Ford will announce on Friday that it is issuing a voluntary recall of 575,000 1998-2003 Windstar minivans because of rear axles rusting, said Said Deep, a Ford spokesman.
In May, the National HighwayTraffic Safety Administration opened a preliminary evaluation into broken rear axles on 1999–2003 Windstars. At the time, the agency said it had received 234 complaints, including two reports of accidents (and no injuries).
According to that evaluation document, the problem seemed to be worse in states that use a lot of road salt. “The rear axle beam in the subject vehicles is an inverted ‘U’ channel design, which appears to provide a collection point for road salt slurry, resulting in corrosion that progressively weakens the part until it fractures,” the document stated.