1998 Ford Contour GL 2.0 from North America


This car is very reliable and good on gas but I find maintenance shops all try to gouge you


2005 when purchased: New serpentine belt, spark plugs, wires, filters, transmission flush, coolant flush, undercoat.

New rear strut in 2005.

New exhaust flex joint in 2006. Kept rest of stainless exhaust system; have only replaced mufflers.

New front/rear brakes disks/drums pads 2009.

New battery 2008.

New tie rod 2009.

General Comments:

Great car with very few issues.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th August, 2010

1998 Ford Contour V6 from North America


Worst mistake ever


Transmission, fuel pump, steering, sensors.

General Comments:

I hate this car, everything has gone wrong.

First car I have ever bought outright and paid cash for. BIG mistake, biggest HUNK OF CRAP I have ever seen. Has caused me more stress and anxiety than any car ever should.

Every time I get behind the wheel, I pray that I get to where I need to go safely and without a tow truck.

Days after I bought it, the transmission went out on the freeway!

Take these words wisely, just pay the extra 1,000 and get a Dodge or Toyota. Fords are nothing but problems.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th June, 2010

1998 Ford Contour SE 2.0 from North America


Apparently the only reason my car is still running is pure luck


I had a problem with the cooling system, because the previous owner did not put any coolant in it. It cost me around 800 dollars to have it fixed.

I had the brakes replaced at 125000

I had new tires put on at 135000.

General Comments:

All the issues with my car have been very minor.

It's a 4 cylinder manual tranny.

The passenger window has a broken clip and won't roll back up.

The rails for the seats don't let you adjust the seat.

The battery light stays on.

The trunk won't stay open (has caused many head injuries).

The steering wheel is peeling.

However despite all of this, this car has been ridiculously reliable for me.

I only have the oil changed every 5-7000 miles.

I have not done any other maintenance on this car, and it has been running like a champ for all three years and 50,000 miles.

I love my Contour, but now I am afraid because the check engine light just came on and it has started to leak oil.

However after reading all these reviews, I am genuinely shocked that it's still running.

Oh, and I have been in THREE accidents.

I guess I must be lucky.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th April, 2010

28th Feb 2013, 15:11

Yes, I have a Contour too, and just had the same problem as you. Turns out that your problem might be the alternator. I changed it, and the battery and the engine light stopped turning on. And I agree, what a great car; very reliable. Hope that info can help you.

1998 Ford Contour Gasoline from North America


An excellent car


I had a 1998 Ford Contour. It was a very, very, good car, excellent in fact.

It was running in perfect condition, and then my husband wrecked it and totaled it. I wish I could get it back and get it fixed.

The only problem I have with it is that the air bags did not work when he wrecked it, which caused me bodily harm.

I would highly recommend anyone buying a Ford Contour 1998. It was an excellent car.

General Comments:

It was an excellent car. It handled really well.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th March, 2010

1998 Ford Contour SVT 2.5 from North America


Fun to drive, service nightmare


This is post mortem, so it’s listed in no particular order.

I didn’t experience a single problem until after 100,000 miles; then the bottom fell out:

Driver side airbag sensor ~ $130 the first time, didn't bother after. Was too busy with other issues - keep reading.

Sunroof motor ~ $250.

Ball joints ~ $200.

Front wheel bearings ~?

Alternators (3) ~$550 ea., two were replaced under warranty, and I was only out the labor.

Radio antenna ~ $50.

Starter ~ $250.

ECU (2) ~ $300 ea?

Engine wiring harness $1200, more on that later.

Shift linkage ~$50.

Steering rack ~ $700.

A/C condenser leak ~?

Fragile upper (2) and lower grills (1) ~?

Hazing headlights ~ $150 ea. (car covered or garaged... WTH?)

Trunk struts ~ $80.

Shift tower (located inside the transmission $.50 bolt broke, but $$$ to remove and fix, was the last straw) – $ who knows, I sold the car with it stuck in 2nd gear.

Otherwise normal maintenance items.

I did a cost analysis when I decided to buy a brand new car and with fuel at $4/gal, it was actually cheaper to drive a brand new Honda Fit (payments and all) than to keep driving the SVT.

General Comments:

When it was time for me to go from a fire-breathing sports car to a good driving sport sedan, a friend recommended the SVT. I was in college and needed something inexpensive, but still good fun. I found a one-owner early 1998 model nearby with ~60,000 miles for a reasonable price, drove it, liked it, negotiated a price and bought it. The dealer agreed to fix a couple minor issues.

The next 40,000 miles went without any real issue. I replaced all 4 brakes and went with an enthusiast group recommended aftermarket set - which warped rotors like tin foil, but were otherwise an upgrade. I replaced the shocks and struts with a euro-spec kit that firmed up the body motions, and really improved the handling for a reasonable price.

I was driving 20,000 miles a year at the time, so I stuck with all-season tires for the extra life and quieter highway ride.

I averaged 24mpg for most of the time I owned it, with as much as 29 and no lower than 21. It really was a lot of fun to drive.

The power was reasonable, and the handling was probably second to none against other front drive sedans at the time.

After 100,000 miles, the car turned into a total service nightmare. It was something every two weeks. I used my insurance roadside service more times than I can remember.

Most of the issues above are self-explanatory. The most significant was the engine wiring harness. Anything electrical listed above probably went out as a result of the corroded main engine control wiring harness. It was always a southern car, so there were no harsh winters to blame. It was simply a poorly produced component.

The issue lies in that the final design for the part changed from year to year to year, and unfortunately for me, was discontinued for the particular production run for my car. Ford had extended the warranty for this part, but I was outside that period once the harness was found to be the problem. Ford was also unwilling to make an exception, even though my issues put me inside that time frame. I was completely out of luck for a barely 10 year old car. I thought I found a used part in good condition that I paid a small fortune for; unfortunately, it was for a different production run design. My mechanic was able to modify it to work for $1200. After a month and a half in the shop, with most of that time trying to source a part, I was back in business. Three days later a $2.50 bolt snapped inside the transmission, rendering it stuck in 2nd gear.

I worked 2 jobs, and was trying to finish my undergrad at the time, so that meant another $500+ trip to the mechanic. I worked up the numbers, sold it to an enthusiast and bought a new Honda.

It really was a great car to drive when it worked right, and it had a lot of good stuff like leather, sunroof, etc for a very reasonable price.

Even aside from the electrical issues, I wouldn’t recommend this car to anyone but a DIY’ing enthusiast. I could write a book on the headaches this car caused me. Even then, a similar year BMW would probably be a better driving car for a similar cost of ownership.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 19th February, 2010

17th Jul 2010, 04:11

Hi, I've found it difficult to locate some parts for the Contour. For example, the manual shift linkage, where did you get it so cheap? The mechanic in a transmission repair shop told me I would have to pay $200 for that piece, and I could not find a new part on any website so far by myself.

19th May 2011, 13:29

The specific part I mention connected the shift linkage with the gear selector on the gear box. It was a little plastic square piece. Purchased from the dealer. Of course, the design was changed so it had to be modified to work.

Since this was written, I bought a BMW 540 which has been 1000x more reliable and still cheaper to service.