1996 Ford Contour LX 4 cylinder from North America


Good solid transportation.. if all works like it is supposed to


Engine Light is always on. No one can fix it.

Cup Holder is a marvel of engineering, but it breaks easily and doe not hold heavy cups.

Passenger window glass comes off track.

Crankshaft position sensor seems to be a problem.

General Comments:

I love the car. It is like a greenhouse... glass everywhere which provides very good vision all around. The seats are comfortable and the instrument layout is very good.

If I didn't have the problem with the crankshaft, I would keep this car until it died on my driveway... and then maybe I would think of rebuilding it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th November, 2003

16th Dec 2003, 19:32

All Crankshaft position Sensors fail. Cost like $25 for a new sensor, easy to put on to, uncrew two bolts and take off old one, put new one on.

11th Aug 2004, 05:22

I have a 1996 Contour and my passenger window recently came off track. Like the person who wrote the original article. Does anyone know a cheap place to get a new window regulator.

1996 Ford Contour GL 2.5 DOHO from North America


A car you will drive until it breaks even if it is only 6 months


-Burnt out clock light (very hard to fix, just live with it)

-Blown cruise/hazard light fuse (cheap to replace)

-Engine light that never ceases (taken to mechanic, but no solution)

-Stalls when idling constantly (getting worse and worse, cam seals I heard?)

-Broken accessory parts (cup holders, vent covers... hard to find)

-Glove box doesn't close properly (no solution found yet)

-Gas cover stuck (pull secondary opener in trunk side)

-Catalytic converter defective (I just drilled a hole through it)

-Exhaust Manifold was said to need replacement (way too expensive to repair for the V6 ($1500)!)

-Low gas light doesn't work (I have a long, funny story about that...)

-Fuel injection (That is why the engine light is on, but the mechanic doesn't see any problem)

General Comments:

When I first got the car I was pleased with the performance it gave. Then things started breaking. I then learned that the V6 engine (but not the 4 cylinder) was a Mitsubishi which barely lasts past 100,000mi (go figure).

Most contour reviews have very select problems in common. The problems in my car are as above (with the solutions in parenthesis). My thesis statement is as followed.

Cars are discontinued for a reason.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 10th November, 2003

14th Nov 2003, 18:43

When it stalls during idling you may need to have th fuel pump replaced. That happened to me at 76,000 miles. It would first just stall every now and then, then it got to do it every 10 minutes, so I hauled it over to a shop they replaced it, and put a fuel filter in, my fuel mileage went up a bit and then it doesn't stall anymore.

25th May 2004, 21:06

I fixed my clock light for less than a $3 bulb. The clock is easy to remove from the dash and you twist the bulb to remove it.

Water pumps are weak and know to fail after 60k miles.

The gas door also can be a pain.

The engine is Ford internationally made and used in European and Australian cars generally very reliable.

I am amazed with my 1997 Contour with 115k miles I have never had to do any work on the exhaust system. I've done the front brakes twice and the rear once. I have had problem with the engine check light starting at 75k miles which was fixed with the replacement of one down stream O2 sensor.

I am passing the car over to my son who is just getting his drivers license and are replacing all O2 sensors, all fluids, 2nd wheel alignment, etc. Also I did replace the battery.

Not bad for 7 years of ownership.

1996 Ford Contour GL from North America


Faithful commuter car with few problems


Front wheels have been making a thumping noise.

Engine runs extremely hot.

General Comments:

The car has been great. It is reliable and is pretty powerful for its size and style of car.

But, no one can figure out why the front wheels make a thumping noise at all speeds, nor has anyone fixed the engine running temperature. It just started to burn coolant at 108,000 miles, but has never fully overheated, although the temperature meter runs at the high end of the normal range or even slightly into the red. Forget about running the A/C when driving in town or while parking since it will push the temperature even higher.

Does anyone have an answer to these two issues?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th August, 2003

30th Aug 2003, 06:00

About that thumping noise, Is it all the time when your driving, only when you hit the brakes? If its only when you hit the brakes, its probably the brake clips (which are ment to prevent that thumping noise, but wasn't designed good) But if its not, then I can't help you on that issue. Now, on the other hand, Contours were ment to run hot. They all do. I just got rid of mine a couple of months ago. I had a 98. but it shouldn't be into the red zone. It usually gets pretty damn close, but never goes in it. If your is, you might want to add some coolant or have the radiator checked out, before it does over heat. The only plus about it running so hot, is in the winter it had very good heat. Good luck. Hope this helped some.

10th Sep 2003, 12:13

I currently own a 1996 4-cylinder. I can identify with the motor running hot. Also I cannot run the air conditioner while the car is in neutral. I am also having trouble with the dash buttons sticking and now my air conditioner won't blow on "high" setting. I'm thinking of selling my car and getting a mini-van. Any takers? Ha! Ha!

12th Sep 2003, 19:29


I have a 1996 Ford Contour GL with 53,511 miles on it. Since about 42,000 the temp gauge itself has been broken. The car isn't running hot at all, three different shops have said the whole instrument cluster needs to be replaced. The whole steering thing needs to come off and it will cost hundreds to do, so it isn't really worth doing. If your car does overheat you will know it, your Check Engine light will come on, and after a while paint will be chipping off the hood.

When I run my A/C it actually drops the gauge a bit, but it is broken anyways so I pay no attention to it.

I can almost guarantee you it is the gauge, there is even a Technical Service Bulletin out even for it because it happens so often.

12th Jan 2004, 09:08

With it only running on high or not running on high did you know that is under extened warranty.

The resistor is very common problem, that is what your problem is.

If you car has under 150,000 miles it is replaced for free at any Ford dealer, it takes about 30 minutes to have them do.