really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
214,637 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.

2002 Ford Windstar drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2002 Ford Windstar Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #38

May 012016


  • 25,000 miles


2002 Windstar recall I was driving down the road one day to find out all off all the shifters but neutral the van suddenly had stopped going we could not go in drive reverse or anything find out stuck in middle of intersection with cars coming our way this problem is still unknown

- Shrlbyville, TN, USA

problem #37

Apr 032016


  • 108,900 miles
April 3, 2016 while in motion on busy highway (I-96), vehicle just stopped going under power and rolled to a dangerous stop. Vehicle had no drive power to wheels. Vehicle had to be towed. Examination indicates transmission issue. Vehicle does not engage any gears and made no warning sounds. Mechanic says torque converter failed and is a common problem. NHTSA recalled Ford freestar for this issue but Windstar are most effected and have not been recalled. On a highway, this is dangerous at 70 plus mph speeds. There was a family of four in this vehicle, when it just stopped going, with engine running. Someone can be killed in a rear-end collision from this warningless and sudden power-train failure. Vehicle has 108,900 miles and has undergone other recalls.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #36

Jan 092016


  • 356,078 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Windstar. While driving various speeds, an abnormal odor and noise were noticed from the passenger side wheel. The vehicle moved in reverse when the gear shifter was in the drive position. The failure occurred constantly and the anti-brake warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The vehicle was serviced for NHTSA campaign number: 15V608000 (suspension). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 356,078.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #35

Nov 022015


  • 118,000 miles


Rear axle reinforcement brackets were installed in my Ford Windstar under safety recall 10S13, by an authorized Ford (dealer's) repair shop in 2011. I was told by the Ford repair shop that "brackets" were the only type of repair Ford authorized them to do under that recall notice. I recently received another rear axle recall notice, 15S27, that said repair brackets improperly installed under the prior recall, may result in a rear axle beam fracture. The recall notice said if axle replacement was necessary, Ford would replace it free of charge. When I took my car back to the same Ford repair shop, the service manager said that the rear axle was indeed cracked and needs to be replaced. He also said that Ford is refusing to replace it free of charge and requires a copay of $300. I called Ford customer service and was told the same thing. I believe the "band aide" repair originally authorized by Ford under the first rear axle recall, was insufficient to prevent stress points in their defective rear axle from causing a subsequent fracture that no amount of preventative maintenance could deter. I believe the second axle recall notice indicates that Ford has placed the public in jeopardy with "cheap fixes" to defective parts. However, instead of ethically replacing the axle, Ford now seems to be cutting their losses by offering a "discounted" axel replacement (only) at one of their affiliated shops. Because a rear axle can cost about $1000 to replace, Ford's "discount" effectively steers the business of customers who need this repair into Ford's controlled business environment. We are left with no choice but to pay Ford again, to correct their error and keep us safe. Please call me at 609-440-9730 car is currently at lucas Ford, burlington NJ.

- Delanco, NJ, USA

problem #34

Jul 162015

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Windstar. The contact stated that while driving at 70 mph, the tire began to rub the inner fender wall. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the axle was fractured and needed to be repaired. The vehicle was serviced under NHTSA campaign number: 11V030000 (structure) but the remedy failed to repair the vehicle. The contact mentioned that the axle should have been replaced initially under the recall and not bracketed. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 140,000. Updated 12/03/15 updated 12/09/15.

- Dubuque, IA, USA

problem #33

Jul 212015


  • 127,400 miles
I am writing before I encounter a serious problem on the road. While in for state vehicle inspection, my mechanic noted that the rear axle "repair" (a reinforcement bracket) on my 2002 Windstar van is failing. It can look ok on the lift, but once weight is put on the axle, the seriousness of the cracking is apparent. The repair was made by a Ford dealership in 2011 under recall 10S13. I already spoke with Ford customer service, and they say there is nothing they can do because the recall was completed. I am now waiting to see if the dealership that made the repair can help to correct the problem they (Ford) have acknowledged exists, but without an adequate fix to date.

