• Ford is recalling 27,000 Windstar models sold or registered in Virginia
  • The extra units add to a widespread recall related to axle corrosion
  • Owners will be notified of the recall by mail beginning June 18

Ford has announced that it is recalling 27,000 additional Windstar minivans as part of a larger recall that has already affected more than 600,000 units in the United States and Canada. The automaker and the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the addition to the recall. This time, it only affects 1998-2003 Windstar models sold or registered in Virginia.

The reason for the limited geographic scope of the recall is because affected vehicles are prone to rust on their axles, which is hastened by road salt primarily used in snowy northern states. In August 2010, Ford recalled a whopping 575,000 units of the minivan sold or registered in the Northeast, the Mountain West, the Upper Midwest and Canada and manufactured between September 1, 1997, and July 3, 2003. Recent analysis, undoubtedly bolstered by 11 reports of axle cracks in the past four months, determined that vehicles sold or registered in Virginia may also experience problems with axle corrosion.

According to Ford, owners of affected Windstar models sold or registered Virginia will be contacted by mail beginning June 18 and asked to take their minivans to an authorized dealership, where its axles will be inspected for rust. Regardless of whether corrosion is found, dealers will either install brackets to reinforce axles free of charge or, in extreme cases, replace affected axles altogether. Ford says customers who have already paid for axle replacement will be reimbursed for their expenses.

The original recall stemmed from 234 reports of axle failures caused by rust, including two accidents directly related to the issue. In December 2010, several months after the recall was issued, a Massachusetts man was killed in a collision while driving his 2001 Windstar after its axle broke. The collision prompted Ford to issue a public warning urging Windstar owners to have their vehicles checked for rust.

Interestingly, the Windstar was also included in a second corrosion-related recall issued in January 2011. That recall, which included 425,000 Windstar models from the 1999-2003 model years sold in salt use states and Washington, covered the minivan's front lower control arm, which was similarly prone to corrosion and fracture. According to NHTSA and Ford, the control arm's failure could cause a loss of steering control, potentially leading to an accident. Windstar owners with questions about any of Ford's recalls can contact the automaker at 800-392-3673 or reach NHTSA's recall hotline at 888-327-4236.

What it means to you: If you live in Virginia, or any snow belt state, and own a 1999-2003 Windstar, don't hesitate to have your minivan's axles checked for rust.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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