Boasting of over 2 million units produced and twelve years in production, the Ford Aerostar made a name for itself as one of the most loved vehicles in its class. However, this doesn't mean that Aerostar owners are safe from the common issues that affect this minivan. Here are some of the shared concerns of Aerostar owners.
One of the most widespread problems with the Ford Aerostar involves the vehicle's wheels. More than a few owners of Aerostars have noted that the aluminum rims on their minivans suddenly developed cracks or fractures. This problem seemed to happen to 1996 and 1997 Aerostars in particular, and it has often led to a wobbly ride and partial loss of control. Aside from being an expensive repair, this wheel problem has also raised a major safety concern among Aerostar owners.
In 1996, Ford recalled several early-model Aerostars due to issues with faulty wiring and ignition switches that are prone to internal short circuits. About 60,000 Aerostars were affected by the faulty wiring problem. On the other hand, a whopping 7.9 million 1988 to 1990 model Aerostars were affected by the recall for the bad ignition switches. Both of these electrical system issues posed a big safety risk due to the tendency of the defective switches and wrongly installed wires to cause overheating and fire hazards.
The Aerostar's power train has also been a source of headache for a couple of Aerostar owners. Several gaskets including the engine oil pan gasket, rear crankshaft gasket, and the valve cover gasket have caused engine oil leaks.
Problems with the automatic transmission also plagued a couple of late-model Aerostars. Some users have reported that their minivans sometimes jerk, make loud noises, or move forward even if they were supposed to be in reverse. After a string of complaints from several Aerostar owners, Ford released a couple of technical service bulletins addressing this issue.
A good 7,440 Aerostars were also affected by Ford's recall regarding the minivan's service brakes. Ford noted that some aftermarket replacement brake cylinders can result in brake fluid leaks and an increase in the vehicle's stopping distance.
When the Aerostar was launched in 1985, Ford ran a couple of ads comparing the Aerostar to NASA's first Space Shuttle orbiter, the Space Shuttle Enterprise. By comparing the Aerostar to the Space Shuttle Enterprise, Ford emphasized the unique design and unmatched aerodynamics of the van.
In 1990, the Ford Aerostar became the first Ford vehicle to win Motor Trend's Truck of the Year award. This acclaim for the Aerostar was followed by more Truck of the Year awards for several of Ford's truck-based vehicles including the Ford Chateau Club Wagon Van and the Ford F-150.
All Ford Aerostars were built at the St. Louis Assembly Plant in Hazelwood, Missouri. Although the St. Louis Assembly Plant was originally dedicated to the production of Mercury vehicles, the need to focus on the upcoming breed of Ford minivans resulted in the assembly plant being used solely for the production of Aerostars until it was joined by the Ford Explorer in 1994.
An Eddie Bauer trim option was introduced for the Aerostar wagons in 1988 as a luxury edition of the minivan. The introduction of the Eddie Bauer trim meant that the Aerostar became the first minivan to be offered with a luxury trim option. However, the Eddie Bauer trim option was only made available until 1996, a year before the Aerostar was finally phased out.
At the peak of Aerostar's popularity, musician Neil Young used the name of the minivan in his song entitled "Dreamin' Man."
After being produced for over 12 years, the last Aerostar finally rolled off the assembly line in August 22, 1997 to give way to the thriving Ford Explorer. By the time production halted for the Aerostar, it had become the oldest minivan in the market. Exactly 2,029,577 Ford Aerostars were produced since its introduction in 1985.
The final Aerostar was donated to the Hazelwood police department to serve as a tribute to the end of an era for the St. Louis Assembly Plant. This particular Aerostar was used by the police department to visit kids across several schools in the area as part of their Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program.