really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
81,748 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Ford Windstar Owner Comments (Page 4 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #33

Mar 042009


  • 88,000 miles


No problems with 2003 Ford Windstar transmission. Vehicle has approx 88,000 miles. Vehicle running at highway speed when transmission whined and quit. Left occupants stranded. Upon online search, hundreds of issues with the make and model having issues with the same part.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #32

Dec 262008


  • 126,000 miles
We had to replace the transmission in our 2003 Ford Windstar in late 2006 to early 2007 and now we need to replace it again. The 2nd time the O/D light started flashing and within and hour to an hour and a half the car needed towed back to our house where it is sitting now. Another problem we have always had is an electrical problem. The overhead light comes on whenever it wants to and we lose the electric in the back passenger door whenever it wants to go. And recently the lock on that same door will continually lock over and over for about 10 times and then locks.

- Lima, OH, USA

problem #31

Dec 032008


  • miles
The Ford Windstar stop suddenly without warning. If you are in traffic, this could be fatal.

- Springfiel, MA, USA

problem #30

Oct 112008


  • 117,085 miles


I have a 2003 Ford Windstar. I turned the corner at a busy intersection and the transmission went out, no forward or reverse. I barely missed being hit while the van coasted to the side of the road. I have owned two previous Windstar that were a 1995 and a 1998 that I had the transmissions go out on but there was slipping and it was obvious the transmission was going. I bought another found because they are just about the only thing I can afford. There was no warning whatsoever this time. I had the vehicle towed to a transmission shop where they said the transmission was gone and the spline had been stripped off the torque converter. He said he sees this kind of thing all the time with Ford. They are rebuilding it for me for $1800. This is a dangerous situation since I read on here another person with the same van had a similar experience. Ford needs to be responsible when they put out crappy transmissions that go out with no warning. What's going to happen when this situation occurs on a highway? now I know why people refer to Ford as found on road dead..because they will break with no warning!

- Dublin, OH, USA

problem #29

Oct 012008


  • 64,750 miles
I have a 2003 Ford Windstar with 64750 miles. A few days ago my wife went to leave for work and when she put it into gear it would not move in any gear selected. Had my local mechanic look at it and he suspected a transmission problem. The vehicle was taken to aamco for repair and I was told that the transmission had blown up. I had no prior warning to this impending problem and now it is going to cost me $2100 to repair the transmission. I was told by the transmission mechanic that this is a common problem with Ford Windstar and ironically another Windstar was in the shop for the same thing. He said that it is caused by defective parts that are prone to failure. I contacted Ford to see if there was a known problem and any recall on faulty transmission. I was told there was not and basically got the run around and told that there would probably be no help in repairing the transmission. I did further research and see that this is a common and frequent problem with the faulty transmission in the Windstar. Why is there no pressure put on Ford to rectify this problem of defective equipment. I have other vehicles with over 120,000 miles and have not had transmission problems. This should not be happening to a vehicle with only 64750 miles. I want to see Ford made to recall and remedy this problem. There are a lot of people out there that have had the same problem and the same results with Ford. Luckily this happened in the driveway and not on the road. This could have been a very unsafe incident if it had happened on the road.

- South Williamsport, PA, USA

problem #28

Aug 012008


  • 38,000 miles
My Ford 2003 Windstar, purchased 05/01/08 w/35000 mi, began rolling backwards on inclines while stopped in drive. First time was 08/01/08 coming out of a parking lot into traffic -- sitting on incline, waiting for traffic to clear, took foot off brake to rest it on gas, and back I rolled -- twice. Notified dealer (under 12/12000 dealer used car warranty), left van that evening (fri), picked up on wed, they couldn't get it to roll or find anything because there were no codes showing up. Brought it back, and wed evening had 3 separate instances of rollback, one on a city street (hill) and 2 on driveways where I rolled back until reaching level surface and the van stopped itself. Next day, rolled backwards again out of drive at office, then stopped on level surface, then began to roll forward on its own -- my foot was nowhere near any pedals. Took back that afternoon. Service mgr drove w/me and we rolled back at an intersection. Service mgr called Ford tech line while I stood next to him. Said that the tech at Ford told him that because of govt requirements to improve mph, Ford has lowered their idle speed and what happens is that at a stop, the slower idle causes the torque converter to slow down and eventually start going backwards which will cause the vehicle to roll back while in drive, especially on inclines. The tech said that they (Ford) are getting more and more calls about this, particularly on newer vehicles. He also said that the temperature of the transmission fluid makes it worse. Could account for why my Windstar rolled back much quicker and further than the one we tried that was sitting on the dealers lot. Nothing can be done about this problem according to Ford. From what I'm seeing in these other complaints, I've been sold a lemon that I need to trade asap. Would like to see a recall on the Ford Windstar transmission.