- Roslyn, PA, USA

problem #32

Jun 152015


  • miles


My 2002 Windstar had the axle crack just under the recall repair sleeve the driver's side about a month ago. I brought it to the Ford dealer who confirmed it was cracked and got the same response as the others. Ford warrantied the repair for 12 months. I had the repairs done during the recall brackets were added to reinforce the axle. I called 1-8003923673 (Ford company) from direction from the local dealership. It appears that Ford put a band-aid on the problem and gave a 12 month warranty on it. That's ridiculous! it is obvious that they did not do an adequate assessment on these axles when they made the repair/replace decision. They knew about the axle problems in 1998. Stated in internal memo in 1999 that heat treating could double the axle life. It's shameful what they knew and what they ignored. I was told that since the recall repair was done over 12 months ago that it would not be covered.I being the only owner it should be a way to have this problem fix by Ford. I guess, I have not more choice to do the repair paying out of my pocket (not a chip repair) and to keep the receipt in case they expanded the recall. I also found out to go to NHTSA.gov to file a complaint. They will not expand the recall unless enough complaints are noted. Calling to the dealership is not enough. You have to call Ford co. 1-800-3923673 and visit NHTSA.gov before it is officially noted.

- Plainfield, NJ, USA

problem #31

May 022015

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
Total sudden loss of steering the car went off the road totally out of control. No notification of recall subframe collapse. Entire steering parts destroyed and coolant leaked from engine this is incredible that no one was injured I was about to get on the highway!!!

- West Nyack, NY, USA

problem #30

Mar 092015

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 169,000 miles
I tool my 2002 Ford Windstar in for inspection of the rear axle and brackets were put in place. On March 9, the rear axle broke. Luckily it was as I was pulling into a parking spot at work. Ford is aware they have a manufactured defective part on these Windstar and yet after the bracket is place they refuse to replace the axle after is rust and breaks anyway. Ford deems it fixed. However, I disagree. They are putting the safety of thousands of people at risk. They should accept responsibility and repair the parts. Extremely unhappy. I have been calling Ford for 2 weeks and can not get a supervisor to return my call. It's ridiculous.

- Clinton Twp, MI, USA

problem #29

Oct 292014

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 112,972 miles
After driving down a major highway North of boston, MA (128/95 North) my wife and I, first heard scraping noise that became louder and began smell like burning rubber/brakes. The car lurched across the roadway/highway and we swerved and almost sideswiped car in the adjacent lane. We were in the process of exiting the highway on the off ramp to my work at rte 28 South stoneham/wakefield. We were able to pull over, gather our thoughts and continue to a gulf station on rte 28 in stoneham, MA. The gulf station mechanic/manager said he had never seen anything like it, a rear axle literally splitting in half. After viewing the rear broken axle and looking at the condition of the front right end and the overall condition of the sub frame they politely and forgivingly said they have rarely seen such a thing (cracked/separated rear axle and went on to say they have only seen this in Ford Windstar and went on to talk about a local women whose Ford Windstar lost control on the highway at 60 mph with her 3 children and were scared to death and in conclusion would not touch the vehicle and warned that the vehicle was beyond safe driving and repair. They were shocked that although there was some kind of brace on the axle in two places that the axle had snapped in two at the reinforcement and said even without the reinforcement on the rear axle they have never seen a rear axle split in two and compounded with the fact that it actually had a reinforcement bracket fail. Reiterating axles and sub frames are not wear and tear parts and in fact had never seen broken rear axles and sub frames crack and break and corroded to this extent. Their reaction was of disturbing to say the least. They said broken axles just don, T happen and with added reinforcement it was "beyond belief" they had broken in half.

- Winchester, MA, USA

problem #28

Aug 282014

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 162,000 miles


Our 2002 Ford Windstar's axle fractured, as described in NHTSA campaign id number 12V193000. The dealership had installed brackets in 2012, and respond that we are outside the twelve month coverage window on this work, and decline to do anything else for us. Can we be sure of the state of the axle on inspection in 2012? I think that since the axle fractured, they cannot assume they have no liability, or that their choice to install brackets instead of replacing the axle was sufficient.

- Beverly, MA, USA

problem #27

Aug 092014


  • 180,000 miles
We were driving around town and we heard a clunking sound in the back of the van. We took the van into the shop where they discovered a crack in the rear axle. Luckily this did not happen the week before, as we were driving many highway miles or it could have been worse. This was a recalled part and it was taken in at the time of the recall. Two different mechanics in town assured us that it was not our fault but that it was a faulty part. We take good care of our cars. We called Ford directly thinking that they would honor their vehicle and fix a part they knew would break down. They gave us the run around and then never returned our phone calls. This van would had many good years left in it, now it can not be driven!

- Stevens Point, WI, USA

problem #26

Apr 172013

Windstar 6-cyl

  • miles
Driving home, down country highway, vehicle had no noise or gave warning. Heard a loud hiss/noise, smoke screen appeared behind van, I coasted van off roadway. Had vehicle towed home. Upon checking, rod went thru engine and transmission casing. Am wondering if this has been a problem with this vehicle, because I heard of a similar incident just today with another Windstar. Thank you.

