Ford recalls 575,000 Windstars


Ford Motor Co. is recalling 575,000 Windstar vans produced at the Oakville, Ont. assembly plant over concerns that the rear axles can corrode and potentially break during normal operation.

According to the Associated Press, the recall covers model years 1998 to 2003 sold 
or registered where the heavy use of road salt can cause more corrosion.

That includes Canada, New England, the Mid-Atlantic U.S. states and the Great Lakes region.

Ford said the recall affects about 112,000 vehicles in Canada and roughly 463,000 in the U.S. 

The news agency reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) started investigating earlier this year after fielding as many as 234 Windstar driver complaints of rear axle problems. Two crashes are apparently included in those registered complaints.

No injuries have been linked to the problem.

Published reports indicate the NHTSA said the design of the axle, which forms an inverted “U”, may “cause an excess of salty road slurry to collect on the axle.”

“The safety regulator reported that 96 per cent of all complaints were from the ‘Salt Belt' states where salt is heavily used to prevent freezing during winter months,” the news agency said.

Ford filed documents last week with NHTSA indicating it plans to contact owners beginning Sept. 27 with information on repairs.

- With files from The Associated Press