hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 6
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
73,879 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 (Page 1 of 2)

problem #32

Nov 172013

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 138,000 miles


The vehicle stops in the middle of traffic. It will stall out when stopped. The car will not restart. It is not anything that pertains to a tune up or oil change or transmission fluid. The radiator got low a;little but that was not the problem. There was a recall on 2003 Ford Windstar limited edition but mine was not in this recall. I feel that my car should be fixed because it his a safety hazard. Plus the front wheel bearings are bad, which causes my tires to go bald. Ford will not fix the life threatening situation.

- Erie, PA, USA

problem #31

Jul 152013

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
The ABS and engine lights have been on my 2003 Ford Windstar for years. However, they were electrical misfires and did not affect the operation of the vehicle. It does now seem that the ABS is failing. The car brakes normally at low speeds. However, over 30 mph it now seems that the brakes lock up and the car pulls to the right. I do not feel that the car is safe to drive, as it screeched and locked up when I was stopping at a red light.

- New Port Richey, FL, USA

problem #30

Aug 012012

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 124,000 miles
Our van was fine until it was having a hard time shifting. We took the van into a transmission specialist and had to replace the transmission due to water. And also had the water to the radiator completely bypass the transmission. Everything was fine until months later it was having a hard time shifting. Somehow a lot of water had gotten in there. There's no way it's from the radiator since like I said it bypasses the tranny and has a different cooling thing?? now he thinks it's from the A/C. so now it's in the shop again and I already spent $300 for a complete flush. Now I might have to do it again. Plus he's going to make a shield for the A/C. this is crazy.

- Walla Walla, WA, USA

problem #29

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 #28

Aug 012011

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 186,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Windstar. The contact stated that after receiving notification of a manufacturer's recall for the motor brackets, the vehicle was taken to the dealer for repairs. Months after the recall repairs while the contact was driving approximately 5 mph, the engine began shifting abnormally. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where they advised the contact that two motor mounts were fractured and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The mechanic advised the contact that the failure may have been caused by the previous recall repairs. The failure mileage was approximately 186,000. The VIN was unavailable. Updated 02/09/12 updated 04/18/12

- Pillsborough, NJ, USA

problem #27

Nov 302011

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 132,871 miles
I have had no transmission issues with my 2003 Ford Windstar van. I drove home from work early this morning (3:30am.) I went to leave for an appointment at noon on the same day, and nothing. I started my van, attempted to put it in gear and nothing!! no warning, no nothing!! I have never towed with this vehicle (it doesn't even have a hitch, ) the total weight of people riding in it has been 350 pounds. There has been no stress on this engine as I don't live in mountainess areas. I am a single mom of 4 little kids, receiving no child support, working pt, just able to pay the bills, and Ford needs to fix this issue!! I have also had numerous other 'problems' but nothing so major the vehicle couldn't be driven (interior lights flashing, blender door actuator going out 3X in a year, rough ideal especially when cold, back door handles not working from inside, back doors so hard to open and close, I can hardly do it, back wiper worked one day then just stopped and hasn't worked since, one back window opens and closes only when it feels like it. I also just put $70 in gas in this vehicle! ugh!!

- Ham Lake, MN, USA

problem #26

Nov 112011


  • 103,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Windstar. The contact was driving 30 mph when flames emitted from the engine. The contact also mentioned prior to the failure that a loud noise was heard from the engine after the start of the ignition. The fire caused no injuries and both the police and fire departments were contacted. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was contacted. The vehicle was destroyed. The failure and the current mileages were 103,000.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #25

