1998 Ford Contour SE 2.5L SOHC from North America


Worst car I've ever owned


Transmission has failed twice and is failing again. First failure occurred at about 25,000 miles under warranty, and it was "fixed" three times by the dealer before it was replaced.

Second failure occurred at about 50,000 miles. I called Ford Customer Relations Center (CRC) to complain, and they offered to sell me an extended powertrain warranty good for six years and 100,000 miles for $495 with a $100 deductible. I accepted the offer, but the dealer charged (in VA) $697.05. The car had a burning smell when I drove it, so I brought it back to the dealer and was charged $266.60 to fix that. Total cost should have been $495, so I called CRC again. They were not responsive. Tried to get my additional dollars back through my credit card, the better business bureau, the Fairfax County (VA) consumer protection agency, and the Washington Area NADA. Although each of these parties agreed that I had been overcharged, the dealer would not even talk to them. The NADA guys did get them to offer $266.60 (the cost of the second repair) if I signed something agreeing to never sue either the Dealer or Ford. I respectfully declined.

Transmission failed within a few hundred miles. I was in NJ, which was fortunate because I had the car towed to the dealer where I originally bought it. They replaced the transmission for free.

Transmission is failing again. Just found out that my warranty was only good for six years from the original date of purchase, so I'm out of luck.

CD4E Transmission is clearly not suitable for a 170 horsepower engine. I've heard that Mazda has a "hidden warranty" for the CD4E in their models that have it. Mazda may actually want to keep their customers.

Front brake rotors have been (expensively) replaced twice, and may be going again. Rotors don't even last as long as the pads!

The connections to the stereo speakers rattle loose and become disconnected. Right now one of the four speakers actually works, and it's not the radio - I can switch the outputs and still only the one speaker works. Sometimes, if I hit a bump just right, one of the other speakers will start working again for a while!

General Comments:

Other than the speakers, I haven't had the electrical problems that others have mentioned. I recently replaced the alternator and the battery, which was still original.

First set of tires lasted about 30,000 miles, which is about what I would have expected because they were performance tires. I'm still running the second set.

My family has bought over 10 new Fords in the last 20 years, but that is about to end. I had a heart to heart discussion with a (GM) assembly line worker that I'm friends with, and he's so disgusted with the reduction in quality he's seen as a result of cost cutting that he doesn't even get agitated when I tell him I'll be buying a Hyundai!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 31st October, 2004

27th Nov 2005, 20:13

I found this review while researching my own 1998 Ford Contour transmission failure. It had some sort of catastrophic internal failure two days ago at 102,000 miles. It had been shifting hard recently, but the local transmission specialist tested it and claimed it was fine. It's a darned good thing it didn't fail like this on the freeway or on a curvy road, as the front wheels locked.

I would have liked to find out exactly what your transmission problems were, so I can decide whether I should fix this car or junk it.

1998 Ford Contour SE 4 cylinder. 2.0L from North America


I would recommend this car to anyone.


Flex pipe blew off the exhaust a week after we bought it.

Check engine light has recently came on, haven't had it checked out yet. (104891km's)

Sputtering in the engine today when trying to pass another vehicle. (105000) Think its the plugs.

General Comments:

This car is comfortable for me to drive, for a 4 cylinder it has a ton of power, many people mistake it for a v6. I love the handling around tight corners on a mountain road where I live. The interior is quite comfy, but kind of gloomy, it should have an interior light in the back seat.

This is a very quick car, I believe the recalls were all replaced before we bought it. I'm a newly licensed driver, but have been driving and working on my own cars for 4 years, I find this to be an awesome car, in general. I'll never buy anything, but a Ford, I also have a 1996 F-150 4x4, it works great.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th September, 2004

15th Aug 2005, 23:42

It is me again.

The car has just recently passed 130,000 kilometers.

20,000 kilometers ago we replaced an oxygen sensor and a few small things, and last week we replaced the front wheel bearings, rear struts, brake cylinders and shoes, from a year's wear on our horrible roads.

The car still runs like a top, I have a speeding citation to prove it. I outran the police (not knowing it was them) from a stop sign and was gone. They clocked me at 180, I thought it was a friend. Lucky I still have my license..

Anyway, it is still an awesome car, over a year after we bought it.

You can't go wrong with a contour.