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.

General Comments:

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

1996 Ford Windstar GL 3.8 from North America


An excellent family truckstermobile


The sliding door window exploded at about 20,000 miles. Ford fixed it at no cost.

The coil pack went out at 58,000 miles. The bill was $190.00, Ford paid for all but $17.00 of it.

The brakes are starting to pump a little now, I am assuming it is warped rotors, but have not taken a look at them yet.

The passengers side power window stopped working at 50,000 miles.

The airbag light comes on occasionally, this is because there is a circular shaped sensor in the steering wheel that gets dirty, just shut off the van, push on the steering wheel as hard as you can while turning it slightly and that will fix the problem.

General Comments:

The van runs and drives excellent. Its extremely comfortable and quiet to ride in. My local dealer has been great to work with and I would have no problems buying another Ford product.

My only complaint is it does not get as good as gas mileage as I had hoped.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd September, 2001

1996 Ford Windstar GL 3.8 from North America


This van is not worth $20,000 and I will never buy a Ford again


Check engine light came on when we would go on long trips since we bought it.

On a vacation we had a complete tune up done to "correct" the engine light problem to the tune of about $500. It seemed to run better for a while.

Speedometer head is bad. Shop told us it would cost about $600 to repair. This seems to be a common problem.

Engine light has been on for over two months. I have had it in and out of two shops and they are puzzled. They replaced the plug wires and the temperature sensor. Still the engine light came on.

When I took it back a fourth time, they said it was the control module. Guaranteed that would fix the problem. I picked it up, drove it two miles and once again the engine light flashes and runs rough.

I have spent over $1300 and still have a van that runs like crap. Not sure if I am willing to throw any more money away.

General Comments:

The transmission always has had a jerk on occassion.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 18th August, 2001

8th Jan 2002, 18:32

The check engine light comes on when we go on any major trip. Instead of taking it to the dealer and getting milked, I have found a cheaper solution. Put a piece of masking tape over the light. Problem solved! Sometimes I think the only function of check engine light is to provide dealers with some after sales service income. Mine always goes out on its own after a while.