1996 Ford Windstar 3.8L from North America


75,000 miles, blown head gasket.

87,000 miles, new starter.

106,000 miles, new front end.

The body scratches and dings very easily.

Only one sliding door.

General Comments:

This car has great handling, is comfortable on long road trips, and is good on gas.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th March, 2012

1996 Ford Windstar GL 3.8 from North America


Poorly designed


If you buy this car, the first thing you've got to do is replace the head gasket; they were made too thin, almost paper thin. If you do not replace it, the antifreeze will leak into the engine.

Secondly, the transmission was designed by someone that was not thinking when they designed it. Poor selection of parts. Solution; dump the cheap transmission fluid, change the filter, and replace the fluid with a synthetic one.

Furthermore, 2 more steps for the transmission, and you will thank me for this, put in a transmission radiator, and last add Lucas transmission additive; there, you just saved your transmission.

The horn stops working for no reason.

Alternator, belt, ball joints replacement, springs, brake fluid leaks, and you can't figure out where, not even the mechanics can.

The list goes on and on.

General Comments:

All Windstars should have been named model YEGRSWF, that is for: (your EGR sensor will fail). What do you expect from a Ford (fix on road daily).

You will have all you lights on the dashboard light up like a Christmas tree. Problems with the air bag, and anti lock brake system. You will drive mechanics nuts trying to figure out how to fix the problem.

The tires have to be removed each year to get rid of the salt or road particles from the rim, otherwise you will be making lots of trips to the gas station to fill up with air.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th October, 2010

1996 Ford Windstar LX 3.8L from North America


I believe is one of Ford's worst models


My anti-lock brake sensors are broken. The engine light comes on, but mechanic says nothing wrong.

The back door lock will not unlock, and I cannot get the tailgate open. Anyone have this problem? If so, how do I fix it?

Power windows broke. We did fix them ourselves.

All new rotors and brake pads.

The driver's side power seat will no longer move.

General Comments:

I am very unhappy with this vehicle. I would never buy another Windstar.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 24th January, 2010

1996 Ford Windstar GL 3.8L from North America


Decent van when it's not in the shop


Engine threw a rod at 62K.

1st transmission blew at 70k, second one at 125k.

Brake and power steering lines completely rusted through, fixed in 2005.

Rear windows intermittently work.

Both strut bearings are seizing.

Replaced both front wheel bearings twice.

ABS light has been on for 9 years (no interest in fixing).

Power steering pump is currently whining again.

General Comments:

This vehicle has had its problems for sure. Fords made during this era seem to be designed for expensive failure - components are poorly engineered and costly to repair. If the parts cost don't get you then the labor will.

That said, when the van is working it is very comfortable to drive. It is slow as all hell and does NOT like to be floored, but doing so doesn't net much extra speed anyways - so drive it lazy. Gas mileage isn't horrific, my VR6 Jetta gets about 1-2mpg more overall, but I do drive that car much more aggressively.

Lots of space in the van and it's a decent people hauler, but don't expect to tow anything even approaching the 3500lb tow rating.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 12th August, 2009

1996 Ford Windstar LX 3.8L from North America


Ford (Fix Or Repair Daily)


At 90000 miles break downs started to occur. The vehicle emitted a white cloud of smoke, like a jet in the sky, blinding anyone who was traveling behind it. The manifold gasket blew, 3 months after that the head gasket blows. After having these repairs all done at the dealer out of my own pocket, a month later the transmission went bad and I could only drive it in first gear.

Having spent already on manifold and head gasket, and being in the hole, we decided to repair the transmission. At a well known transmission franchise, we were sucked into a repair estimated that was reasonable only to find out that to complete the job we would be outrageously overcharged. We stopped the work and towed the vehicle to a small trusted and honorable mechanic shop. There we had the transmission repaired, and the hole that was punctured in the old pan by the vindictive transmission franchise that tried to outrage overcharge us repaired.

Other problems to date, the engine light remains on, they are shining in amber along with ABS brakes light. The ABS brake system no longer functions.

When heating or A/C is on it sucks up oil burning smell from the oil leaks and antifreeze leaks from the engine into the passenger compartment.

At 150000 miles, the vehicle now has a timing chain cover gasket leak, and needs to be repaired as all the antifreeze is leaking out.

I have maintained the vehicle and change the oil every 3000 miles. Give it an annual rust protection spray ever year.

Brakes have been replaced all around, tires, battery, alternator, starter motor, rear shocks, one exhaust converter, back door power lock assembly and left rear brake lines. These items are reasonable and I factor them in as regular maintenance due to wear and tear.

General Comments:

The vehicle is a gas guzzler. It has a 29 gallon tank and I only get 350 miles combined out of it.

When gas prices are high, it is not affordable to drive.

To sum it all up:

The engine and transmission on this vehicle are lemons due to early and expensive repairs.

With so many car manufacturer competing for my car dollar, you only have once in a life time to impress me.

Ford Windstar, you did not!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 24th February, 2009

25th Feb 2009, 11:30

"The engine and transmission on this vehicle are lemons due to early expressive repairs."

But your ratings section says you bought it at 88,000 miles and 8 years old. And you have gotten another 8 years and 80,000 miles out of it.

Whoever sold it to you probably had noticed that the transmission was acting up and they got rid of it before they had to deal with the repairs. I would say maybe the transmission maintenance was not followed, but honestly, even with proper maintenance, it seems a lot of older Windstar transmissions go out at around 80,000 miles. That is one reason you can buy them so cheap.

My wife has a Windstar, and I keep encouraging her to come to a complete stop before going from reverse to forward, but she just won't do it. She is so distracted with the kids and work. It is just better not to nag her too much and just pay for a transmission repair later, or sell it before we get to that point.

I am sorry to hear about the major chain transmission repair shop that gave deceptive estimates and then sabotaged your transmission pan.

I have heard from other people too that the best way to get a good transmission repair is ask around and find the best local shop there is. It will cost less and be done better. Sounds like you kind of had the same experience.