really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
101,351 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 4 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #43

Jun 152012


  • 87,000 miles


I was driving on the mass turnpike with my daughter and two of her friends, when the car started to race and the speed started to decrease, not knowing what to do because the break down lane had dropped I slowed into the lane furthest to the right, for slow moving trucks and had the vehicle come to a complete stop and put it into park and shut it off, (my hazard lights were on), tried to start it back up and put it into drive, but when I did it wouldn't move and slowly started to move backwards, tried to put it in 1st, 2nd and neutral and samething happened, so had to call 911 and have a wrecker tow it back to West springfield, had to pay $207 dollars for tow back there and $80 to tow it to the garage that it is currently at now and new transmission is going to cost about $2000. This was a very unsafe and stressful situation for me and three children, ages 9,7, and 6. thank god we didn't get in an accident and get killed.

- Pittsfield, MA, USA

problem #42

May 262012


  • 104,000 miles
The car was driving down the road. No warning, the car would not engage. The engine would rev but the transmission was not working. Once on the side of the road, there was no forward or reverse. Nothing happened prior, the car was working fine. There are many complaints on this car on the internet. Ford needs to do something to remedy the problem. We are so thankful nothing worse happened, there were children in the car.

- Weatogue , CT, USA

problem #41

May 162012

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 108,000 miles
Driving on highway, my 2003 Ford Windstar had a 100% transmission failure. The car was running, but would not go forward or reverse. I did previously report transmission issues (slipping) to Ford on more than one occation. Ford was unable to locate or identify an issue with my transmission. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Rocky River, OH, USA

problem #40

May 142012


  • 113,000 miles


Pulled out of parking space at work and drove to the garage entrance, stopped at the stop sign. Pressed the accelerator and engine RPM just revved up, no fwd or reverse, van rolled backwards into the garage. Towed it home, was told I need a new transmission. Had no warning lights or codes. Good thing no one was behind me!. dealership said they have no info on this, but can rebuild it for around $1,000.

- Biloxi, MS, USA

problem #39

May 132012

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
Transmission went out in our 2003 Ford Windstar. Looks like many others have had this issue. People at auto store and auto repair shop said Ford Windstar is known in the industry to have transmission problems. If so, there should be a recall.

- Oakdale, MN, USA

problem #38

Jan 042012

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 94,826 miles
Transmission doesn't turn, it's seized.

- Bullhead City, AZ, USA

problem #37

Jun 012007


  • 75,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Windstar. The contact stated that the gear shifter could not be moved into reverse or drive. The transmission was replaced twice because the failure was recurring. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer but the contact was advised that there were no failures found within the vehicle. Several days later, the vehicle stalled without warning while the contact was attempting a turn at 5 mph. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where the dealer advised that the failure could have been caused by the torque converter but the transmission would need to be removed in order to identify the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 75,000 and the current mileage was 144,000.

- Marysville , OH, USA

problem #36

Apr 242012


  • 150,000 miles
My transmission failed today in heavy traffic no warning, very scary. I googled for know problems only to find out I am not alone, it appears there are more than few hundred owners of 2003 wind stars with the same dangerous failures. How come this is not a recall, when you are traveling 60 mph center lane and your transmission quits no warning. It was just the blessing of god I got out of that situation without being seriously injured and I found out about it tonight for the first time. Ford knows about it and has not even tried to make the public aware that this has and could happen without warning placing owners in what could be a life threatening situation.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #35

Mar 262012


  • 146,000 miles
While driving on the highway my transmission failed without warning. I have researched the year and found multiple complaints regarding this particular year and transmission problems. Cannot believe Ford has not issued a recall - $3,400 later I am getting my van fixed.

- Willowbrook, IL, USA

problem #34

Mar 122012

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 115,540 miles
2003 Ford Windstar minivan vehicle had been driven to a workplace and parked for the day. Upon entering the vehicle to travel home, driver started vehicle normal and attempted to shift automatic transmission into gear to move from the parking space. The transmission would not engage into either drive (forward) or reverse (backward). Vehicle was towed to a garage and then to a transmission shop. Estimate to repair the transmission exceeds $2500. The transmission had shown no signs of slippage or other visible, audible and/or shifting issues. Since the incident, I have done online researched and found literally hundreds of similar complaints and incidents on this vehicle model. We have also have repeated electrical problems with this van. Interior lights come on and go off for no reason. Interior lights blink while driving in daytime or nighttime. Sometimes the rear power wing windows open...sometimes they do not. Service lights come on and off including brake and ABS system lights, service engine lights, and others. We are thoroughly disappointed with this vehicle.

- Proctorville, OH, USA

problem #33

Mar 192012


  • 150,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Windstar. The contact started the ignition and shifted the gear selector into drive however, there was no response. The transmission was also nonresponsive when shifting into any selected gear. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer where the contact was awaiting diagnosis. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 150,000.

- Exeter, ME, USA

problem #32

Mar 162012

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 107,000 miles
While driving on I94, without warning, powertrain completely failed in the middle of high speed traffic. Thankfully I had the ability to maneuver the vehicle safely to the side of the highway.

