Help me decide

Im looking to buy a 2002 ford windstar sel it has 81k miles on it. Im going through a dealership and they had found a leaking intake gasket. They are replacing it but I need to know if i show be worried about

any other problems that may acurr from this one. I have kids and need to know if im making a good choose on choosing this veichle.

The best advice I can give you is to stay away from any Ford Windstar. These vehicles have a litany of problems, incuding head gaskets and very fragile transmissions! A friend of mine just dumped theirs ( a 2000 model) in favor of a Honda Odessey.

Whatever we say on this panel, the salesman will deny and swear on a stack of bibles that this is a good vehicle.

There are many other good vehicles on the market; avoid this one!

I owned a 2000 Ford Windstar that I purchased new. I drove it 75,000 miles and sold it to my son. He now has about 110,000 miles and has had no problems. He had a 1999 Ford Windstar that had been used for package delivery between two cities. His had over 80,000 miles when he bought it and drove it to 150,000 miles. He had a $1200 transmission repair, but that was his only major problem. He sold his in 2006 for $2750. One positive feature about the Ford Windstar is that they have good crash ratings. The one I sold my son has the optional side airbags.

To head off problems, I changed the transmission fluid when I owned the 2000 Windstar every 30,000 miles. I replaced the Windstar with a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander.

I guess the best advice I can give is to have the Windstar you are considering checked out thoroughly by a good independent mechanic. In a 7 year old vehicle, the condition is much more important than the manufacturer in my opinion. To me, when you’ve seen and driven one minivan, you’ve seen and driven them all. Minivans are very useful vehicles, but not the most exciting vehicles on the road.

On Consumer Reports web site, the '02 is ‘average’, the '01 and '03 are ‘worse than average’, and the '99 and '00 are ‘much worse than average’. Not a good neighborhood, IMO.

I would advise against buying a used, high-mileage Windstar. Especially one that is on the lot and needs repair.

I would recommend looking at similar Honda Odysseys.

The April 2009 Consumer Reports auto issue doesn’t have repair records going back any further than 2003. If you can, find out what repairs have already been made to the Windstar you are considering. I’ve often thought that on an older used car with a poor repair record, if the repairs have been made, the vehicle may be a better buy than one with a good repair record with some expensive repairs ahead.

My Mother In Law who runs a daycare and picks up kids from preschool/kindergarten 3 miles round trip and does the majority of trips 2 miles within home has no problems on 2000 Windstar purchased for $4000 with 50k miles used. It has been flawless besides brakes and shocks and a few CEL’s.

I will say though driving it feels like it is 9 years old and more like 200k miles although the odometer shows 90k or so.

Was this a front line dealership? I am suprised they had such a old car on the lot and that they did not find the intake leak when they brought the car into their used car inventory. If I told any of the used car dept. managers I worked for that a car they were thinking of taking on needed such a repair most would have passed on it and the car would have been wholesaled.

What I am getting at is it is a bad sign that this problem was not discovered before the car got to you, makes you wonder what else they have missed or let slide.

Some have good luck like triedag but, IMO, Windstars are junk. I own an 03 and while the engine and trans problems have been corrected the electric problems are still there.Interior lights that come on for no reason, power locks that sometimes do not work and a speedometer needle that jumps.

How many children and what ages? You may need a van if you have 3 or more and they are too young to ride in the front seat.

My family has had the following Windstars : a 1995, a 1995.5, a 1998, a 2001, and a 2003. All except the 2003 had head gaskets blow before the 68k mark. The 199.5 had it twice. All except the 2001 and 2003 had the transmissions go out before the 60k mileage mark. All had minor electrical glitches. I would not recommend them to anyone. All of them had very poor brakes which tended to warp with alarming frequency.

In case anyone is wondering all but the 1995.5 model were company cars.