Sep 212011

Windstar 6-cyl

  • miles
2003 Ford Windstar 71,000 miles - bought new for $35,000 in December 2003, I purchased a new 2003 Ford Windstar. I am the only driver of this van, to and from work and a few road trips. In the beginning a few things went wrong but I wasn't too concerned at the time. Since then, here is a list of things that has gone wrong with this van: 1.no heat - blender actuator 2.driver's side window wouldn't roll up or down (fixed) 3.passenger side window and back windows do not work 4.interior lights go on and off 5.gasket replaced on engine because car was dying when I came to a stop. ($450) 6.rear window defroster doesn't work 7.rusting out by back tires 8.transmission failure $2,800. Fluid from the radiator got into the transmission fluid! (now how did that happen other than being defective) 9.2 safety recalls I am lucky I haven't been killed in this vehicle! the transmission failed with no warning! you would think when I had my car serviced they would have noticed that my transmission fluid did not look right. I am so frustrated with this van that I have worked hard and struggled to pay for, but I did it. My entire family has always stuck by Ford and I have always defended them. I can't afford another vehicle right now so I had to dig deep to pay for these repairs. I have done quite a bit of research on this vehicle and I cannot believe there hasn't been a recall on the transmission. Now I am stuck with driving a $35,000 van that I don't feel safe driving! [xxx] copy to: NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) Missouri attorney general (consumer protection) information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #24

Sep 072011


  • miles
I was parked outside my home.I went out to my van to go pick up dinner and to my distress, the van wouldn't reverse or go forward. After some investigation from online source and auto mechanics, this is an ongoing problem with Ford's transmissions. No warning of a problem.in the past weeks, my interior lights would come on while im driving. This van is a hazard. You really need to investigate this please.

- Saint Ouis, MO, USA

problem #23

Aug 022011

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 129,000 miles
ABS light is on as well as check engine light.car is idling rough. Checked with numerous car repair places with no success. Also, van is pulling to the right even after I changed tires and did alignment check !

- Seminole, FL, USA

problem #22

Jan 162011


  • 136,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Windstar. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled several times while driving 25 mph and above with the illumination of the check engine and battery warning lights. The contact would shift into park, back into drive and was able to restart the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and two local repair shops yet the failure was unable to be duplicated or diagnosed. The alternator and the battery were replaced but the failure persisted. The vehicle was not further repaired and the manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The current mileage was approximately 141,000 and the failure mileage was approximately 136,000.

- Three Rivers, MA, USA

problem #21

Mar 032011

Windstar 6-cyl

  • 78,397 miles
Brought my 2003 Ford Windstar sel (with 78,397 miles on it) in to dealer to have it checked for subframe recall, the engine light began flashing, and the ABS, brake light, and trac off lights had all gone on. During the diagnosis, they found that the subframe was fine, the spark plugs needed to be replaced, the ignition coil needed to be replace (causing cylinder 3 to misfire), and the PCM needed to be resealed for moisture. (March 3rd, 2011) they found no hard code for the brakes. We get the necessary work done, drive the van home, and within a day the ABS light, brake light, and trac off light come back on. Call and have the dealer look at van again, they now find code 1185 (pin point test found ABS module not responding). The dealer replaced the ABS module and rescanned with no codes and was road tested. Everything seemed fine (March 7th, 2011), I pick up van, within 4 hours, the ABS light, brake light, and trac off light are back on. As of right now, the van is back at the dealers being checked again. This is very disappointing. In the last week, I have had to bring this particular van in 4 times due to problems. This all comes after having work done on this van in December. In December 2010, they performed system diag, , dtcs, PO174, PO174, lean on both banks, inspect for vacuum leaks, found leaks at intake manifold runner control shafts, required intake manifold replacement to correct, replaced intake manifold and required parts, including cleaned fuel injector, changed oil and filter cleared dtcs, retested verified proper operation. Manifold, 2 seals, 5 gaskets, isolator, thermostat, anti-freeze, coupling, fuel system, filter, engine oil). This should not be the case with a van that has less than 80,000 miles on it.

- Brick, NJ, USA

problem #20

Jan 012006


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Windstar. While driving approximately 50 mph the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer where she was informed the alternator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The failure has since recurred 5 times. After each failure, the vehicle was towed either to her home or to an authorized dealer where it was repaired. The failure mileage was 75,000 and the current mileage was 171,000.

