1. Autos
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Ford Answers on Windstar Axle and Subframe Recall More Elusive

Possible Class Action Lawsuits May Make Ford Tight Lipped

By

Ford Answers on Windstar Axle and Subframe Recall More Elusive

2000 Ford Windstar minivan is among the models being recalled for cracked or perforated rear axles as well as subframe concerns.

Photo (c) Ford
Updated March 14, 2011

There are still lots of questions about the Ford Windstar recall on topics such as the front subframe recall and making the Windstars roadworthy again after sitting for months. Your questions about the Windstar recall were sent to Ford to get some answers, which seem more elusive than ever.

But, Ford is less willing to share answers than it had when the recall was first announced. Apparently the Big Blue Oval's lips are tightly sealed now in the face of possible class action lawsuits.

One interesting tidbit that I may have missed in the past was the fact that customers should not have to use credit cards at all for their rentals. It is all supposed to be handled by the dealer, which makes sense because these rentals could put a huge burden on your credit cards in terms of deposits that need to be held.

Ford earlier answered Windstar recall questions. You should read those answers and compare.

Here are the answers to the most recent questions from Ford PR exec Wes Sherwood.

Q. What is Ford going to do to make Windstars ready for the road again after having sat on dealer lots for months?

A. We have provided dealers guidelines and an allowance to help ensure customers' vehicles are properly maintained.

FOLLOW-UP Q. Why is Ford not disclosing the guidelines about making the Windstars ready for the road? The reason I ask is customers have had such wide disparities in treatment depending on which dealer they get.

A. We have provided dealers guidelines and an allowance to help ensure customers' vehicles are properly maintained. In general, we've provided the tools so dealers can maintain vehicles according to varying local conditions. We also provided several specific recommendations such as regularly starting the engine and move the vehicle to avoid flat spots on tires and brake rotor corrosion. Further, these vehicles have not been subjected to extreme amounts of salt during the winter months. The vehicles also don't experience other typical wear and tear, and increased mileage - the factors most commonly attributable to lower resale values. Customers should address any questions with their dealers, or they can contact Ford.

FOLLOW-UP Q. Do the guidelines cover replacing tires that have been damaged or engines and batteries that have been neglected for months?

A. We have provided dealers guidelines and an allowance to help ensure customers' vehicles are properly maintained and returned in a similar condition to when it was originally stored. In general, we've provided the tools so dealers can maintain vehicles according to varying local conditions. We also provided several specific recommendations such as regularly starting the engine and move the vehicle to avoid flat spots on tires and brake rotor corrosion. While this does not cover issues that existed prior to storage, customers should work with their dealers if they have questions.

FOLLOW-UP Q. Why would Ford encourage parking Windstars outside that were already suffering from rust problems? Does this not enhance the problem?

A. Ford has worked hard with dealers to help ensure customers' vehicles are properly maintained and returned in a similar condition to when it was originally stored. Further, these vehicles have not been subjected to extreme amounts of salt during the winter months. The vehicles also don't experience other typical wear and tear, and increased mileage - the factors most commonly attributable to lower resale values.

FOLLOW-UP Q. Who do customers appeal to if they feel their dealers have not helped them get the Windstars road ready after sitting on dealer lots for the better part of four months in winter weather?

A. Customers can contact Ford with any questions. We suggest customers call 800-392-3673.

Q. Has Ford authorized repairs to make the Windstars ready for the road after they are repaired?

A. Same response as above. [Ed. Note: Wes is referring to the mysterious guidelines. The follow up questions have put this answer out of order.]

Q. Is there a buyback offer for Windstars with cracked front subframes?

A. Ford dealers will inspect the vehicles and, in the majority of cases, install front subframe lower control arm and body mount reinforcement brackets as parts are available. If a customer's vehicle does not pass inspection before parts are available to complete the repair, Ford will provide a rental vehicle. In the rare case it is determined a vehicle cannot be repaired, a vehicle repurchase offer will be made to customers.

Q. What is the timeline for getting front subframes repaired?

A. We expect to begin ramping up the supply of reinforcement brackets in early March.

FOLLOW-UP Q. One reader said she can't get her subframe inspected for two weeks. What is Ford's recommendation in that case? Should she keep driving the Windstar and hope for the best?

A. Customers can contact Ford if they have any questions. We suggest customers call 800-392-3673.

Q. Will Ford pay an independent mechanic to do a thorough inspection of Windstars being held for the axle replacement that has been sitting out in harsh winter conditions and pay for any repairs necessary above the allotted $150 per vehicle?

A. We have provided dealers guidelines and an allowance to help ensure customers' vehicles are properly maintained. Customers should address any questions with their dealers.

Q. Are people waiting for front subframe replacements given rental cars? What happens for those folks who may not have credit cards?

A. If a customer's vehicle does not pass inspection before parts are available to complete the repair, Ford will provide a rental vehicle. The dealer will handle the transaction so the customer should not have to provide a credit card.

Q. How many rear axles have been fixed as of Feb. 21?

A. While we cannot provide exact figure, Ford continues to repair vehicles with axle reinforcement brackets and is quickly ramping up shipments of rear axles for those vehicles that require replacements. We expect to have ample replacement axles in March to repair most vehicles that currently are at dealerships.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.