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Back in August, Ford recalled 462,750 Windstar minivans in Salt-belt states for rear axle corrosion problems, with another 117,000 units recalled in Canada. Then Utah's 29,900 Windstar owners were added to the list in November. In 2009, Ford also recalled 1.7 million Windstars for faulty cruise control deactivation switches.

The Ford Windstar is already being examined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The rear axles were the initial target of investigation but now the review has widened due to claims of the Windstar's front subframe also being prone to corrosion. So far, NHTSA says it has logged 346 complaints directly related to Ford Windstar engine cradles cracking or showing excessive rust and corrosion, which has led to three reported accidents.

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.

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