1996 Ford Windstar GL 3.8 from North America


Good, reliable transportation I'll run it to 200,000 miles


Speedometer at 90,000.

Serpentine Belt at 80,000 miles and 136,000 miles.

Belt tensioner at 136,000 miles.

Check Engine light coming on/off intermittently from day one, dealer could never fix it, said ignore it.

General Comments:

I got this van new, and it was a company car. I put 79,000 miles on it in 18 months, then bought it for a family car.

It stranded my wife in 1998 when the serpentine belt broke, and stranded us agin last December when the belt tensioner failed and the belt broke again.

That's the only time it has ever let us down.

As far as maintenance, I originally changed the oil at 500 miles, then every 3000 miles, using Mobil 1 10w30 synthetic.

Transmission fluid was changed at 40,000, 80,000, and 120,000 miles. Not just the 4 quarts in the pan, but all 14 quarts, and I used good transmission fluid, Mobil 1 full synthetic.

Spark plugs were changed at 92,000 miles and 135,000 miles.

It still has the original brake rotors and drums, the pads have been changed once, and it's due again.

It's not perfect, in that it's had an annoying habit of the check engine light coming on once-in-a-while, and the first time I took it in the dealer said it was just emissions, and that it would go off by itself, and it did, and it still does, because every now and then, for no apparent reason it comes on again.

At 90,000 miles the speedometer started wavering at speed, so I sent it in to Speedometer Plus in Los Angelas and they rebuilt it for less than $100.00. What choice did I have - the dealer wanted $350.00.

It's on it's second windshield, and is due for a 3rd now.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th October, 2008

1996 Ford Windstar LX 3.8 from North America


We STILL love our 96 Windstar


Head gasket replaced at 74,000 miles.

Replaced tie rods at 185,000.

General Comments:

This car has served us VERY well and is still going! We bought this car used and have had only one major problem, but because we bought an extended warranty, it was covered.

The van goes to have its oil changed every 3,000 miles, has tune-ups as necessary, fluids changed, brakes adjusted, etc.

After 3 kids and 12 years, it is starting to look older, but as far as reliability, it's great!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd July, 2008

1996 Ford Windstar GL 3.8L from North America


A roomy, comfortable van that served us well for many years


We've been very lucky compared with other '96 Windstar owners, as ours has 140,000 miles on it and until now required no major repairs except for replacing the transmission this year!!

But now, the dreaded blown head gasket has reared its ugly head.

My husband was driving on the freeway when the engine "blew up", in his words. He smelled a strong smell of coolant and after reading other complaints on here, seems in line with the coolant leaking into the head gasket and frying the bearings. They said the head gasket is blown and the problem can't be fixed, must replace the engine. Not sure if we want to do that with a 12 year old van. Might make more sense to put the money towards a new vehicle as everything else might start going wrong at this point.

Other problems we've had like many other owners include the dome light staying on.

The check engine light staying lit.

The traction control light staying lit and.

The rear tailgate not locking.

Guess getting 140,000 trouble-free miles out of a 1996 Ford Windstar engine before it fails is pretty amazing, but despite the overall longevity of the engine, ironic that the classic head gasket problem finally does it in.

General Comments:

Too bad about the engine and transmission problems with Windstars because it was the most comfortable, roomy, easy to drive van we'd ever found. Visibility is great and the seats are really supportive and comfortable on the '96. The modern, rounded body style on the original models kept it looking new for many, many years.

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

Review Date: 21st April, 2008