Where to start. Recalls. I had 18 of them! I don't think there was a single part on that car that had not been recalled.
My favorite of the recalls was the water pump. On the way to work one morning, it started to overheat. This happened to be the day I was planning on taking it into a local dealer to have the recall done. On the way to the dealer later that afternoon, it began to overheat even more. I was TRYING to get it into the dealer before it blew up and I didn't make it. The water pump exploded, blowing parts all over the very busy road I was on. This was the worst of the recalls.
The dealership in town should be put out of business. One morning, I had my car in for service. As I was sitting in the waiting room, I couldn't help, but over hear another conversation between the "Ford Mechanic" and another disgruntled Ford Contour owner. They had apparently told her that they had a O2 sensor for her car, when they really didn't. When she got mad, they said they would take the part out of another used car on the lot, untill they could get a new one. As I looked out the window, I noticed my car was the only other used Contour on the lot. The mechanic walked over to my car, and began to take the O2 sensor out of my car to put into her car (keep in mind, I'm still at the dealership). Needless to say, I made a few phone calls to my local news stations and had them do consumer reports on this dealership. Shortly after, sales dropped a lot at this dealership, and I will never even so much as drive by that dealer again.
The way the engine was designed was very poor. Honestly, who designs an engine to basically overheat before the fan comes on to cool it down? It could be -40ºF and sitting at a stop light or at the drive thru, it would overheat. Once the fan finally did come on, it would suck every bit of energy out of the car, and most times, make it stall.
Stalling, VERY ANNOYING!!! It's not too fun screaming down the highway at 90mph and having the car stall for no reason! Especially when your in the middle of a turn, the steering wheel locks up, and the turn is ending and you can't get the car going again.
Why, why, why, why, WHY did Ford make it soooooo hard to change the master cylinder and clutch? A job that would normally take 15-30 MINUTES on any other car, take 8 HOURS ON THIS CAR??? In order to do this, you must take the transmission apart.
Master cylinder replaced at 62,000.
Clutch also replaced at 62,000 (while I had the transmission already apart).
Brakes at 60,000. The left one wore down to the metal, and the right one still had plenty of life lfet in it.