really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
107,979 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Ford Windstar Owner Comments

problem #20

Jul 272016


  • 120,000 miles


I was backing down the driveway when my Ford Windstar 2003 engine started revving and I had to put both feet on the breaks to stop the car from running out of control. After I put both feet on the brakes to release the engine from revving did it stop. It happened again on the same day and it took all my strength to stop the Ford Windstar 2003 model. It could have done a lot of damage either to another car or a person. It is very dangerous and this problem has to be corrected or put on a recall basis before other people who might have the problem, can either get it fixed or taken off the road.

- Lexington, SC, USA

problem #19

Jul 072015


  • 63,000 miles
Went to pull out of parking space. None of the gears worked. Ended up having vehicle towed. Thankful my husband wasn't on the way to work going 60-65 mph. Contacted Ford and was told too bad since it wasn't diagnosed by one of their dealers shops but by a mechanic we've been using for years. I'm wondering why the freestar was recalled for this issue and not the Windstar. This should not be happening at 63K miles.

- York, PA, USA

problem #18

Jul 062015


  • 96,000 miles
This vehicle was mine and given to my daughter in law for their family. She put it into reverse to leave her driveway and there was no response. Neither the drive or reverse was working...nothing worked. It was towed to a local garage to determine what the problem was and the report was...transmission!! it was double checked by a Ford dealer and the outcome indicated that it was the transmission torque converter specifically. Doing a bit of research, it was discovered that this is not uncommon for this vehicle...why"??? it seems to me that for a family vehicle by a domestic name brand such as Ford, that the family should be able to get more than 96000 miles out of their vehicle!! the cost factor for repairs is in the $1500 to $2000 range and the laughable part is that there is no recall!!!!! hello, what kind of product noted for a particular problem is not recalled to fix the issue for hard working families who trust Ford to make a good product? Ford...you need a recall here!!! or some kind of reduced or prorated way to fix this for way less money than the above stated. I'd like a response to this complaint please with your excuses lined up neatly for me to follow. I feel horrible having given her the car and this happens. She and our son are hard pressed to pay for this kind of repair. How can Ford stand by and allow this kind of thing to happen".....updated 10/20/15...updated 09/20/16

- Mt. Brydges Ontario, Canada, MI, USA

problem #17

May 272015


  • 110,190 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Windstar. While approaching a stop, the driver depressed the brake pedal and the vehicle failed to stop. As a result, the driver had to engage the emergency brake in order to stop the vehicle. The brakes, ABS, engine, and door ajar warning lights previously illuminated intermittently. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the ABS electrical module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 110,190.

- New Port Richey, FL, USA

problem #16

Apr 292015

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 119,832 miles
I purchased this vehicle this morning, 4/29/15. I took it for a test drive last night, no problems. This morning when I left the house to get the title transferred and vehicle registered, the brake light came on. When I got to my destination and turned it off, then turned it back on, the light remained on, and the ABS light came one. Neither will go off. I had a 1998 Windstar that I sold due to age but loved. I am not happy to have this issue the first day I own its replacement.

- Altoona, IA, USA

problem #15

Jun 012013

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
Purchased new in 2003. This vehicle has electrical problems and yet we are being told that we have to eat the financial bills instead of Ford. From sensors failing, to interior lights flashing at us, and the vehicle sputtering while we drive down the road. Ford knows that the 1999- 2003 Windstar have serious safety and electrical failures, yet they do not want to correct the problem at their cost. Ford would rather pass on their problems onto the consumer and at the consumer's cost. 2013 at our cost of $1,000+ we replaced the coil assembly pack, egr system with brackets, oxygen sensors, spark plugs, and wires. Now we are replacing them again. The ABS system, the traction control, and the cruise control all interwoven and all failed in 2009 and we were told that it is not important by the dealerships. We placed our obd scanner on our vehicle and this is what we pulled. 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 time. Why are we having to replace the coil assembly packs, wires, egr system with brackets, oxygen sensors, and plugs so often, when we are being told that these platinum plugs and wires should last 150K? we honestly believe that Ford should have recalled this vehicle years ago. Ford should compensate us for our troubles, instead they increased our financial burden, and Ford should have placed us into a safer vehicle all at their cost. This is our only vehicle. When it fails, we have to pay thousands to get it repaired at our cost. Ford should take on the financial responsibility when they know that this vehicle has these issues. Major repairs= 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, and now 2015.

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #14

Apr 262014


  • 163,717 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Windstar. The contact stated that while driving approximately 70 mph, the vehicle suddenly began to hesitate and decelerated before the engine stalled. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 163,717.

