Ford recalls 462,750 minivans

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Ford Motor Co. is recalling 462, 750 1998-2003 Ford Windstar minivans over concerns that rear axles could corrode and fail, Detroit News reported Friday.

The recall covers vans sold or registered in 21 "Salt Belt" states (including Michigan) and Washington, D.C., over concerns that after years of running, "corrosion can weaken the rear axle" and possibly crack it, leading to crashes.

Ford spokesman Said Deep said the Dearborn-based automaker also will recall about 113,000 Windstars in Canada.

Under the recall, Ford dealers will inspect and install rear axle reinforcement brackets starting Sept. 27 "as parts become available."

In May, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into the Windstar after receiving 234 complaints alleging rear axle failure in 1999-2003 Windstars, including two alleging that the failures resulted in minor crashes.

More than half of the complaints claimed a complete fracture of the axle. About a quarter said that the axle failed at speeds of 40 miles per hour or greater.

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