About 425,000 Ford Windstar minivans are being recalled in cold-weather states due to rust and corrosion problems that could cause the the front subframe brackets and mounts to separate. This follows an earlier Ford Windstar recall issued for about 575,000 minivans due to rear-axle corrosion problems.
The latest recall of Ford Windstar minivans was announced on Thursday and affects models built between 1999 and 2003 that are used in the northern United States and Canada.
According to Ford Motor Co. and investigators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), salt corrosion to the undercarriage of the vans can cause brackets and mounts on the front subframe to disintegrate, potentially resulting in steering problems. At least three reports of auto accidents related to the defect have been received, including one of which involved an injury, according to a NHTSA report.
Ford claims that the corrosion problem only affects vans in cold-weather states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia.
Ford Windstar minivans recalled in August were also only from cold-weather states, due to corrosion of the rear axle. In December, NHTSA investigators said they were expanding the investigation into the problem to look at how it might affect the front axle of the vehicles as well.
According to NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), 346 complaints have been reported to ODI and Ford over fractures, cracking and corrosion in the front subframes of the affected models. Complaints from salt belt states comprised 334 of those complaints.
The front subframe is commonly referred to as the engine cradle, and the corrosion appears to usually affect the rear mounting bracket on the front passenger side lower control arm.
Ford will begin notifying owners next month that they should bring their vehicles into a dealership for inspection and repair.
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