spoke to a local aamco transmission store and they told me this was the fourth such problem with 2003 Windstar's they had seen in a month.

- Disputanta, VA, USA

problem #8

May 102004


  • miles
My wife was driving the Windstar on the highway when all of a sudden the car accelerated up to 80 mph by itself. By applying the brakes, she got it to a low enough speed to slam the transmission into park. The dealership said that the problem was fixed, but about 3 or 4 months later, it happened again. The dealership says that they fixed it again. But we refuse to ride in this death trap, and demand that they give us a new car among other things.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #7

Nov 052004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles


Simply driving on the highway, and attempted to set the cruise control. The engine began to race, and the transmission disengaged. Required new transmission to repair. This after only 49,000 miles. Transmission filter and fluid changed at 37,000 miles was not the problem. This vehicle also had the front wheel bearings replaced at 17,000 miles. This vehicle was not used for towing, primarily highway miles.

- Topeka, KS, USA

problem #6

Oct 052004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,556 miles
The consumer stated the vehicle was able to come out park without applying the brake. Provide additional information.

- Fort Sill, OK, USA

problem #5

Jun 282004

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 27,600 miles
I thought the van was in park and got out of the vehicle. It popped out of gear and started to roll back. I tried to get back into the vehicle but it rolled to fast and crushed my leg between the vehicle and a pole. After I was thrown from the vehicle it then started to go forward on an incline. The accident caused me to have surgery to repair a broken left leg. The vehicle was taken to freeway Ford where the found that the parking linking was out of adjustment causing it to pop out of gear. Parking linkage was adjusted.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #4

May 012003


  • miles
Nar 05/21/2003 the consumer has made two major safety related repairs (transmission, and steering pull) made to the vehicle over an 11 month period. Please review for further investigations.

- Sterling , VA, USA

problem #3

Jan 202004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50 miles


Consumer complained about two. First, the transmission will not shift properly when changing gears. This condition almost caused a rear end collision. Secondly, driver's side seat belt will not latch if any type of debris got inside of the buckle opening, leaving the driver without any restraint if the vehicle got involved in an accident.

- Lawrence, KS, USA

problem #2

Jan 272004

(reported on)

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
There were problems with the transmission and brake equipment on 2003 Ford Windstar. The transmission downshifted at a low speed, the vehicle locked up while pulling out of a parking space, loud grinding noises, and the brake pads jumped.

- Port Orange, FL, USA

problem #1

Jun 242003


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
There is a noise in the rear break drums caused by moisture. There was a noise in the rear brake. The dealer stated that the problem was due to moisture and not to worry. The transmission was problematic, and the rear brakes had started to not stop properly. The rear brakes were readjusted, and a new transmission was added. The noise in the brakes had returned.

- Port Orange, FL, USA

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