Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), the No. 2 U.S. car maker, is recalling 27,000 model year 1998 to 2003 Windstar vans which suffer from a problem which can cause the rear axle of the vehicle to fracture, increasing the risk of crash, a notice from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Wednesday.
The axle recall affects Windstars manufactured from September 1, 1997 through July 3, 2002 that are either currently registered in Virginia or were originally sold there. The Windstar axle problem first came to light in 2010 and was identified in vehicles in one of the 21 so-called corrosion states as well as Kentucky. Since then the recall, number 10S13, has been expanded to include vehicles in Utah and now Virginia.
Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) shares appeared to be unaffected by the news and rose 11 cents to $10.72 in late trading.
Ford is recalling the vans because of a problem in which corrosion can weaken the rear axle, making it more susceptible to stress under driving conditions. Corrosion and stress can cause cracks which can cause the axle to break in two. A fractured axle damages vehicle handling and can increase the risk of crash.
Ford says it will notify owners. Dealers will inspect affected Windstars and install axle reinforcement brackets or replace damaged axles free of charge. Owners can identify whether their Windstar is affected by calling a toll-free line (1-866-436-7332) or by contacting a Ford or Lincoln dealership.
The corrosion states or salt belt states are those that use salt to de-ice their roads and include: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Washington D.C., North Dakota and South Dakota.