12 Common Ford Windstar Problems With Working Solutions

Last Updated on September 13, 2023 by Robert Wilson

When it comes to vehicles, even reliable ones like the Ford Windstar can experience problems over time.

From power windows to oil leaks and various other issues, understanding how to troubleshoot these problems can save you time, money, and frustration.

In this article, we’ll delve into some of the most common problems including transmission issues faced by Ford Windstar owners and explore practical solutions to address them.

Most Frequent Ford Windstar Issues and Fixes

Power Windows: Is There a Way to Test the Relay?

One of the common issues with Ford Windstar is power windows that malfunction. If your power windows are not working, it might be due to a faulty window relay. To test the relay, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the relay: The power window relay is usually found in the fuse box under the dashboard or in the engine compartment.
  2. Check the connections: Ensure the connections to the relay are secure and free from corrosion.
  3. Use a multimeter: Set your multimeter to measure resistance and test the relay for continuity.
  4. Swap relays: If the multimeter readings are not consistent, try swapping the suspect relay with a similar one to see if the problem persists.

Cranks, No Start: Diagnosing the Issue

Experiencing a crank but no start situation can be frustrating. It can be caused by various factors, including:

  1. Fuel System Issues: Check the fuel pump, fuel filter, and injectors for problems.
  2. Ignition Problems: Inspect the ignition coil, spark plugs, and wires for wear or damage.
  3. Battery and Starter: Ensure the battery is charged and the starter is functioning correctly.
  4. Engine Control Unit (ECU): Check for any error codes or malfunctions in the ECU.

Major Oil Leak: Causes and Remedies

A major oil leak can lead to engine damage if left unaddressed. Potential causes of an oil leak include:

  1. Worn Gaskets and Seals: Gaskets and seals can degrade over time, causing leaks.
  2. Loose or Damaged Oil Pan: Check for loose bolts or damage to the oil pan.
  3. Faulty Oil Filter: Ensure the oil filter is installed correctly and not damaged.

To fix the oil leak, identify the source and replace any faulty components. Regularly inspecting the engine for leaks can help prevent major issues.

Seat Backs Stuck: Fixing the Problem

If the seat backs in your Ford Windstar are stuck and won’t adjust, try the following steps:

  1. Check for Obstructions: Look for objects obstructing the seat movement.
  2. Inspect the Seat Motor: The seat motor may be faulty and needs replacement.
  3. Examine the Wiring: Check the seat’s wiring for damage or loose connections.

If the problem persists, consult a professional mechanic for further diagnosis and repair.

Rough Idle When in Gear: Causes and Solutions

A rough idle when the vehicle is in gear could indicate various issues:

  1. Vacuum Leaks: Inspect vacuum hoses and connections for leaks.
  2. Dirty Fuel Injectors: Cleaning or replacing fuel injectors might solve the problem.
  3. Faulty Spark Plugs or Wires: Check and replace if necessary.
  4. Transmission Problems: Issues with the transmission can affect idle stability.

Regular maintenance and proper care of the vehicle can help prevent rough idling.

ABS Brake System: Understanding and Troubleshooting

The ABS brake system is vital for safety. If your ABS system is malfunctioning, consider the following:

  1. Check ABS Sensors: Dirty or damaged sensors can affect the system’s performance.
  2. Inspect Brake Fluid: Ensure the brake fluid is at the correct level and free from contaminants.
  3. Brake Pads and Rotors: Worn-out brake pads and rotors can impact ABS functionality.

If you’re unable to diagnose or fix the issue yourself, consult a professional mechanic.

Feeling as if It’s Going to Stall Out in a Stopped Position

Experiencing a sensation of stalling while at a stop can be concerning. Possible reasons include:

  1. Idle Air Control Valve (IACV) Issues: The IACV controls the engine’s idle speed.
  2. Vacuum Leaks: Inspect the vacuum lines and hoses for leaks.
  3. Dirty Throttle Body: Cleaning the throttle body might improve idle performance.

Regularly servicing the engine and addressing issues promptly can prevent further complications.

