1996 Ford Windstar GL 3.8 L SPI from North America
Sell your Windstar before the warranty expires
During the warranty: various recalls, service charges ran to $500-$1000 per year.
After the warranty: blown timing gasket (45K miles), $1500.
Car died in the middle of the street at 51K miles: Repaired the anti-lock brake system (ABS), $1100. Replaced the power steering rack, $600.
The car has been driven gently and maintained at all recommended points exclusively by the Ford dealer.
It's a nice car to own and drive, but its rapid senescence is discouraging. It would be worth spending $20,000 MORE for a new vehicle that had a long, tight guarantee and lived up to expectations with no major problems.
The car has always had lousy mileage. EPA rating was 19 city, 29 highway; it has never gotten more than 16 city, 21 highway, and averages about 19 mpg overall. That's not a big added cost, but it's a constant annoyance.
The dealership and the Ford people themselves are very cagey about warranty and post-warranty service. The dealer says, "I can offer you a discount of such-and-such on your $2000 repair bill, but only if you accept it without going to Ford or shopping around". Ford backs up the dealer on this policy, saying the dealer is just following "guidelines". I asked Ford whether they could share those guidelines with me, and the answer was no, "because the guidelines are different for each independently owned dealer". Go figure. What a run-around. At least I got through to the Ford warranty people (1-800-392-3673) in only two tries.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 4th September, 2001