The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has opened a second investigation into 1999-2003 Ford Windstar minivans. The new probe has arisen amidst reports of front subframe corrosion that can cause the vehicle to lose steering. Apparently, a number of owners in salt-belt states have complained of front steering components rusting to the point of failure, causing a total loss of steering in the process. NHTSA will be looking into a total 900,000 potentially affected vehicles as part of the first stage of a process that could ultimately lead to recall.
As we first reported in May, Windstar minivans of the same vintage are currently under investigation for a similar corrosion concern in the rear of the vehicle. The government agency launched an investigation after receiving 234 complaints of the vehicles' rear axles fracturing. Owners claim that the design allows for road salt and grime to collect in certain places, accelerating corrosion in the process.
Ford says that it is doing everything it can to cooperate with the investigation and address any design issue, should one exist. According to Automotive News, the Windstar, which was built between 1994 and 2003, has been the subject of a total of 10 recalls so far.
[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]