width=279Ford Motor Co is recalling nearly 463,000 Windstar vans from model years 1998 to 2003 in cold-weather U.S. states due to the possibility that the rear axle may fracture due to corrosion, federal regulators reported on Friday.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a preliminary investigation of the problem on May 13 after receiving 234 reports of rear axle fractures and two minor crashes.

NHTSA said the design of the axle appears to allow it to collect road salt slush, leading to rust.

The recall affects vans in Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin. (Reporting by Bernie Woodall; editing by John Wallace)