Van Won’t Start: Possible Reasons and Fixes

If your Ford Windstar won’t start at all, consider the following:

  1. Dead Battery: Check the battery voltage and charge if necessary.
  2. Faulty Starter Motor: The starter might be malfunctioning and needs replacement.
  3. Ignition Switch Problems: The ignition switch might not be sending the correct signals.

If you’re unable to identify the problem, seek professional assistance.

Drivers Headlight Stays On After Rewiring Passenger Mirror

If the driver’s headlight stays on even after rewiring the passenger mirror, it might be due to:

  1. Wiring Mistakes: Double-check the wiring to ensure proper connections.
  2. Short Circuit: Look for any short circuits in the electrical system.

Carefully inspect the wiring and connections to resolve the issue.

Intake Manifold Leak: Resolving the Issue

An intake manifold leak can lead to poor engine performance. Common causes include:

  1. Worn Gaskets: Gaskets can deteriorate over time, leading to leaks.
  2. Loose Bolts: Check for loose or damaged bolts on the intake manifold.
  3. Cracked Intake Manifold: Inspect for cracks or damages.

Replacing faulty gaskets or repairing cracks can solve the issue.

Flashing Engine Light: What It Means and What to Do

A flashing engine light indicates a severe issue that requires immediate attention. Possible reasons are:

  1. Catalytic Converter Problems: A failing catalytic converter can trigger the light.
  2. Misfiring Engine: Misfires can cause the engine light to flash.
  3. Faulty Sensors: Malfunctioning sensors can also trigger the warning light.

Red Light on Dash: Understanding the Warning Lights

When the red light on the dashboard illuminates, it indicates a critical problem that needs immediate attention. Common reasons for the red light include:

  1. Low Oil Pressure: Insufficient oil pressure can lead to engine damage.
  2. Overheating Engine: An overheated engine can cause severe damage if not addressed promptly.
  3. Brake System Issues: Problems with the brake system may compromise safety.
  4. Charging System Failure: A malfunctioning charging system can lead to a dead battery.

If you see the red light on your dashboard, pull over to a safe location, turn off the engine, and check the issue. Do not continue driving until the problem is resolved.

1/2 Lit Lights on Dashboard: Diagnosing Electrical Problems

If half of the lights on your dashboard are dimly lit, it could indicate electrical issues. Common causes include:

  1. Faulty Ground Connection: Check the ground connections and clean or tighten them if necessary.
  2. Loose or Damaged Wiring: Inspect the wiring harness for loose or damaged wires.
  3. Failing Instrument Cluster: The instrument cluster might be malfunctioning and require repair or replacement.

Addressing electrical issues promptly can prevent further complications.


  1. Q: Are Ford Windstar problems common?
    • A: While the Ford Windstar is generally reliable, some problems can occur, especially in older models.
  2. Q: Can I troubleshoot power window issues myself?
    • A: Yes, you can perform some basic tests like checking the window relay and connections. If the issue persists, consult a professional.
  3. Q: How can I prevent oil leaks in my Ford Windstar?
    • A: Regularly inspect the engine for leaks and replace worn-out gaskets and seals.
  4. Q: Is a rough idle always a serious problem?
    • A: Not necessarily. Sometimes, it can be due to minor issues that are easily fixable.
  5. Q: When should I seek professional help for van won’t start issues?
    • A: If you’re unable to identify the problem or resolve it yourself, it’s best to consult a mechanic.


The Ford Windstar is a dependable vehicle, but like any automobile, it can encounter problems.

Remember to perform regular maintenance, promptly address warning signs, and seek professional assistance when needed.

By taking proper care of your Ford Windstar and addressing any problems promptly, you can ensure a smooth and safe driving experience.


  • Robert Wilson

    Introducing Robert Wilson, your go-to source for automotive technical solutions. With 5 years of industry experience and a mechanical engineering background, Robert's expertise was honed at the heart of Ford Motors in Michigan back in 2010. Join him on this blog as he shares his knowledge and practical fixes to keep your vehicles running at their best.

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