I bought my 2003 Windstar from a used car dealership with 88,000 miles on it. When you're a single Mom on a very tight budget, you will accept little flaws in exchange for overall reliability. Lots of annoying electrical problems, rear windows work randomly, interior lights flash, etc. But mechanically, this car takes all the punishment I give it and more. Very solidly built. Great pickup (I have the 6 cyl. model), and acceptable gas mileage. A few moderate repairs, alternator, wheel bearings, etc. (but it did come from coastal NJ so that was understandable). I have 170,000 on it now and it still starts up every morning, and runs great! Best car I've ever owned. I'll drive it till it dies.
In the 90's I drove a Dodge Caravan, which was about as safe as driving a tuna fish can. Got a new 1997 Windstar, then a new 2003 Windstar. I like driving newish cars, but I'm keeping this one until it falls apart, because even after 7 years, (77,000 miles) I still LOVE IT! Nice looking for a minivan, It still looks spiffy and not too outdated. Paint in good shape. Some minor problems others have observed, like flashing interior lights and dash lights, of which I've paid to have repaired MULTIPLE times. (Life is full of compromises.)
Bought van 03/09 $2100 135K miles. Transmission already been replaced with the used 90k miles. at 150K replaced alternator from 06 Mustang (better amps and fits fine) $60 used. Oil change every 4K (supertech 10w30) It is a daily driven 150-500 miles as a taxi. Have engine light on and brake+abs light comes on sometimes. The interior lights blinking usually when humid. I have replaced drivers window regulator ($35 used). Rear windows don't open all the times. Replaced air filter with a "cool blue air filter" for better gas mileage $28 eBay. Installed HID xhenon light kit for better vision an night time $35 ebay. Replaced spark plugs. Got a NGK platinums. Now got 184,581, I'll drive till 300K
This was our first time car buy for $9,500, within a year of buying the transmission went out and we discovered that the axle had cracked. we found that the ford
had called a recall. within another year of having the transmission fixed the second one went out. The right side window motors went out, we had to replace the speedometer electronics, The interior light like to flicker on and off as well.
I recommend avoiding this vehicle all togetherl.
I bought mine used it already had 99,000 miles on it. It drives like a new one. So far the only mechanical issues I have had with it are the ones you would expect at that mileage such as brakes and belts. I am a tall, overwieght, disabled man. It's like whoever designed this van had people like me in mind. I have plenty of room and it is not a chore to drive it. In fact it has improved my mobility so much that last summer I lost 80 pounds. Now this van itself did not do that but it is one of the factors involved in my weight loss. To lose that amount of weight you have to be up and moving and this van helped me do that.