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Questions Windstar Owners Have About the Recall

Ford Replies to Questions Poised by About.Com Readers

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Questions Windstar Owners Have About the Recall

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

Photo (c) Ford

The ongoing saga of the Ford Windstar recall has people confused, angry and wondering what to do. In an attempt to clarify some of what is going on, an interview was conducted with Wes Sherwood, Safety Communications Manager, for Ford about questions Windstar owners have about the recall.

Customers with questions can contact Ford directly. The toll-free number is 800-392-3673.

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When will the Windstars be fixed?

This is probably the most important question on owners' minds. According to Sherwood, Ford expects to have replacement parts ready that will fix axles that can be repaired before the end of the year. Expect to wait until the beginning of 2011 before enough axles are in replace to fix broken axles. In the meantime, customers can keep driving the rental cars that Ford is providing them. {It is April 13 - and plenty of folks are still waiting. Not sure when the timeline ends but expect Summer 2011.]

What exactly is Ford offering Windstar owners in relief for the rusting axles?

The information outlined in a Detroit News article is correct that Ford, at its discretion, will buy back some Ford Windstars at a price it believes matches or exceeds market value. There is also information in the article about the cutoff for purchase of a Windstar. Savvy speculators can't buy broken down Windstars and hope to sell them to Ford for a quick profit.

Sherwood said that means Ford is offering the Kelley Blue Book excellent value price for the Ford Windstar based on its private sale value before the recall. Private sale value is an important distinction because it means a lot more money for the consumer. For example, a 2000 Windstar with 150,000 miles on it would be worth $975 at trade-in vs. $1980 at private sale. (Ed. note: Those numbers were run on Nov. 1, 2010 just for comparison's sake.) As soon as it becomes available, info on how to determine the Aug. 15 value will be published.

The customer will receive the payment in a check - but expect to wait for it. In addition, customers will be offered $2000 towards the purchase of a new Ford ($2500 if financed through Ford Credit) or $500 for the purchase of a used car from a Ford dealer. That used car offer is kind of a low number with prices of used cars increasing and could typically represent less than a 5% savings.

It's important to keep in mind that not all vehicles will be repurchased. "We believe we will be able to repair most of the vehicles," Sherwood said during a phone interview from Ford's Dearborn headquarters.

Customers do not have to sell their Windstars back to Ford. "For cases where people don't think it works for them, we do have alternatives," said Sherwood.

The prices are supposedly set in stone for what you are going to receive. However, that doesn't mean you can bring some pressure to bear on your local Ford dealer. After all, they need new car sales. They can't afford to have tons of dissatisfied customers spreading bad messages about them.

If the dealer offers no satisfaction, work through your local department of consumer affairs or state attorney general's office. Be able to document that Ford is not dealing fairly with you.

What are the alternatives for Windstar owners?

Ford will allow them the free use of a rental car until their Windstar can be repaired. Sherwood stressed that it should be entirely free for the consumer with no out-of-pocket expenses. They should not be paying sales taxes or other charges. Payment should be handled between the dealer and the rental car agency.

What should a consumer do if no recall notice has been received?

As Sherwood explained, sending out a recall notice is complex. Ford needs to get records of all Windstar owners from the motor vehicle departments across the country to make sure the right owner receives the recall notice. Ford's records are not complete on ownership and address changes without that DMV info.

Once a recall is announced, an owner can bring the car into their Ford dealership. (Ed. note - you might want to call first.) Not sure if your vehicle is subject to a recall? Sherwood said owners can go to the Ford website [Ed note: the link no longer works as of Aug 2011] and enter their vehicle identification number for up-to-date recall information.

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