DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. is recalling about 575,000 MY 1998-2003 Windstar vans in 21 cold-weather U.S. states and Canada because of the possibility that the rear axle may fracture due to corrosion, Reuters reported.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a preliminary investigation of the problem on May 13. The agency said the design of the axle appears to allow it to collect road salt slush, which can lead to corrosion. 

The recall totals about 463,000 vans in the United States, with the remaining in Canada. 

Dealers will inspect the axle for damage. If the axle shows a crack, van owners will be offered a repair or alternative transportation until parts are available. If there is no cracking, owners will be informed when to return to have reinforcing brackets placed on the axle, Ford told NHTSA. 

The safety recall covers Windstar vans in Canada and Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, 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.