The Ford Freestar, previously called the Ford Windstar is a minivan that was manufactured from 1995, through to 2007. The following dashboard warning lights explain what each symbol means, followed by an explanation of what action to take based on the manufacturer’s recommendations.
It’s normal for the Ford Freestar / Ford Windstar warning lights to illuminate when the vehicle is started. If a warning light remains lit or comes on when driving, it indicates a fault or maintenance issue. Warning lights will often come on at an early stage before a problem becomes more serious.
The Ford Freestar check engine warning light comes on when the ignition is first switched on as a bulb check. It also checks to see if the vehicle is ready for inspection / maintenance (I/M) testing. The check engine light should turn off once the engine is started. If after 15 seconds, the check engine light blinks 8 times, it means the vehicle is not ready for I/M testing.
If the check engine light remains solidly lit after engine crank or comes on while driving, it means a malfunction has been detected. The fault will be related to the emissions control system. To monitor this, the vehicle uses the OBD-II system and when a fault is detected, the check engine light comes on. Some of the more common reasons for the check engine light to come on include:
- Loose filler cap
- Poor fuel quality
- Driving through water
- Oxygen sensor
- Spark plugs
- Mass airflow sensor
- Catalytic converter
When the check engine light comes on, as fault code is generated and stored. Diagnostic tools are required to read the fault code to establish the cause of the problem. You can drive with the engine light on, but the problem may worsen in time. If the check engine light is flashing, it may indicate engine misfire, which can cause damage. If this occurs, reduce speed and engine load until the light stops flashing.
Loose Filler Cap
The loose filler cap warning light may illuminate when the fuel filler cap is loose or has not been properly installed. Continued driving with a loose filler cap may result in the check engine warning light coming on.
Traction Control or AdvanceTrac
The Ford Freestar / Windstar AdvanceTrac system helps to maintain vehicle stability by use of sensors and can reduce engine torque or apply individual braking if necessary. The system also helps to improve tire traction when accelerating. If the warning light is blinking, it means the system is operating and also that the vehicle is at the limits of stability.
If the AdvaneTrac warning light remains solidly lit, it means there’s a fault with the system. You can continue driving, but without the assistance of the stability system. The most common cause is due to a faulty wheel speed sensor.
After engine crank, the battery warning light should go off. If it remains on, it means there’s a problem with the charging system. It’s possible that the engine may shut off after a period, so to prolong driving, switch off any unnecessary vehicle utilities that consume power. Common causes of the battery warning light include:
- Ageing battery
- Generator / alternator failing
- Loose of broken belts under the hood
- loose battery connections / wiring issue
Engine Oil Pressure
This warning light illuminates when the engine oil pressure falls below the normal operating range. Low oil pressure means that engine lubrication may be inhibited and may cause serious engine damage.
Low oil pressure can be triggered by low oil levels. Using the dipstick, check oil levels and top up if required. For adding oil to the Ford Freestar, use SAE 5W-20 engine oil. Poor engine maintenance and blocked filters may also cause the low engine oil warning light to come on. If engine oil levels are normal or if the warning light remains on after adding oil, do not continue driving.
The Ford Freestar wrench warning light is the malfunction indicator. It’s a generic (non-specific) fault light and comes on when a problem has been detected with the vehicle’s powertrain. A car’s powertrain includes a wide array of components ranging from the engine, transmission, driveshaft, axles, and differential. If the wrench warning light comes on, diagnostics is required to read fault codes.
The Ford Freestar speed control function allows you to maintain a set speed without keeping your foot on the gas pedal. With AdvancTrac, speed control will automatically disengage when a change in road conditions is detected. This symbol illuminates when speed control is active. Use the controls on the steering wheel to operate the function.
This symbol illuminates in blue when the high beams have been switched on.
Engine Coolant Temperature
The engine coolant temperature gauge indicates the temperature of the engine coolant. At normal operating temperature, the needle will be in the normal range (around half way between ‘H’ (hot) and ‘C’ (cold). If the needle enters the red section, the engine is overheating. In this situation, pull over, stop the engine and allow the engine to cool. The engine coolant warning light will also illuminate in red.
Once the engine has cooled, check coolant levels and top up if required. Check for coolant leaks. Continued driving with an overheating engine will cause damage.
The brake warning light illuminates with the ignition turned on to confirm that the brake light function is working. The brake warning light also illuminates when the handbrake is on. Illumination of the brake light after the handbrake has been released indicated low brake fluid.
Brake fluid levels drop as brake pads wear lower. However, if the pedal feels spongy or frequent top ups of brake fluid are required, it may indicate a problem in the brake circuit.
The ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) is designed to stop the brakes from locking when the driver brakes harshly. If the ABS light comes on, it means the system has malfunctioned, but normal brakes will continue to operate. The most common fault with the ABS system is due to a faulty wheel speed sensor.
The seat belt warning light comes on when the ignition is switched on. The light will remain on until vehicle occupants have buckled up. If the seat belt warning flashes, it may indicate a fault.
The airbag / supplemental restraint system warning light should illuminate when the ignition is turned on, then go off shortly after. If the light does not come on, flashes or continuously remains lit, it indicates a fault. Common reasons for the airbag warning light include:
- Crash sensors
- Seat belt sensors
- Connections under front seats
- Airbag clock spring
- Low battery voltage
The Ford Freestar tire pressure warning light comes on when your tire pressures are low. Adjust tire pressures when cold and in accordance with the tire pressure label at the edge of the driver’s door.
If the tire pressure warning light flashes, it means there’s a fault with the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). Each tire is equipped with a pressure sensor and reasons for the flashing tire pressure light can include:
- Faulty sensor in one of the tires
- A tire is fitted without a sensor (spare tire)
- The battery in one of the sensors has lost power
- An electrical device is interfering with the TPMS radio frequency