Car Maintenance 101: Crucial Fluid Changes for Your Ford Freestar
Yes, your Ford Freestar has been known to have great safety features. But how about its performance? Well, it's a bit problematic when it comes to vehicle handling and acceleration. But there's actually something you can do to help your Freestar perform better. Every driver knows how crucial car maintenance is. But are you familiar with your car fluids? Here are the different fluids your car needs in order to perform well.
- Keep your engine oil clean.
You can keep your engine oil clean by flushing out the old one first before putting in the new engine oil. Why? Because if you're just going to continue refilling and adding new oil to the old one, then you won't be able to get rid of the contaminants that have accumulated in the old oil. The contaminants are the reason why you need to have your engine oil changed in the first place; because as time goes by, the engine oil gets contaminated with debris such as minute metallic particles, which could hamper how your engine works. So make sure that aside from regularly refilling your engine oil, you should be flushing it all out at least once a year to get rid of the contaminants before pouring the fresh engine oil.
- Keep an eye on your engine coolant.
Make sure that your engine coolant is always within the prescribed level to avoid an overheating engine. And if you're going to refill your radiator, always use the appropriate antifreeze suitable for your vehicle. Ask your manufacturer or consult your user manual if you're not sure which one to use. And don't even think of adding tap water because that will alter the composition of your coolant and could compromise its effectiveness. The engine coolant has been specifically made in order to meet the needs of your engine system; disrupting its composition would just put your vehicle at risk.
- Keep tabs on your brake fluid.
If you want your Ford Freestar to continue being a safe vehicle for you and your family, then you'd better keep tabs on your brake fluid. Yes, the Freestar has been known to have passed safety tests with flying colors, but that doesn't mean you should already lie low on its safety upkeep checks. Make sure that your brake system isn't running on contaminated brake fluid. Because no matter how accident-prepared your vehicle is, if its brake fluid is compromised, then your brake system could malfunction at any minute and would put your well-being at risk.
- Don't forget to check your transmission fluid.
The transmission fluid is vital to your car's handling. Make sure that you don't forget to check your transmission fluid's quality at least once a month to ensure a smooth and flawless driving experience. Look for signs of degradation such as the change in color from red to brown and the smell of something that has been burnt. If those two signs are both present in your transmission fluid, then you should be replacing it already.
Tracing the Origins of the Ford Freestar
Ford came up with the Aerostar in the 1980s to compete in the minivan market. This model was a success as it outsold several vehicles such as the Volkswagen Vanagon and the GMC Safari. However, in terms of sales, Ford was still second best. So to up the ante, the company released the Ford Windstar in 1994. Over the years, this model received its fair share of highs and lows. In 2004, Windstar was given a total overhaul and was rebranded as the Ford Freestar as part of the manufacturer’s efforts to name all its vehicles with words starting with the letter F.
1994-1998: the Windstar as a competitive minivan
Released in 1994 as a 1995 model, the Windstar is known for its front-wheel drive layout, sleek exterior, and improved car handling. As such, Windstar was able to stand its ground against its GM- and Chrysler-built competitors. Standard features included a 3.8 L V6 engine, dual airbags, anti-lock brakes, and a seven-passenger seating capacity. It was also available in several trims: GL (base), LX (top-end), and Cargo Van.
Over the years, several changes were made. The list included a new 3 L-engine that was introduced in 1996, an optional CD player in 1997, and a brand-new grille, headlights, and a relocated Ford logo in 1998. Despite several performance issues, the 1996 model earned a good rating from the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).
1999-2003: Design overhaul
The second-generation model was completely redesigned, with the new dual sliding doors as the most obvious proof. This new generation also got rid of the old Ford Taurus-based platform. Aside from the sliding doors, features now included front-seat mounted side airbags and reverse sensors. Available trims were Cargo Van, GL, LX, SE, and SEL. SE and SL models were built with easy-to-adjust head restraints and captain’s chairs in the second row. As for the LX model, it came with non-adjustable head restraints and a second-row bench seat. Changes over the years included an upgraded entertainment system for the Limited model in 2000, a new front and rear fascia in 2001, and dual sliding doors as standard features on all models in 2002.
2004-2007: from Windstar to Freestar
In 2004, the Windstar was given another total overhaul. And as part of the company’s efforts to come up with vehicles with names that start with the letter F, Windstar was rebranded as Freestar. Backed by a $600 million budget that aimed to improve driveline durability, the four-speed transmission was carried over and was upgraded with bigger wheel bearings, improved heavy-duty axles, and standard four-wheel disc brakes. The 3.8 L V6 engine was also replaced with a 3.9 L V6. The Freestar now also featured a foldable third-row seat. All these changes earned the 2005 model a second place spot in a Vehicle Dependability Study by J.D. Power. Despite its discontinuation in 2007, the Ford Freestar is one of the company’s highly reliable, front-wheel drive minivans to date.