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Ford Windstar Subframe Recall

Ford Windstar 2003

Effective January 26, 2011, Ford issued a recall to replace the defective subframe on Windstar mini vans.

If you own a Ford Windstar manufactured between the years of 1999 and 2003, there is a chance that your vehicle’s sub frame is defective. For more information on the subframe problem, read the earlier article Ford Windstar Rusting Subframe: Potential Recall.

Investigation and Recall

After receiving numerous complaints, the National Highway Transit and Safety Administration issued an investigation into the rusting subframe problem. As a result of careful investigation (and even more complaints), Ford was forced to issue a recall. This means that all Ford Windstar owners whose mini-vans are affected with the rusting sub frame can have it replaced at a Ford dealership free of charge.Rusted Subframe

Recall Notification Letter

Ford has sent/is sending out recall notification letters. Even if you did not receive a letter, that does not preclude you from the benefits of the recall. Call your local Ford dealership and schedule an appointment to have your subframe checked. If it is rotting, Ford must replace it for free whether you received the recall letter or not.

What about Reimbursement for Replaced Subframes?

Some Windstar owners could not wait for Ford to rectify the known defect. Unfortunately, while Ford was debating the severity and magnitude of the problem with the NHTSA, Windstar drivers were putting their lives and the lives of their loved ones at risk by driving with rotted subframes. Many Windstar owners had to bite the bullet and shell out thousands of dollars to replace the defective part.

If you had to replace your own subframe, make a copy of your receipts, call your local Ford dealership and bring your Windstar in for inspection. Ford has to inspect the replaced subframe to make sure it passes inspection. Once it passes inspection, they will process the receipts for reimbursement. According to Ford, it takes two weeks for the paperwork to be processed and you should receive a check in that period of time.

Additional Ford Recalls

While at the dealership, make sure that all prior Windstar recalls are addressed. The most recent recalls involve the rear axle and speed control. For a listing of the current available recalls for Ford Windstar model cars use 1999 to 2003, visit the National Highway Transit Association website . Insert the vehicle year, make and model to look up recalls for your car. It’s best to do this prior to bringing your Windstar into your Ford dealership. This way you can make sure all of the outstanding problems are addressed.


If your vehicle does not pass inspection, Ford must provide a loaner car if it takes more than 24 hours for them to repair your vehicle. If it does pass inspection, your Windstar will be returned to you with an inspection sheet that states “Parts for permanent repair are not currently available. We apologize for any inconvenience this part shortage may cause you.” It goes on to say that when the parts come in, they will notify you to have “the final repair performed.” In other words, your car passed, but…

About the author: Felicia A. Williams is a wife, mother, freelance writer and owner of Tidbits About Money.

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