- Logansport, IN, USA

problem #27

Jul 182008


  • 123,000 miles


Nothing leading up to event. Christmas day the torque converter went out of my 2003 Windstar no warning $900. 2 months later seals $300, and now overdrive is completely. I need a new transmission $2000. This is my 3rd Windstar and at 90,000 to 100,000 mile the transmission starts giving trouble. What is the deal? you pay big dollars for a american car and it doesn't last. Honda's in which I don't want will last for 200,000 or more. If you could help please do so. I am not a dead beat asking for help, I am a fulltime baptist pastor with a wife and 3 kids just trying to make a living. Thank you for all you can do....

- Glade Spring, VA, USA

problem #26

Jul 132008


  • 62,974 miles
Transmission went out at 68,000 miles. Driving down highway at 70 mph, when engine revved and we lost all drive. No forward or reverse gears.

- Monterey, TN, USA

problem #25

May 112008


  • 57,000 miles
Brake, ABS, and other lights come on, drive disengages, van will only run in 2nd or low gear until you turn it off then on again. Very dangerous situation as the van loses power and decelerates. Fuse #1 sparks when putting in a fuse. Blows the fuse immediately. Interior light then will not work. Van is currently being looked at by phil long Ford.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #24

Feb 232008

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,273 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Windstar. The contact stated that when when the vehicle is cold and driving in reverse, the gear locks and the vehicle continues to move in reverse. The contact continuously placed the gear into drive in order for the vehicle to drive in reverse normally. The vehicle has been taken to a dealer four times, but they could not duplicate the failure. The speed was unknown. The current mileage was 85,873 and failure mileage was 85,273.

- Crystal Lake, IL, USA

problem #23

Jun 222007

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,736 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford wind star. The contact stated that the transmission would not engage. The tow truck driver stated that the vehicle was stuck into gear. The dealer replaced the transmission. In addition, the front passenger locks would not work properly. The dealer stated the motor in the doors caused the failure. The current mileage was 57,303 and failure mileage was 46,736. Updated 4/16/08 the dealership removed the transmission to replace the torque converter, front hub seal, pump shaft and bearing. The front doors needed actuators. Updated

- Plain City, OH, USA

problem #22

Jan 012004

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles
Since purchase I have had to replace transmission, airconditioner, and the alternator--this has been replaced 4 times. There is still an issue with the interior lights coming on. This has been reported to Ford and they state there is no issue on their part.

- Atlantic Beach, FL, USA

problem #21

Feb 112008

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My wife pulled up to stop and when the light changed she had no gears from the transmission. No warning signs or sounds. We had the van toed to the nearest dealership( champion Ford) it was diagnosed as a internal transmission failure. We were told it would be $3,319.94 to replace the transmission and flush the system. If we wanted to have the transmission taken apart to find the failure we would have to pay for the tear down and if it still had to be replaced then the replacement cost would be added. What do you do? the van only has about 75K miles on it. I authorized the replacement. Upon talking with a prior Ford mechanic (retired now) I was told that this is an ongoing problem with the Windstar transmission. After doing a little research on the web I see that it is still a problem in vans newer and with lower mileage than my own. There is a problem here Ford. Fix it!

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #20

Dec 162007

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving, the vehicle started to loose forward speed. Then transmission fluid began to pour out from the transaxle, apparently contacting the catalytic converter or engine manifold. The latest caused the vehicle to catch fire, resulting in total a loss and damage to third-party property. At the time of event the vehicle was only 4 years old. This is a serious defect.

