The voluntary recall affects 1998 to 2003 model-year Windstars in areas where road salt is used in cold weather, according to a notice today on the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Web site.
“After many years of vehicle service in these areas, corrosion can weaken the rear axle, making it susceptible to torsional stress,” Ford said in a report posted on NHTSA’s site.
Ford has received about 950 complaints alleging cracking in the rear axle, including seven that resulted in accidents causing three injuries, Said Deep, a Ford spokesman, said in a telephone interview.
The company will repair the recalled vehicles free of charge by installing brackets to reinforce the rear axle, Ford said in the statement.
The U.S. auto-safety agency opened an investigation into the defect in May after receiving 234 complaints alleging rear-axle failures.