really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
32,317 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 steering problems

steering problem

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1998 Ford Windstar Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #29

Apr 262016


  • 200,000 miles


The contact owns a 1998 Ford Windstar. The contact stated that the vehicle was leaking power steering fluid. The contact stated that the vehicle needed approximately one bottle of power steering fluid per day for it to operate normally. The failure occurred without warning. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who stated that the spindle and rack fractured and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign number: 97V165000 (steering); however, the VIN was not included. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 200,000.

- Sandusky, OH, USA

problem #28

Dec 232013


  • miles
The contact owns a 1998 Ford Windstar. The contact stated that he recently had his vehicle state inspected by an independent mechanic. The vehicle passed inspection but the following day the vehicle could not be driven. The vehicle was towed back to the independent mechanic who stated the "steering knuckle" had to be replaced at the owners expense. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and mentioned there were no open recalls on the vehicle. The approximate failure mileage was 180,354.

- Manchester, NH, USA

problem #27

Feb 042012

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 54,000 miles
While driving my 1998 Windstar @ 45mph, I lost total steering control of my vehicle and my vehicle veered into the oncoming lane of a two lane highway. I was able to regain control after turning the steering wheel approx 360 degrees to the right and managed to stop safely. After further investigation, it was found that the drivers side lower control arm bracket that is welded to the subframe broke away from the subframe due to a rusted out subframe. I've owned this vehicle for the past 8 years and never received any information from Ford regarding this safety issue as noted in the 1999-2003 Ford Windstar recall which has the same issue as my vehicle. Although Ford is not going to honor a subframe recall for my year vehicle, Ford should at least send a notification letter to inform owners of this dangerous issue. Both my wife and kids drive this vehicle, but had I at least known there was a dangerous issue with this vehicle, I would have parked it.

- Brownstown, MI, USA

problem #26

Dec 232011

Windstar 6-cyl

  • miles


While driving on the highway at 60mph, I lost control of my vehicle and it started to fishtail and swerve into the next lane as I tried to regain control it spun around and flipped over upside down on top of the guard rail and landed facing traffic. I received minor injuries and my three children were not injured. I was informed that the rear axle snapped in half on my vehicle and that there is a recall on this part. I never received a notice in regards to this.

- Owego, NY, USA

problem #25

May 202011

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 142,000 miles
Popping in front end when turning or hitting bumps. The popping sound was often. Had new tires put on, and when I took it in to have front end aligned. Ford tech. Said front springs were broke. Was an est. Of $1200 on it can't afford. This was 5/20/2011. Contacted mfr about the recall that was issued on this part 7/12/2001. Was told there was nothing they could do, because of a time limit. How can they put a time limit on safety & peoples lives because the springs are broken, they can puncture the tires and cause an accident. Now we are without transportation. And my son is disabled and has numerous dr. Appts. Miles away. But my hands are tied. The mfr. Did advise to have another recall checked out which is the speed control because it can catch fire. When I asked why, you just told me it was unsafe to drive.he advised it could catch fire just setting in the drive not running. I was not notified of either one of these recalls by mail or other wise until I called to complain about the front coil springs. How does these billion dollar company's keep getting by with negligence? there are lots of recalls on this vehicle. Please help!

- Hoopeston, IL, USA

problem #24

Nov 152010

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 81,250 miles
1998 Ford Windstar has rusted engine subframe, which, if lets go would cause side axle and front tire to separate from van and cause loss of steering control, loss of braking, and possible accident.this was discovered while van was on ramp for oil change. Received recall on rear axle cracking and recall was done today by Ford. Brought subframe problem to the dealers attention and they stated that Ford was fully aware of this problem but could do nothing about it because Ford had not issued a recall on this time. The service station owner which did my oil change expressed an opinion that he felt that the front subframe rusting was indeed much more of a concern than the cracking of the rear axle which has been recalled by Ford. At present I am afraid to drive my Windstar with this structural defect and I feel Ford should remedy this defect in the same manner that they did with the cracking rear axle.

- St. John's, Nl,Canada A1e4y3, 00, USA

problem #23

Nov 092010


  • 120,000 miles


I own a 1998 Ford Windstar(manufacture date Aug..1997. I have been having problems for a while. My van was making a whining grinding noise. Gear is hard to get out of park bad popping noise when backing up...replaced all 4 wheel bearings and both tie rod ends..still making a bad whining noise.3 days ago I was driving down the highway and the steering started acting weird and shaking and the back of the van started swaying back and forth.. was told at the shop about the recall on axel I called Ford and was told my van is not on the list my van has a excessive amount of corrosion throughout the whole bottom the shop told me this van has been exposed to salt. When I bought the van it had a inspection sticker from previous owner from one of the recall states.(pens) Ford would not give me any information onwhat state it was sold in or dealer, what brand of axel that was being recalled (said they didn't know the brand) come on what company spends money on parts and don't even know the brand or manufacture they buy from. I'm scared to death to drive this automobile.. I think Ford should honor there promise to its customers and fix this problem on all 1997-2003 Windstar not just certain months of 1997 or does someone have to lose there life before they do something? Ford>>> you took our money for your product now stand behind your product.