- Arecibo, PR, USA

problem #19

Jan 052008

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles
I and my wife were returning home from a long trip to settle my son at a rehabilitation center for kids with retardation when the transmission stopped working without any warning at all. It was raining and a tornado warning was issued for where we were. I had to coast to a stop on the side of the road without much available space to clear traffic. I then proceeded to walk to the nearest house which was about 1000 yrds away due to the fact this happened in a rural area and with considerable risk to myself approach a home of people who did not know me, during a period of darkness and rain, and ask for help getting a tow truck. Meanwhile my wife and brother were back at the van with 18 wheelers whirring by during a severe thunderstorm. The chance of a collision due to poor visibility was most definitely a possibility. When the tow truck arrived he had to hookup my van in pouring down rain and tow the van to a safe place until morning so I could then have it towed home. At this time I believe the transmission needs to be replaced but I cannot afford to have it done. Upon research on the internet I discovered that this is a common problem with the Ford winstar.

- Golden, MS, USA

problem #18

Aug 182006

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,468 miles
2003 Ford Windstar transaxle jerks vehicle from 1st to 2nd gear shift under light or moderate throttle. Was serviced 4 times in 2006 by dealer. Dealer rebuilt transaxle yet problem still existed. Dealer replaced throttle position sensor 2nd time and problem was even more pronounced. Now vehicle would pop out of 2nd gear with engine race immediately after 1st to 2nd gear shift because it hammered the shift so bad. Dealer replaced stator support on 3rd time in yet still pops during shift from 1st to 2nd. Called Ford consumer line immediately afterward to complain. Vehicle was coming out of warranty in 8K miles and I wanted to voice my concerns that the transmission was not working properly after being service 3 times. Ford called dealer. Dealer called me to explain that the Ford service rep told them that the Windstar will shift like that and that is the way it is. 14 months later transmission is failing when under any stress (hills, moderate acceleration, etc..) with a ratcheting or grinding noise. Have to disengage od on highway hills to maintain speed with heavy traffic. Have called Ford again. They want to have dealer perform a diagnostic test which I will have to pay for. It is out of warranty now even though I complained to Ford a year ago when it was in.

- Parkesburg , PA, USA

problem #17

Dec 042007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,824 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Windstar. While driving approximately 45 mph, the vehicle stopped accelerating without warning. The contact pulled off the road and shut off the vehicle. The vehicle was restarted and placed into gear, but it would not move in drive or reverse. The vehicle was towed to a transmission shop and they stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The dealer has not yet been notified. The VIN, engine size, and number of cylinders were unknown. The current and failure mileages were 99,824.

- Douglasville, GA, USA

problem #16

Oct 282007

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles
2003 Ford Windstar, 50,000 miles, and the transmission needs to be replaced. Even though proper maintenance done. Vehicle shifts out of gear, and reverse is not hit or miss. Search on the internet reveals this vehicle is worthless and a rebuild is recommended over a used one since your only going to get other peoples problems. A new transmission from Ford is 3000$ the rebuild will cost $2000.

- Ypsilanti, MI, USA

problem #15

May 172007

Windstar 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,894 miles
Driving southbound on I65 in lebabnon, in on way to work at about 65-70 mph. Suddenly the vans tarted to slow even though I was maintaiing pressure on gas pedal. Van continued to slow with tractor trailers racing up behind me, swerving sorund me and hrons blaring. I was bale to get off at the next exit an made it to the end of the ramp where the vheicle just stopped moving.

- Lebanon, IN, USA

problem #14

Jan 292007

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,652 miles
I started the van and left the driver's door open to run inside the house to get something. When I came back the van was rolling backward across the neighbor's yard. Because the door was open it was ripped backward as it left the garage and hit the side of the garage door. It had rolled off a retaining wall which pulled the front bumper off. It was still rolling across the neighbor's yard when we finally caught it. When I got in the van it was still in park. Thankfully no one was hurt.

- Howell, MI, USA

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