Ford Windstar Gas Mileage Problems

by Derek Odom

If your Ford Windstar van is experiencing poor fuel mileage, there could be many reasons or combinations of reasons. Proper maintenance is the first preventive measure to ensure that the vehicle runs correctly and maintains factory fuel economy. If none of the things mentioned in this article are found to affect your Windstar, it is probably time to let a mechanic look at it.

Spark Plugs and Wires

One reason that your Ford Windstar mileage is suffering could be the spark plugs or the spark plug wires. If one or more of the plugs is fouled, it can definitely affect the economy because full detonation of the fuel may not be taking place. If the charge from the tip of the spark plug is weak or nonexistent, raw, unburnt fuel could be dumping through and out of the exhaust. Likewise, if one or more of the spark plug wires is damaged, the same or similar result can occur.

Tire Pressure

If the tires on your Ford Windstar are not aired up to factory recommendations, the result could be not only a sloppy ride, but poor fuel economy. Tires that are fully inflated and round roll without much hassle. However, under-inflated tires create a flat spot and lots of drag when rolling. Therefore, it takes more throttle (more fuel) to get the van going at the same speed as if the tires were properly inflated.


The posted speed limit (usually 55 or 60 MPH) is not only there for safety. The manufacturers of automobiles design them so that they get their best fuel economy at around 55 MPH. If your average speed is 70 MPH or higher, then your gas mileage can be greatly increased by simply slowing down. While it seems like an obvious and sometimes moot point, you might be surprised at the savings you see.

Fuel Injectors

Over time, the nozzles of fuel injectors get clogged up, which greatly restricts their flow. Over-the-counter remedies such as Lucas injector cleaner can really help in that area. Just run a small bottle through a full tank every few fill-ups. Keeping those injectors clean is vital for seeing good fuel economy in your Ford Windstar.

Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter, or CAT, that is plumbed into the exhaust system of your Ford Windstar is there to superheat exhaust gases that exit the engine unburnt, keeping the tailpipe emissions as clean as possible. Over time, the components inside the CAT clog up, which causes a huge amount of back-pressure on the exhaust system. When that happens, the engine has to fight a lot harder to maintain the same speeds as when a good CAT is installed. Many times a simple shake test in the driveway can tell you if your CAT is bad or not. If it rattles and sounds like rocks in a coffee can, it's time to change the unit out.

About the Author

Derek Odom has freelanced since 2008 and is also an author of the macabre. He has been published on, and various other websites. Odom has an Associate of Arts in administration of justice.

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