1998 Ford Contour GL from North America


A high priced lemon


My brakes made a bad squealing noise after I purchased the car. I was told to get the brakes fixed myself because it was not a covered item on the 4000 mile warranty. To top it all off, I got new brakes and they still squeal.

The "check engine" light came one 48 hours after I got the car. The dealer took it to the repair shop, they said it was nothing wrong with it.

You could not unlock the front door, but they only took off $100 from the sticker price. To avoid embarrassment, I paid $100 to get key less entry.

The power windows stopped working in the back seats one month later.

Half of the speakers went out 2 weeks later.

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

Review Date: 9th September, 2002

1998 Ford Contour GL 2.0L from North America


A white elephant with green paint and a blue oval...


Dec. 2001 - Recall for wiring;

Dec. 2001 - Replaced Serpentine Belt.

Dec. 2001 - Replaced front rotors & brakes; break warning light never came on; replaced all four tires;

Feb. 2002 - Recall - Gas tank flange: dealer broke a part and installed the tank incorrectly - my regular mechanic found it rubbing on the chassis when I took the car in for a "strange noise";

June 2002 - Check Engine Light: Replaced Tensioner, Serpentine belt (again!), Thermostat, spark plugs (dealer never changed original ones) ; my regular mechanic informed me that the struts were "gone" and needed to be replaced; engine temperature gage on dashboard cycles between the "rm" of Normal, to "al" - unless I turn on the defrost, set to floor/window - then the engine temperature stays on the "rm" of Normal;

July 2002 - Check Engine Light: timing belt and one pulley replaced; Rear brakes need to be replaced - no warning "Brake" light on dash display;

Sept 2002 - Check Engine Light: have not taken it to the mechanic yet - not certain if I want to complete more repairs or just get rid of it!

General Comments:

My 1993 Ford Escort LX wagon was great - hardly any repair issues - So I was comfortable purchasing another Ford product. The car does have one redeming quality - the transmission has been great, thus far. Now my mantra is...

I will not buy another Ford.

I will not buy another Ford.

I will not buy another Ford....

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 3rd September, 2002

27th Jan 2003, 10:59

I have to say I had the same problems with my 1998 Ford Contour GL. The Engine Light stayed on and for weeks they couldn't figure out what the problem was. I found myself stranded THREE times before they realized one of the bolts didn't have any threads in it and caused the belt to slip. Not even a month later I brought it in because the O/D light wouldn't stop flashing. Turns out the 2nd and 4th gears are shot. A 98? New transmission? Scary. Well, I stil have it and plan on keeping it as long as I can. I'm not giving up on it. Three years we've been together - the financing is for 5 years. I'm going to get AT LEAST that much out of it. Would I ever buy a contour again? I needn't worry - they took it off the market. Gee... I wonder why. I wouldn't recommend buying a used one anyone though. Thank you.

19th Jun 2003, 17:11

I have had a bad experience with my 2000 Contour SE as well. Everything that can break has in the 2.5 years I have owned it. Even with the extended warranty I have spent close to $8000-$9000 in repairs. I still owe $10,000 for the pay off and the car is only worth $2500.

1998 Ford Contour LX 2.0L Zetec from North America


A quick fun to drive car with good gas mileage


Absolutely nothing has gone wrong with this car, it is absolutely excellent to drive.

General Comments:

Well, at first when I was at the dealership, I was looking at a '98 Contour Sport. It had the mag wheels, a nicer colour, but higher mileage. The sales manager came over to me and said, " I have a nicer Contour over here with lower mileage and in better shape". I threw him back the keys for the sport edition and went over to check out the one he had mentioned. Sure enough, it was nicer looking, had half the mileage of the other one, and just had new tires and brakes put on. I took it for a test drive and the little four cylinder has lots of pep. I was going 145km/h down the highway no sweat. I bought the car and it's the same one I have today. It has air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, but missing the optional power windows, power seats, etc...

The gas mileage is great, although all the traveling I do it doesn't last long. It only takes about $20 to fill the tank.

It came with the new "Zetec" version of the 2.0L which just came out a couple years ago. I would not suggest buying a Contour with the 2.8L V-6 which is gutless, or any other of their crappy motors in the older series Contour. But the new V-6 in the newer models would have excellent power.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st July, 2002

9th Jun 2003, 20:55

I completely disagree with the comments on the V6 engine. I own a '95 Contour with the V6, and have driven all the different power-train combinations available in Contours:

1) It's a 2.5L V6, not a 2.8.

2) It makes far more horsepower than the 4 cylinder.

3) V6's operate much smoother than the 4 and last longer (visit www.contour.org)

4) A 4 cylinder auto makes only 1 more MPG than does a V6 manual, meaning the fuel cost vs power gained is very small.

5) 4 cylinder autos are prone to cause the steering column to shake when stopped and the transmission is in drive.

6) Neither the 4 or 6 cylinder engine designs have changed since they were introduced in the '95 model -- only difference is in '98 there is the addition of a third engine with 200HP available only in the SVT model.

I don't think that the 4 cylinder is a bad engine. I just don't recommend it with an auto transmission. But the V6 powered Contour remains a far superior car.

14th Jan 2004, 11:31

I have the V6 in a 98 SE. I completely disagree with the author. I think the 4 cylinder is garbage. If you read the comment pages you will find that most of the problem cars are the 4 cylinder variety. I don't know if the transmissions are any different in the 6 cylinder cars, but they seem to be put together a little better. My car has been excellent. It is used for 90% freeway driving, and I don't know if that made any difference or not. The only thing that bugs me is the check engine light. The car runs fine, passes our smog test with flying colours. I have learned to ignore the light, as most shops can't find the problem anyways.