- Racine, WI, USA

problem #31

Oct 312011


  • 99,000 miles
Slowed down to turn left onto side road, started up-hill went to shift and then there was nothing, coasted to side of road. No forward or reverse. Seemed as though I had put van into neutral. I was over 300 miles from home, just me and my 2 yr old. Towed back home to transmission garage, had to have rebuilt for approximately $2900. I have read many complaints, why is Ford not recalling"?" this van seems to be more trouble than it is worth. I also had the repair to the back axel done after I discovered that I had a complete crack thru it.

- Springvale Me, ME, USA

problem #30

Aug 092011

Windstar 6-cyl

  • miles
After having the 2011 rear axle and subframe recall done my transmission failed with no warning signs what's so ever.... shortly after spending two thousand on having the transmission rebuilt in August my brake light came on and my ABS starting kicking in when I apply my breaks and when my ABS light comes on my brakes are fine and my van doesn't come up on the ABS recall...... Ford needs to get their act together and fix these vans.

- Connellsville, PA, USA

problem #29

Aug 212011

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
I own a 2003 Ford Windstar van, we use this vehicle everyday bringing kids to school and for wife to drive to work, we had taken the van to a wedding on the 20th of August about 20 miles away. My wife drove the vehicle like always. The next day she went to take the kids out for an ice cream and for whatever reason the transmission stop working, no reverse, forward completely not working. There was no signs of a problem, I have never had a miss shift or a slippage. I researched this on the web and it is not an uncommon problem. I have had the transmission replaced I hope there can be a resolve to this problem.

- Amesbury, MA, USA

problem #28

Jan 032012

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 114,089 miles
While driving on the highway on a trip from Chicago to North caroline, my car suddenly lost power. It was as if I just put it into neutral; I could hear the engine rev when I applied the gas but nothing else happened. Luckily, I was near an exit ramp and pulled to the side of the road without incident. I tried putting the car into another gear, but there was no change. We ended up getting the car towed to a garage, where they determined it was an issue with the transmission. Later, after pulling the transmission apart, they determined it was specifically the torque converter which had failed. My family and I (including 4 children and 4 dogs) had to stay in a hotel for 3 days until the car was repaired. During that time, I investigated this particular vehicle problem (via the internet) and found that it is common in Windstar and freestars. There is a recall in place for the freestar but not enough complaints have been filed for the Windstar yet. This needs to be rectified asap!!!! I was lucky that I was driving in conditions that allowed me to safely maneuver my car to the side of the road without causing or being involved in a accident. The safety of myself, my children and the other people on the road with me, a Windstar owner, should not be put at risk because of a known torque converter defect. The Windstar needs to be added to the Ford recall for torqued converters immediately.

- Lockport, IL, USA

problem #27

Feb 012011


  • 84,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Windstar. The contact was driving approximately 65 mph when the power failed and he was unable to accelerate any further. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where they advised that the torque converter failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired for the torque converter. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 84,000.

- Chesterton, IN, USA

problem #26

Jan 162012

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 87,355 miles
On our way to pittsburgh Monday December 16, 2012 for a little outing with our 18 month old son for the day just to get away from allegany county and was traveling westbound on route 40 when all of a sudden my van is traveling in neutral and will not go in any gear. We drifted the vehicle to a side road and called upon my aunt that has aaa. Sure that was not the right thing to do but hey we just bought this vehicle used on 11-4-11 and just received our actual tags on 1-3-12. Were pretty low on extra cash right now to be forking out 250.00+ for a tow back to our home town. Considering gettin the van back on the roads gonna be half the price of what we paid for the heap to begin with. Absolutely loved the van when I first saw it at the used auto dealers. Clean inside and out and had low miles for the age of the vehicle. Dealer wasn't the best at taking care of the title and tag information as far as forwarding it to the mva so we could get our real tags and title to the vehicle. Had to call him a few days after christmas to get him on the ball and send the required info so we could get our tags since the temporary was about to expire. He acted quickly and had them for us at his shop on the 3rd of January. Now when I do a little research on 2003 Windstar from previous owners at least 80% of them write the same message as what im explaining. ( traveling along the highway all of a sudden without any type of warning boom no gears at all.) I really wish I would have done some more research before I purchased this van considering way over half of them are junk. Thanks for your time and hopefully action is taken upon these Ford vans and something is done. Thank you

- Frostburg , MD, USA

problem #25

Jan 132012


  • 130,000 miles
Driving on a busy two lane road, just came around a sharp corner when the rpms shot up and van started to coast. Was not even able to get completely off the road. I was unable to move the van forward or backward after stopping. There was no warning this was going to happen and it was very scary being disabled along a busy road waiting for help to arrive. Cars approaching me from both directions had to alternate turns to get around my vehicle.

- Reedsville, PA, USA

problem #24

Feb 102011

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
Recently issued recall of 2004 Ford co. Minivans for input shaft failure, all Ford Windstar including 2003 models have the same issue. Freestar van is nothing but a name change for the same poor unsafe vehicle. Along with the many safety issues, owners should be compensated for the repairs made on substandard vehicle. Including the frame issues, brakes issue, electrical and engine quality.

- Haddon Twp., NJ, USA

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