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Estimates place the number of Ford Windstar minivans involved in the rear axle recall at about 575,000. The 1998-2003 model year vans have suffered cracked and damaged rear axles, especially in the salt belt. Owners have been dropping them off at Ford dealers to be repaired, and according to a Ford rep, most of them will be back on the road this year. Another clump of them won't be repaired until early next year, however, because they're waiting on components that will arrive in two months.

Ford has spun into action to rectify rear axle problems with the 1998-2003 Windstar minivan by recalling nearly 500,000 of the vehicles, and the company will go as far as to buy back some customer's vehicles rather than fix them. The monetary compensation will be at or above market value, says Ford, but owners shouldn't expect to get their full purchase price back.

Back in May, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration started investigating cases of rear axles breaking in late model Ford Windstar minivans after receiving hundreds of complaints from owners. Over three months later, an official recall has just been announced that covers 575,000 1998-2003 Windstars sold in "Salt Belt" states – places where road salt is used to melt away snow and ice during the winter months. Road salt can accelerate corrosion on the rear axle, which can cause t

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 pa

Toyota's recent issues have turned the lights on automakers' and governments' responses to consumer complaints. Two of the questions to arise, which still haven't been answered, are what is the threshold for customer complaints to be considered a safety defect, and when should the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration open an investigation? An example? More than 200 owners of 1999 to 2003 Ford Windstar minivans have submitted complaints to the NHTSA about snapping rear axles, but there

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