- Harrodsburg, KY, USA

problem #25

Feb 132014


  • 61,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Windstar. The contact stated that the vehicle would exhibit a loud noise when started. The vehicle was inspected by an independent mechanic, who stated that the starter was hanging and the housing of the transmission was fractured. The contact was advised that the engine, starter motor and transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 61,000.

- Fairlawn, NJ, USA

problem #24

Nov 292013

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 123,000 miles
Driven heard a snap stop and look it was rear axel cracked.

- New Haven, CT, USA

problem #23

Nov 022013

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 220,318 miles
Driving onto the expressway via service ramp I felt the van shift to the right as I was about to enter the freeway. Lane I was about to merge onto was to my left. Seemed as if something were terribly wrong. I continued driving, but cautiously. Drove the vehicle for the next week, yet not very frequently. The following Friday, I went to get an oil change and the serviceman noticed that my back driver's side wheel was tilted inward and then said the right side rear wheel was too, just not as much as the left side. He proceeded to tell me that my axle looked cracked and that my shock was totally corroded and stuck. The next day, I took the van to our trusted mechanic, who inspected the van. He said that my rear axle was totally corroded and cracked underneath the "band-aid" bracket that the Ford dealership in imlay city, mi had put there when I had originally had taken the van in for the rear axle recall back on 2/11/11. He said to contact them about it. I contacted the service manager named nick on 11/11/13. I spoke to him briefly and explained that the rear axle was cracked. He said he would make some calls and get back to me. He never did. I attempted throughout that day to get a hold of him, he never called me back. Later my husband tried to call him. Instead a woman answered and said she worked in warranty division. She stated we call Ford customer complaint ctr. We called there and spoke to a man named austin. He said a decision would be made by Friday, 11/15/13 and that service manager in imlay city or regional manager would call us. No one did. We attempted to call dealer 11/15/13. For over an hour all lines were busy. We then called customer complaint center for Ford. We were informed that their records showed that dealer called us 11/12/13 with decision to not help. That is completely false! no one called us regarding the matter, period!

- Almont, MI, USA

problem #22

Feb 122011


  • miles
Van won't go into gear or drive. I don't know if it the corrosion fractures of front lower control arm or transmission. Trying to find out if any recalls would be on the van on what's going on with it.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #21

Jul 132013


  • miles
2002 Ford Windstar axle repair failed. Golf mill Ford in niles, il repaired my Ford Windstar in late 2010 after inspecting it. Golf mill decided to patch and not replace the axle. On July 6 the tire kicked out and started to slide in patch bracket. I called Ford and they instructed me to take to original dealer who done repaired and to keep all receipts for work done for possible reimbursement. Dealer looked at axle and said they have had similar field problems and Ford has been replacing the axle and repaired had internal code stating they axle repair did not "expire". when the repair request was submitted to Ford for authorization, Ford declined. The service manager was shocked and I was told that Ford said the program was declined for the program met its obligation and I was told to keep the receipt for it would be necessary for future reimbursements. Golf mill Ford in niles, il made the repair and "good deal" labor rate to assist in the bill and for this I thank them. However, I am shocked the Ford is aware of field failures in a poorly designed field fix and has chosen not to properly remedy the first attempt at a fix. I have pictures if necessary!

- Des Plaines, IL, USA

problem #20

Apr 022012


  • 97,000 miles
We bought our van in March 2012. By April 2012 we began noticing problems with shifting. It shifts hard. The windows stopped working in May 2012. The lights on the dash for the ABS and brakes are always on. The brakes are not very good and the pedal must be pushed hard to get the van to stop. Our biggest issue is with the transmission. The mechanic at aamco would not even change the fluid because if he changed the fluid then the transmission wouldn't be able to shift. I don't know the details but I do know that my van is not safe to drive.

- Largo, FL, USA

problem #19

Aug 232005

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 4,193,097 miles
Transmission light in dash has been on for years now. Local dealers tell me there is nothing wrong. They take my money and don't fix the problem. ABS light is on. Parts were bought and replaced by the dealer with in a year light back on. Cruise control cut out replaced twice. Dealer cant figure these problems out but if enough of your own research is done there are ways to figure out what is going on. Even if the dealer can't front frame mounts are rusting so bad you can pull it apart with your hands certified safe from dealer.

- Delta, OH, USA

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