Used 1996 Ford Windstar Minivan Consumer Reviews
Admittedly bought this car "as is" from a used car lot, but seems like an awful lot in repair bills in one year for a vehicle with only about 110,000 miles: Head gasket $1,700. Alternator $560. Transmission $2,300. Already more in repairs than I paid for it. Which is frustrating as otherwise it's comfortable to drive, and has the room I need to haul stuff around when the seats are taken out.
I bought this van 6 years ago. It had 140,000 miles when I bought it. It ran pretty well. I have had to replace a few very expensive parts. The ABS keeps messing up my front breaks (I have to replace them every year). The speed sensor is bad, and have had to replace the O2 sensors. The rear defrost fried and does not work, thank goodness for my garage. The seats are very heavy to take out, as well. Over-all, the van has been pretty good to me. Has not left me stranded anywhere. I'm able to drive long hauls with no problems. I do wished it had the drivers side sliding door. It's ok, though. My boys call it the NASCAR Van. lol
I bought this with 48K on it from an individual who had done all the scheduled maintenance. At around 70K the problems started occurring including, but not limited to: Transmission and A\C compressor. Other problems include a multitude of minor problems which have all added up, including but not limited to: Cracked gas tank - We didn't hit anything Rear wiper motor went out rear vent window motor went out CD player spits out 90% of CDs without playing Both cigarette lighters won't charge Alarm system goes off for no reason I'll be trading this in soon, so i'd advise against anyone in Austin against buying a used one. It might be this one.
We finally traded our Windstar as our clunker. It served our transportation needs over a decade and it protected us through two accidents. Power steering that growled and Ford replacements that growled worse did not give us confidence about Fords. The worst part was that the Ford dealership was essentially telling me that the vehicle was used up well under 100K. The engine blew up at 80K when a non-dealership mechanic was doing a head gasket leakage test didn't help matters. We were nursing a sick transmission when the CARS program came on. We jumped at the chance!
Call me an idiot but I bought another 3.8 engine. I have a Ford Thunderbird with 3.8 engine and had the head gaskets replaced and now I'm changing the head gaskets on a 96 Windstar. Neither case has ford offered to help. I find it very funny that they say it is because of maintenance. I do my own maintenance. I changed the oil every 2,000 miles on the Thunderbird and followed the maintenance manual for flush and fills of the anti-freeze. My advice to anyone is stay away from Fords. If you do buy a Ford stay away from the 3.8 engine.