1997 Ford Contour GL 2.0 Liter DOHC from North America


Lots of quirky problems, but overall reliable


The car has always shook at speeds above about 70mph. I've learned to live with it. No solution to this common Contour problem has ever been found.

Numerous recalls, replacements at various mileages.

Cup holder broke 30,000 miles.

The gear shift indicator broke at 49,000 miles. Repaired under warranty.

Cam angle sensor went out at 58,000 miles.

Timing chain began knocking on the cover when the engine was started cold at 58,000 miles; replaced by dealer for free due to recall. At 90,000 began knocking again.

Temperature gage sending unit reads high continually. Actual engine operating temperature was only 210 degrees. Had to replace several times. After market parts read really high, so I had to replace the sending unit with a genuine Ford part. Now the plug for the sending unit has broken, and Ford doesn't carry just the plug. I have been driving it without a temperature gage for the past 20,000 miles.

The check engine light came on at 59,000 miles. Ford dealer claimed it was O2 sensor and charged me $350 to replace. Later found out that the original part had only been cleaned.

Window on passenger side won't roll down without making a tearing noise, and sometimes gets stuck. I can't use it because I'm afraid it will stay stuck. This occurred at 100,000 miles.

Clock light has stopped working at various intervals, and just as mysteriously started working again.

Now at 111,000 miles, the transmission is acting up and I'm sending the car in for repairs.

General Comments:

I have found out never take the car to the dealer. I try to avoid having Ford fix my car now that it is no longer under warranty. After they lied to me about replacing my O2 sensor, I don't trust them.

Also, the red antifreeze they use is highly corrosive. I think it corrupted my sending unit plug.

Overall the car has been fairly reliable, but it can nickel and dime you to death with all the little weird problems it has. If I had a choice, I would dump it and get a new car. I can't afford a new car especially with gas prices the way they are, so I guess I'll have to live with all the quirks and keep fixing the major problems until the car just won't run anymore.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 18th August, 2004

13th Aug 2007, 21:44

I bought my '97 Ford Contour in early 1998. It was brand new and I drove it up and down the East Coast (USA) and into Canada. Never had a problem. After 10 years, I sent it to GoodYear for its first tune-up. O2 & mass flow sensors were replaced. I also asked to replace the pcv valve. Now it runs like new. It has 94K miles on it.

1997 Ford Contour LX 2.5 from North America


I'm lukewarm about this car, not in love


Ignition Coil replaced.

Leaking oil from under timing cover.

General Comments:

This car is "OK". It has enough power for anything you want to do. It's not very good in the corners though, primarily due to the weight of the motor in the front.

My check engine light comes on a lot with a "lean condition" - this usually happens in very slow traffic when I'm inching forward - I worriedly had it checked out the first two times - but the car doesn't show the symptoms of "lean condition" at the garage.

I learned how to reset the light for free - I got to highway on ramp, park safely off to the side, disconnect the battery for five minutes, reconnect the battery, and drive at a steady throttle on the highway for 10 miles so the computer can recalibrate itself with the correct fuel settings.

A Counter's computer should be re-calibrated like this EVERY TIME after losing battery power. I'm sure there's a LOT of Contour V-6 owners out there that don't know this detail.

Having owned my Contour for four years, I've come to the conclusion that the engineers of this car should only get a "C".

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 8th August, 2004