- Tunnel Hill, GA, USA

problem #13

Feb 192014

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 181,000 miles
The brake and ABS light came on the day after I bought the 2003 Windstar. I had to do some research to figure out that it needed a little bit of work because the previous owner lied about why they wanted to sell the van. They said nothing was wrong with it and it ran great. Well now there are some major issues with the Windstar. Shortly after the brake and ABS light came on the engine light came on. Now I am trying to come up with the money to fix this problem.

- Locust Grove, GA, USA

problem #12

Mar 142014

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 141,457 miles
The ABS light, advanced trac control indicator light, and dash lights are flashing on and off intermittently for several seconds. Alarms beep and the engine loses power. This has occurred multiple times over the past several weeks. Then coming onto the freeway this morning it occurred again and the engine shut off. It would not restart. After almost getting hit by another vehicle as a result of the engine shutting off, I was able to pull over and turned off the key. Tried to start the van several times and after a few tries it started and I was able to get off highway without getting hit. This is a recurring problem many 03 Windstar van owners are experiencing. Called Ford and they said it is not a documented problem with them. I have read hundreds of comments from other owners experiencing these same problems. Ford dealerships have repaired/replaced various components to correct this problem but it keeps recurring. Something needs to be done. It is a design thing.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #11

Jun 012012

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
As the drivers of Ford Windstar we all got treated unfair Ford wont even help its current Ford Windstar drivers I've met alot Windstar owners and they are agitated, , first off only had this since last year and after the last 6 months of this it has been a terrible van to drive, first changing the alternator 3 X's and the battery 4's really would get a person violent, whatever happened to customer service beyond the mile of service as Ford always talks, don't get me wrong the van can go miles til empty, also, the back windows the driver side doesn't open, it gets hot back there, oh wait the ac don't work in the rear either, don't go to far on a hot ride 4 hours away, you'll be sweating within the 10 miles you'll be drenched, when you open a car or van, big rig, limo, bus, the lights come on, not this mean pup, if you drop money, better wait til morning you'll be searching all nite, it doesn't matter who the current driver the vehicle is you should proceed to bring them in for adjustments, there cost, oh wait you just put $500 in it, here we go again, another $200, by the time it hits 6 months you just spent money you needed for groceries, oh wait $5 is all you got, now you gotta beg for food, and don't have no money to do squat, Ford I hope this reaches you, so you see I cant tolerate a non honest company, I should have bought that Honda or that Acura, pure smooth running cars right there, quality built is there name and I stand behind them, Ford you get 1 star, Honda 10 stars...a driver of the unwinning 2003 Ford Windstar SE, Ford you got that buyback program still, she really needs a new home, a home worth big bucks to dump into her, anyone reading this out here, if you here of any help for this sick 2003 Ford Windstar SE, Ford is it about time you, demote and let a new car maker come to town.

- Beverly Hills, FL, USA

problem #10

Oct 152013

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 49,593 miles


Purchased a 2003 Ford Windstar on 10/14/13, drove vehicle to South Carolina from New Jersey on 10/15/13, about halfway there noticed a loud clunking while braking, or turning vehicle left or right.had vehicle looked at by mechanic on 10/24/13.it was diagnosed as having a completely rotted subframe and motor mounts.I looked into recalls on the vehicle and found one for the subframe, number 11S16.I called Ford Motor Corporation on oct30, and 31st about the recall.I was told it was repaired back in apr18,2011.repairs done were an inspection of subframe, and all looked well.subframe was never replaced, now 2 years later, Ford has wiped it's hands clean of the recall saying it was satisfied on apr18,2011, by a mechanic claiming the subframe looked ok at the time.how does a faulty part that could cause a major accident, become ok because it looked good at the time of inspection"I am appalled and dishearten that a major corporation such as Ford would take the easy way out and say it's not responsible for a part that they recalled initially, and now say that because it was inspected, it now is fine.I thought a recall was in place for public safety, and if so, how does it expire"

- Cape May Court House, NJ, USA

problem #9

Jul 082013

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 157,632 miles
I was driving home from whitefish Montana which is about 20 miles from my home when the van just stopped, it kept running but would not move so I shut the van off and it wouldn't start unless it was jumped, so we jumped it all the way home. We ended up replacing the battery and the alternator the van ran good for one day and than my O/D light started flashing and the van was running really rough and would not shift our of first causing me to only go 35 mph in a 70 mph, not fun at all. Got it home and looked up some information on line and they told me to check the #19 fuse in the fuse box under the hood and sure enough the fuse was blown so I drove it around the block and it blew again. So we put in a 20 amp fuse and I made it home but this morning I went out to go to work and it started and it drove but than just stopped there was nothing there, I turned the ignition off and tried to restart it and nothing, no noise no nothing so I had to push the van to my house, just imagine what could of happened if I would of been in heavy traffic and my van did this. I love Ford but this is ridiculous I can not afford to fix all these issues that continue to arise what next a fire under the hood. Please someone help me with this.

