Ford announces Windstar recall for cracking rear axles

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Ford Windstar

Ford is expanding a Windstar recall. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Ford has expanded an ongoing recall of the Windstar minivan to include an additional 27,000 vans in Virginia that may have cracked axles or axle mounting brackets. The issue is with road salts, which corrode components and has resulted in a number of recalls from different manufacturers.

Cracking axle recall expands

In 2010, according to AutoGuide, Ford announced a recall of 1998 to 2003 Ford Windstar minivans for rear axles and axle mounting brackets. The initial recall, according to Businessweek, extended to Windstar vans made in Ford’s plant in Oakville, in the Canadian province of Ontario, between September 1997 and July 2003, extending to hundreds of thousands of vehicles across 23 states in the U.S. Windstar vans in Canada were also included.

The issue is not entirely a manufacturing defect, but rather an issue with road salts, used as a deicer during the winter months. The salt can cause the axles and axle mounting brackets to rust, corrode and break, raising the risk of a crash, injury or death due to a loss of control of the vehicle.

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The recall has just been expanded again.

Virginia is for lovers and Windstar recalls

Ford has expanded the recall to include a further 27,000 Windstar vans in Virginia, according to Businessweek, as the company has received 11 reports in 2011 and 2012 of cracked axles in Windstar vans there. Virginia was not included in the initial recall. The expansion of the recall to include Virginia brings the total number of vehicles to more than 600,000 Windstar vans.

Just as in the previous recall, owners should take their vans to the nearest Ford dealership, where technicians will inspect the vehicle. If necessary, the axle and mounting brackets will be replaced. No accidents in Virginia have been reported as a result of axle corrosion from road salts. However, in other states where the recall had previously been conducted, there were eight crashes, resulting in three injuries and one death.

Salty dog

Road salt has been implicated in a number of recalls. Deicing salt can get into the undercarriage of vehicles and cause rust and corrosion in suspension components, leading to failure in vehicles that don’t have parts treated for the salts. The states that use road salt are referred to as the “Salt Belt” and auto recalls are fairly common for road salt corrosion.

Several manufacturers have announced Salt Belt recalls in recent months. In March, according to MotorTrend, Chrysler recalled 209,274 2004 and 2005 Jeep Liberty SUVs for salt corrosion on the front lower control arms.

In September 2011, according to Inside Line, Subaru recalled 104,981 2002 to 2007 Impreza, 179,795 Forester and 10,347 Sabb 9-2X models for corroding front control arms in the Salt Belt. The Saab 9-2X was included as it was a re-badged Impreza.





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