1996 Ford Windstar GL 3.8L from North America


If taken care of, it is a reliable vehicle


My head gasket blew out at 340,000 kilometers. This is unfortunate, but expected for the mileage.

My transmission went at 150,000 kilometers and again at 310,000 kilometers. I do expect better from a vehicle then two transmissions in three years. There is an update for these transmissions, but it is costly, and the planetary gear set usually flies apart causing more cost, I had to buy a used transmission and then have that one rebuilt. The cost was through the roof, about 2900.00 dollars Canadian.

General Comments:

I am impressed with the van, overall it has been decent except for the power-train trouble.

I have used this van for two years as a taxi and it has served well, except the transmission.

This is the first time the engine has been touched in it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th March, 2003

1996 Ford Windstar GL 3.8 from North America


Low cost, comfortable, but has severe issues


The speedometer has broken.

The driverside door chimes and the lights stay on.

The transmission slips.

It temp of the van runs very high.

General Comments:

The van is very safe for a family while driving. It is comfortable, but Ford needs to fix these common problems with their windstars before I'd buy another one.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 6th March, 2003

24th May 2004, 14:50

Having trouble with interior lights staying on and chimes.

Spray some WD-40 in the door lock (usually driver side door, but spray all), learned this trick from a dealer.

The chime was driving me insane, so I went to the dealer on a Saturday afternoon and talked to one of the guys at the service desk. Five minutes later the problem was gone!!! This guy just prevented some big time road rage.


1996 Ford Windstar GL 3.8L V6 from North America


Good van, but poor service from Ford


Speedometer/speedo-head went bad after 50K. $450 to replace.

Power window/lock motors/solenoid needed replacement after 60K.

Rear seat latch completely broken.

2 alternators have gone bad.

O2 sensors went bad, told repeatedly by dealer to just clear the fault by unplugging the battery. In the end it cost $600 to repair.

Check engine light comes on constantly. Ford dealership keeps nickel/diming me due to emission sensors and the like.

General Comments:

I actually like the comfort, the ride, and the look of this 1996 GL.

I love the rear AC.

The captain chairs in the back are very comfortable.

I hate changing the air filter. Why can't they make it easier?

The reason I will never buy another Ford is the service from the various dealers I've been to.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 5th March, 2003

1996 Ford Windstar GL 3.8 V6 from North America


A hunk of junk


Weather stripping around driver's door started coming loose and had to be replaced not once, but twice within first six months of ownership.

Transmission had to be replaced at 75,000 miles. Replaced under extended warranty.

Motor mounts had to be replaced at 75,000 miles.

Power lock on rear and side doors have jammed twice.

General Comments:

The automatic transmission seemed weak from the start, but the dealership would not do anything about it until it was extremely obvious and I had a diagnostic printout from another repair shop.

The dealership left the speedometer disconnected when the transmission was repaired. The check engine light was on too.

The dealership connected the speedometer and cleared the check engine light, but the speedometer has made a buzzing sound at highway speeds ever since. It is now out of warranty.

The dealer was very willing to sell me the vehicle but servicing it after the sale was another matter.

It took over a week to have the weather stripping repaired. We dropped off the van on a Monday and called to check on Tuesday and Thursday but was told they hadn't "had a chance to look at it yet". On Friday we were told they had to order the weather stripping and it wouldn't be in until the following week. I was furious because I told them what the problem was on Monday and it was obvious when one looked at the rubber falling off from around the drivers door. This experience is indicative of just about every experience that I've had with Ford.

I've had the vehicle maintained by an independant mechanic after such poor service from the dealer's service department. It has had it's oil changed every 3,000 miles along with other maintenance. I tried three different Ford Dealership Service Departments and received extremely poor service from all three.

I have driven Toyota's, Honda's and Acura's since the 1980's. I bought the Windstar because Toyota's Previa and Honda's mini-van were underpowered.

I'll never by another Ford.


Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd February, 2003