1996 Ford Windstar LX 3.8L from North America


Well designed, but, poorly manufactured


Transmission Master Cylinder Ring Cracked at 18,000 miles - warrantied.

Popping sound under drivers floor board, dealership could never find it.

02 sensors went out at 40,000 miles.

Head gasket blew at 60,000 miles.

ABS sensor went out on right rear wheel around 60,000 miles.

Power lock switches chatter when pressed, no longer smooth and quiet.

Sliding door came loose from mounting brackets.

Left rear vent motor went out - while opened if you can believe it.

2 of the 3 power points have broken loose from the panels that hold them.

Ignition switch and door sensors are bad, door open alarm sounds a lot of the time.

Ignition problems at 120,000 miles caused by a bad connector. cost $876.00 to find, all labor, $12.75 for the connector.

The trunk lock has let loose from the body. It now turns freely and pops out on occasion. This has occurred in the last few weeks.

General Comments:

The car when new was wonderful and under warranty, but it was cheaply built. As evidenced by switch, motor and sensor failures.

It is still comfortable to drive despite all the little problems and in general had been reliable. I have found it too handle very well under emergency conditions, like tire blow outs and black ice.

The Windstar is very hard on brakes. I started to replace them myself do to the frequency of failure. Also, the ware indicators on most of the pads are too little, too late. When they are heard the rotors are trashed.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 19th October, 2002

1996 Ford Windstar from North America


Even if Ford isn't...I am embarrased that this is an American product


We purchased the Windstar in 1998 with 41,000 miles on it. Luckily, we also purchased the extended warranty.

We had to replace the transmission at 58,000 miles only to find out that the previous owners had also replaced the transmission (putting it at three transmission now - including the one it was built with).

Then we had the transmission go out AGAIN at 67, 000 miles and had the fourth transmission put in.

During the "test drive" that the mechanic did at a Ford Dealership Repair Shop on the new transmission, the engine went out on the mechanic! They said there was water in the #1 cyl. and replaced the engine. The van was in the shop for over a month!

The van was back in the shop at 87,000 miles with a seal leak on the newest transmission (that was in April 2002).

I took my van back into the shop last week - Oct. 7, 2002 (91,000 miles - only 3,500 miles since the last repair) and was told it needed a new seal again and Ford was saying they would not cover it again because my warranty had expired a couple of weeks ago. The sales rep. also felt that with as many problems as we've had that Ford should cover it. I was then told it was safe to drive because it was a slow leak and it had plenty of fluid - and to go call Ford and see if they would change their minds.

The van was NOT safe to drive - even though it had fluid - the transmission gave out completely and stopped shifting into gear when I was on a busy road.

I've talked with three people from the 1-800-392-3673 Ford number. The supervisor (Marisha) not only did not offer any help she also refused to let me speak to her boss.

To sum up, the van needs it's fifth transmission and I am getting no support from Ford. It's also on it's second engine that was put in at 67,000 miles!

General Comments:

Ford knows that the 1996 Windstars have problems and they do not care enough about their customers to stand behind what they build.

We should tell everyone so they are prepared to monetarily bleed for this van!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 13th October, 2002

15th Apr 2004, 18:25

I have a 2000 Windstar and the transmission gave out on me yesterday in traffic. It has only 55,000 miles. Did you ever get anywhere with Ford? I am furious! I guess my father was right about what FORD stands for!

4th Jan 2005, 19:06

Our 1996 Ford Windstar has been a money pit. It has only 85,000 miles on it. In that time, we have replaced items such as the front suspension, the ignition system, several door switches (the dome light tends to stay on due to an improper "door ajar" signal), and the switch assembly which controls the windshield wiper functions (it's no fun to drive in the rain without wipers). The topper, however, was during our 2003 annual summer vacation to Ocean Isle NC (from Akron, Oh). In the mountains of WVa, the transmission went out (thus, while we spent a week in NC, our van spent a week in WVa). Other nagging problems (which we live with, because the van is still drivable) include the ABS light constantly on (around 50,000 miles), and the "Check Engine" light coming on whenever we took a trip through the mountains (which, we will NEVER AGAIN do in THAT VAN!). For all those problems, we never got as much as 1-cent of help from Ford (good PR on their part - my wife & I are both teachers. We literally warn hundreds of students each year to stay away from Ford products).