Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Nationwide
By May 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had received
over 200 complaints from Ford Windstar owners citing rear axles that snapped,
often with little to no warning. Ford, however, resisted the recall and
stood by their product, stating that the Windstar was a front wheel drive
vehicle and that rear axle breakage would not be a safety issue. That,
unfortunately, was not the case and it would take a tragic loss of life
before Ford issue the much needed recall of their rear axle.
The national consumer class action attorneys at Golomb & Honik are
currently litigating class action lawsuits on behalf of those who bought
or leased a 1998 to 2003 model year Ford Windstar in California. These
popular minivans have a rear-axle defect that can make the axles prone
to fractures, which may in turn affect vehicle handling and increase the
risk for collision and severe injuries. If you purchased or leased a 1998
to 2003 Ford Windstar in the state of California, please call our skilled
class action lawyers at
215.278.4449 for your free case evaluation.
Ford Windstar Recall
Amid growing complaints from consumers, the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) in early 2010 began investigating potential flaws
in the rear axles of Ford Windstars that were manufactured between 1997 and 2003.
Evidence indicates that the rear axles on these minivans are susceptible
to premature cracking and fracturing due to inherent metal fatigue that
can occur in certain places on the axles under normal driving conditions.
The axles on the affected Windstars are unsealed, hollow cylinders that
allow water and other corrosive agents to accumulate internally, rusting
the axles from the inside out and making them vulnerable to failure during
Upon investigation, it was determined that 55% of the rear axles fractured
completely and over 25% of the fractures occurred at speeds of 40 mph
or faster. At least one case reported that the axle snapped in half, causing
an accident as the van plowed into a guardrail.
In August 2010, Ford issued a voluntary recall of hundreds of thousands
of 1998 to 2003 Ford Windstars due to the rear axle defect. In the United
States, Ford only extended the Windstar recall to 21 so-called "Salt
Belt" states and the District of Columbia, areas in which the company
said road-salt corrosion is more common. In November 2010, that recall
was expanded to include the State of Utah. The recall is still not enough.
In January 2011, a second corrosion-related recall was issued for the Salt-Belt
states that involved a failure of Ford Windstar’s front lower control
arm. The failure of this front control arm could also result in the loss
When the Rear Axle Fails
When the rear axle breaks or fails suddenly, the Windstar (even though
it is a front wheel drive vehicle) can begin to sway from side-to-side
or suddenly begin to spin. Some drivers reported hearing a sudden loud
pop or high clanking when their rear axle broke. At high speeds, this
loss of sudden control can be disarming and can cause serious and even
By 2011, the number of complaints against Ford had already grown to 891
with 8 crashes, 3 injuries, and 1 fatality cited. Even in 2014, accidents
are still occurring due to Ford rear axle failure, especially in states
where recalls were not offered.
Ford Windstar Class Action
Windstar owners in California and more than 20 other states were excluded
from the recall fix, despite Ford's acknowledgement that the rear
axle failures were primarily the result of metal fatigue and merely accelerated
This metal fatigue defect is present on 1998 to 2003 Windstars in every
state, not just the Salt Belt states in which Ford conducted its selective
recall. The Salt Belt spans from the Northeast through the upper-Midwest
and is generally considered to include Maine, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland,
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode
Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana,
Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota and Washington D.C.
In January 2014, a federal judge in California ruled that two plaintiffs
could proceed against the Ford Motor Company with consumer fraud and warranty
claims stemming from the Windstar rear axle defects. The accomplished
consumer rights lawyers at Golomb & Honik litigated this case on behalf
of the plaintiffs, who seek to represent a class of Windstar owners who
leased or purchased a 1998 to 2003 model year Windstar in California.