- Kalispell, MT, USA

problem #8

Sep 012004

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 40,228 miles
We have not been properly informed about all of the recalls or other issues with our vehicle. The vehicle does have a lot of problems from the electrical, structure, engine lights are always throwing codes needing a lot of sensor replacements at our cost, the rpms seem to run fast sitting at a light(we have to turn off the engine and then restart), and the engine seems to run hot, brakes, cruise control(cannot use), traction control(cannot use), interior light are always flickering, passenger windows(cannot use) and door locks(cannot use), both rear windows(cannot use), leaks from roof, rear door and sliding doors, the cruise control, brake and traction control lights stay on while driving(we were told by a dealership that we can still drive the vehicle, but we won't have anti-lock brakes.), the ac is always having trouble staying charged, the ac/heat control switches have malfunctioned(it has to be set away from the cold and the speed to 3/4 speed to work right), the battery keeps losing charge, the brake tail lights stay on draining the battery and had to get repaired by us because the dealership could not locate the problem, driver seat has malfunctioned(cannot use per dealership's request), cruise control and traction control does not work, suspension seems to have a lot of squeaks and popping sounds, alternator and starter had to be replaced several times, the coil packs need constant replacements, all spark plugs and wires had to be replaced before their time, cannot use the rear wiper because it goes down onto the paint and starts wiping the paint and not the rear window, constantly replacing exterior lights all around, the engine constantly cuts out, we told the dealership for several years that there was an antifreeze smell and they could not locate it until 5-28-13, replaced bad front and rear axles on 5/28/13 and many others. 12K-18K to repair everything.

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #7

Apr 142013


  • 105,700 miles
Bought used vehicle from dealer and noticed the ABS/brake light was constantly on. It was "fixed" before completing the purchase. Lasted for a few days before lights came back on and stayed on. Was told it not a big deal, so I didnt worry about it. Was not experiencing any other issues until 1.5 years later when I turned the defrost fan on and it stalled the motor as I was traveling. The next weekend my husband wanted to look at it and after the van idled for a few minutes, turned on the defrost and it did not stall, called it a fluke until we popped the hood and had smoke coming out!

- Texarkana, AR, USA

problem #6

Nov 232006

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 51,261 miles
Pot hole was hit and consequently, the engine had to be replaced. Damaged the engine.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #5

Mar 172013

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 143,961 miles
Both the emergency brake light and anti-lock braking light on instrument panel were illuminated within 5 minutes of having started the car. After approximately 10 minutes, all electrical appliances failed, including directionals, brake lights, etc. The engine continued to run, however it struggled on uphill climbs.

- Charlton, MA, USA

problem #4

Jan 012013

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 247,000 miles
ABS light will not turn off. Also the check engine light blinks on and off and the car will not take any gas.

- Raeford, NC, USA

problem #3

Feb 102011


  • 56,000 miles
I was driving down the road and all of a sudden I had to acceleration or reverse or anything. It was like I was out of gear. I drifted over to the side of the road and called a tow. I needed a new transmission. That was Feb. 2011 I just had the same incident happen again to me Dec. 2012- transmission needs rebuilt again! mileage is 82000 are you kidding! 2 transmissions in less than 2 years! the torque converter both times!

- Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #2

Oct 012007

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
ABS brakes dashboard light and check engine light is always on. Dealer has reset many times with no success.

- Vermillion, SD, USA

problem #1

Aug 162008


  • 53,000 miles
I have had multiple problems with my 2003 Windstar sel to include complete failure of the vacuum system where brakes, power steering didn't work had to have towed. The dealership could not fix and did not have a recall. Hoses in this system kept coming off. Interior lights kept flashing on without any being turned on. Also the "passenger door is open" light stays on. Along with ABS/brake light stays on. I have taken my van in to have brakes checked. There was no problem with brakes. I have maintenance done on regular basis. Problems started with 50,000 miles. I am a single woman and need reliable transportation which this van is not. When is Ford going to recall for electrical problems" dealership is of no help, only want to charge for something they can't fix. I took to dealership when front passenger window didn't open. Dealership stated that it needed a new motor. I knew better as this had happen before. Took home and after a little bump in the road window started working again. Part of the crappy workmanship Ford used to put together. Also dealership stated there was no recall for the problem with vacuum system which I was told was a design problem. Ford needs to address all the problems associated with this model. I wonder how many others have this same problem"

- Birmingham, AL, USA

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