Ford Minivan Recall Issued Due to Defective Axles
More than 340,000 Ford minivans that were previously recalled for cracking and failing rear axles are subject to yet another recall after several accidents and consumer reports indicated that repaired axles may have been incorrectly installed, posing a risk of complete rear axle failure.
On September 30, the automaker announced a Ford Windstar minivan recall affecting vehicles from the model years 1998 through 2003, which underwent a previous recall repair in 2010.
Ford warns that rear axles fixed in that initial recall could crack and make the vehicle difficult to control. The 2010, Ford axle recall was issued due to reports of stress cracks that may corrode and grow over time, resulting in complete fractures and some accidents.
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The original recall repair instructed dealers to install new axles on minivans with cracked axles and for those that showed no signs of fractures to install a reinforcement bracket that was designed to mitigate problems if the axle began to crack or failed completely.
Following the repairs and the addition of the reinforcement brackets, Ford began receiving accident reports from owners who received the reinforcement bracket installs. The automaker indicates that there have been several accident reports where rear axles cracked, causing drivers to lose control of their vehicles. To date, Ford says it does not know how many of the previously repaired minivans are affected.
The new repair process will consist of dealers inspecting the vehicles and replacing the rear axles on minivans that had previously received the reinforcement brackets free of charge. Owners who had the rear axles previously replaced on the minivans will be offered a $300 discount on the price of a new rear axle installment.
The recall includes Ford Windstar minivans that were assembled at the Oakville Assembly plant from September 2, 1997 through July 3, 2003. About 283,413 minivans were sold throughout the United States, and the remaining were sold and registered in Canada.
Ford Spokeswoman, Kellie Felker, claims the reinforcement brackets are an adequate fix despite the new accident reports resulting in axle failures. Felker also stated that Ford’s $300 discount would cover half of a rear axle replacement costs.
The company’s actions are facing criticism, with some saying that a total rear axle replacement costs on average $1,000. Officials with the Center for Auto Safety say that Ford’s encouraging owners to get a new rear axle is a discrete admission that the only sufficient remedy is a new rear axle.
Vehicle owners with questions can go to Ford’s website to enter their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to verify if their model year Windstar minivan is included in the recall.
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