- Quitman, MS, USA

problem #22

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 #21

Apr 192006


  • miles
The contact owns a 1998 Ford Windstar. The contact stated that he has been experiencing steering failure ever since the vehicle was purchased. He hears loud, squeaky noises everytime he turns the steering wheel. The vehicle has been repaired by a private mechanic approximately five times, but the failure still persists. His VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign id number 97V165000 (steering:gear box:shaft sector). The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 120,000.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #20

Sep 232003

Windstar 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles
Right after purchasing the vehicle, I started having problem with it. I addressed the seller, and he told me that the vehicle had no warranty, and so that I should just take the vehicle and take care of the problem by myself. I have had numerous of problems with this vehicle. When I purchased the vehicle, I feel I was used because I am poor, and was desperate for a vehicle. Other people that have purchased a vehicle from them have had the same problem. I don't know what actions can be taken to correct the matter any longer. I haven't given a payment for about 4 months, because I have had to fix the vehicle. Mainly transmission and electrical problems. I have also had steering wheel problems, and tire problems.

- Mcminville, OR, USA

problem #19

Dec 151999


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,930 miles


A/C Oct. 99 $168.98, Dec. 99 $134.40 suspension July 01 $664.61, Dec. 99 $515.85, Jun 01 $61.78, body Jun 01 $443.61 other cd player Jun 01 $19.50 and $366.86 turn signal Jan 02 $161.04 dome light Jan 02 $84.02 Jan 02 $89.72 door Oct 99 $134.52, Mar 03 $285.07 steering Sept.02 $258.82, Mar. 03 $569.32 computer controls Sept. 00 $106.02 engine Jan 02 $784.75 coolant smell (found front cover gasket leaking) Sept. 02 $85.95 (told throttle body worn out, sold me update computer software, seams to run better) currently in shop for check engine light and A/C system intermittent. Mechanic found engine problem, says main bearings or crankshaft bad, possibly due to coolant in oil system from January 02 problem

- Fargo, ND, USA

problem #18

May 152001


  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles
This van has all the defects and complaints listed on thegovt. Recalls the NHTSA site and others ihave too much info to put on this site if there is anyone I can send my complaint to please let me know iam putting it back into the shop again ive been thru a nightmare along with trying to assure my 4 kids that they were safe in this van thankyou angela wallace and by the wat the dealer that sold me this van will not cooperate at all

- Phippsburg, ME, USA

problem #17

Jul 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
I bought this van because of the clean condition of it. I have the 3.0 ltr engine which has been excellent. The transmission so far is ok. Steering is a dangerous mess with almost everything new and 3 alignments. If you take your eyes off the road even for a second you can end up in a ditch. My wife & I both went off the road in a 1 month span. We both have excellent driving records. The front end seems ok to Ford. Something serious is wrong with the steering. Won"T let my wife drive it anymore. Has a little vibration that you cannot get rid of. Sending this to you because I called Ford and they said there was no safety recall or any steering issues with that van. Had a service bulletin in front of me at that time stating there was. But that is not the problem. Ford denied the all of the above. Am afraid to sell to someone because I think someone will get hurt. Don"T know why Ford keeps putting in the same bad parts year after year. I have had all the dome light problems and door locks etc. They will still say no problems. Bought it used at a good price thinking it was a bad tire causing the problems. If accident occurs will seek damages

- Alton, MO, USA

problem #16

Sep 122003

(reported on)

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles
Problems with transmission, torque, power steering, and front end stable rods & arms. The transmission and torque had been replaced twice, the power steering once, the font end stable rods and arms twice and remained bad. The battery light had come on and the idler pulley was replaced, there was a creaking/cracking noise when turning the wheel and the outer tie rods were replaced along with the toe being reset, there was a clunk when going over the bumps, there was a vibration underneath due to the transmission, the engine light would come on and off and seemed like the shifts were erratic, the transmission leaked badly, and on some occasions the starter did not engage.

- Freeland, MD, USA

problem #15

Aug 042003

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles
While steering, this vehicle tends to almost jump while driving and turning around any type of corner. I have to over compensate so as not to veer toward that direction. It happens all the time and is very dangerous. Consequently, I have to take the vehicle to my mechanic to get his evaluation?

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #14

Apr 122003


  • miles
When tilting the steering wheel windshield wipers would not work. Dealer notified.

- Beaverton, MI, USA

problem #13

Jan 222003


  • miles
The steering wheel was difficult to turn.

- Red Bluff, CA, USA

problem #12

Jan 242003

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Power steering pump, steering control system and rack defective has to be replced, rack and pinion was replaced already with only 30,000 miles

- Marlton, NJ, USA

problem #11

Aug 192002

(reported on)


  • miles
Consumer states the vehicle has steering problems.

- Colonia, NJ, USA

problem #10

Jun 192002

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Steering pump and rack and pinion failed.

- Ballwin, MO, USA

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