Key Programming: Ford Windstar 1997-2003

Key Programming Ford Windstar 1997-2003

Ford Windstar 1997-2003 Key Programming Procedure


The following are the key programming procedures for the 1997, 1998 and 2003 Ford Windstar.

Ford Windstar 1997


1. Put the new key into the ignition. Turn it to the ON position. The dashboard security light will flash for 15 minutes. Once the dashboard security light stops flashing, you have five minutes to begin Step 2.

2. Turn the ignition OFF and then back to the ON position. The dashboard security light will flash for 15 additional minutes.

3. Repeat Step 2.

4. Once the dashboard security light has turned off for the third time, the key will be able to function in the car. It has been programmed into the car’s computer and has replaced ALL previous electronic key codes — the computer will not recognize any other key.


1. Put the current key into the ignition.

2. Turn the ignition ON and back to OFF.

3. Remove the current key and insert the new key, turning it ON. You MUST do this within 15 seconds.

4. The security light will switch on for two seconds, confirming that the key has been successfully programmed into the vehicle.


Ford Windstar 1998 +

ADD KEY (Requires two working keys):

1. Put a current key into the ignition.

2. Turn the ignition to ON, then back to the OFF position.

3. Remove the key and insert a second key. Turn it ON and back to the OFF position. You MUST do this within five seconds.

4. Before ten seconds have elapsed, put a new key in and turn the ignition ON. After one second, turn the key back to the OFF position.

5. The dashboard security light will glow for three seconds. This confirms the programming of the new key has been successful.


About Ford Windstar

The Ford Windstar was completely redesigned and released in the summer of 1998 as an early 1999 model. The makeover was notable for the inclusion of a driver’s side sliding door, as it was one of the first Ford cars in North America to use the New Edge aesthetic language.

Ford moved the Windstar to a separate chassis design, creating the Ford V platform, but keeping mechanical similarities with the Taurus/Sable. Front seat-mounted side airbags on vans with VINs beginning with 2FMDA, dual power-sliding doors, and rear reverse sensors were among the new features.

In the year 2000, the Limited model was reintroduced as the most opulent. On SE, SEL, and Limited versions, a VCR-based rear-seat entertainment system with a flip-down LCD screen was a new option.

For 2001, the front and back fascias received minor aesthetic modifications. The basic model was changed to LX, while a new SE Sport variant was added to the range. The smaller 3.0 L engine was no longer available, leaving the 3.8 L as the only option. Models with bucket seats in the second row now have their own center console. On Limiteds, front-seat side airbags became standard. The SE and SEL versions’ chrome grilles have been modified. The steering wheel was redesigned to be more contemporary, with a blue Ford logo in the middle. The transmission has been upgraded to the 4F50N standard.

Dual sliding doors were made standard on all versions in 2002. In the 2005 JD Powers dependability study, the 2002 Windstar was the most reliable minivan on the market after three years of service. The Toyota Sienna and the Honda Odyssey were beaten to the top spot by the Windstar.

2003 was the Windstar’s last year; no significant modifications were made in preparation for a 2004 redesign. The forthcoming third-generation Windstar has been renamed the Ford Freestar as part of a new marketing strategy. On July 25, 2003, the final Ford Windstar was manufactured.

Ford voluntarily recalled 575,000 Windstar minivans in August 2010 due to rear axle issues. The recall came after a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation that began in May 2010. The design of the rear axle beam, an inverted “U” channel shape, seemed to offer a collecting site for road sludge, according to the NHTSA preliminary assessment. Corrosion gradually deteriorated the axle until it broke in states that utilized a lot of road salt. Connecticut, Delaware, 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, as well as Washington, D.C., were among the states affected by the recall. In May 2012, 27,000 minivans from Virginia were added to the axle recall, increasing the total number of vehicles affected to nearly 600,000 in the United States and Canada.

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