- Hershey, PA, USA

problem #19

Oct 192010

Windstar 6-cyl

  • miles
Sit down, get a coffee, because you will be reading a book. I purchased a 2003 Ford Windstar, with 20,000 miles, in 2005. I've had nothing but major problems. In 12/2008 with 87,205 miles the transmission went, that was $2013, then in 3-2009 check engine light, had to replace gaskets, that cost $500, . then in 10/15/2010 I had to bring van in for different sensors, and ABS light, and emergency brake light kept coming on. That was. That was $232. Then on 10/19/2010 brought van in to the Ford dealer, because none of my gauges work, letting me know how fast I'm going, or how much gas I have. They say it is the gauge cluster, that's $500 alone not including labor, they inform me I have a hole in the left rear axle, and I have to leave the van there, and I may also need a new alternator, and it may takes weeks for the part to come in. That's not including other miner repairs along the way. The best part of all. I still have 6 payments left. What rights do I have? I can't believe all the major issues. They should take this van, and give me a different one. Not a Ford. I told you, that you were reading a book.

- Westhampton, MA, USA

problem #18

Aug 152010

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,252 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Windstar. While driving approximately 55 mph, the vehicle stalled. The contact stated that he coasted to the side of the road. When he waited a few minutes after the vehicle stalled and turned it back on, it would perform correctly. The vehicle was towed to a local repair shop. The local mechanic advised him to take the vehicle to an authorized dealer. The vehicle was eventually taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that the intake manifold casket needed replaced. The dealer replaced the intake manifold casket, installed a throttle body spacer and throttle air valve assembly and re-flashed the PCM to the computer and the iac valve. The contact stated the failure occurred again while driving from the dealership. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where the vehicle stayed for two weeks. The dealer then installed a crank shaft sensor and a wire assembly. The vehicle had not been repaired fully as the contact picked the vehicle up before final repairs were performed. The failure mileage was 90,252 and the current mileage was approximately 91,000. Updated 12/29/10 updated 01/03/11

- Sonora, CA, USA

problem #17

Aug 182010


  • 60,700 miles
I brought my car to the Ford dealer for routine oil and filter maintenance and while on the lift it was brought to my attention that the rear axle is cracked and barely intact. This car was not safe to drive. I had it replaced and $1,300 dollars later. The representative states that my car is about the 4th in their dealership within the month with rear axle cracked.

- Nutley, NJ, USA

problem #16

Oct 102007


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns 2003 Ford Windstar LX. The vehicle stalled intermittently and the lights on the instrumental panel illuminated while driving 10 mph. The contact performed routine maintenance on the vehicle. He replaced the alternator and the battery three times. The manufacturer stated that the vehicle didn't have a recall for the failure, but he should take the vehicle to the dealer to be diagnosed. The failure mileage was 75,000. The current mileage was 103,000.

- Old Hickory , TN, USA

problem #15

Feb 062010


  • 73,000 miles
I purchased a 2003 Ford Windstar SE on February 2, 2010 and it was on fire in my driveway February 6,2010 4am. I had not driven it over 6hrs before. I think all these vehicles should be off the road. The car by the way was a total loss not to mention a great inconvenience.

- Mobile, AL, USA

problem #14

Sep 182009


  • 82,000 miles
Vehicle caught fire while driving down the freeway. Completely burned and burned nearby field containing magnesium.

- Eureka, CA, USA

problem #13

Sep 012009


  • 165,000 miles
Our 2003 Windstar started misfiring badly and the engine light came on. I bought a code reader and found the codes 171 and 174 and misfire in cylinder #5. after doing some research I found this is usually due to the intake manifold gaskets leaking and is very common. I've had it with this van and I'm afraid to park it in the driveway near the kid's room in case it catches on fire. In the last few months I've replaced a broken (not rusted) front spring, brake deactivation switch, transmission (152,000km) and now this. Also the ABS light is on all the time now meaning that it doesn't have anti-lock anymore. I'm a licensed autobody technician and realize that cars require routine maintenance and parts replaced from time to time and I do most of the work myself, but when they are widespread safety and reliability issues it makes me extremely frustrated that nothing can be done. I want to just park the van, but we still have a year left on the financing.

- Cambridge, 00, USA

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