13th Nov 2007, 11:22

My Contour is a piece of junk, but I love it. On the outside it looks OK, but the headlights are this yellow color and are as bright as the sun at night. The main brake lights decided to stop working after a rainy day and the only way I could fix it was to run a wire from the European light. Water pump cost me 800 to fix. The check engine light will not turn off. The back doors screech like a barn door. On snowy days the fuel door won't open. The engine overheats constantly if driven in traffic. Anyways.. what I like about the car is it can easily obtain 90 on the highway to Denver. Its bubbly shape seems to cut through the wind fairly efficiently. I also picked it up for about a thousand dollars so even if it poops out no big deal. With the money I'm saving I am getting a Toyota corolla.

13th Nov 2007, 17:51

I don't know, it sounds like your Contour is doing awfully well with virtually no maintenance. Isn't that some kind of testimonial? Does it make you want to consider another Ford as opposed to a Toyota? Just curious.

You could fix the Contour up pretty easily. You could solve the overheating by flushing out the coolant and refilling it, and making sure that the fan comes on. You can easily fix the screeching doors and fuel door by spraying them with WD-40. If those are the major complaints, this sounds like a pretty good car.

14th Nov 2007, 16:54

Also, the yellow headlight lenses can be cleared with finest wet sanding paper and "plast-X" from the parts store or "rubbing compound".

27th Dec 2007, 02:04

26 December 2007.

I bought a 1998 Ford Contour GL in Sept. 2007 from a private party. Paid $1000 for it, and love this car. It was originally a rental car. A private party bought the car, and drove it until they were moving. When I bought the car they told me the check engine light was on and the oxygen sensors needed replaced. Replaced the forward and downstream and it runs great. The trans was bucking and jerking. Did some research and found out the Transmission range sensor was going out. Sure enough check engine light came on code read said transmission range sensor was the problem. More research and bought a chiltons repair manual, well worth the $20 bucks. Now check engine light back on more research all symptoms pointed to engine coolant temperature sensor. Had codes run sure enough that is the problem. These cars are like anything else. Sensors should be changed out at 50,000 miles. And believe it or not the sensors are cheaper through the ford parts dealership. Will need to do back brakes here pretty soon. But you buy a used car and there are going to be things that go wrong with them. I have put under $200 into this car so far and am sure I will put more into it, but other than the above mentioned, very little else has gone wrong. Best advice is to get to know about your car read up on it, then you won't get so frustrated with it. I am a woman and almost 60 years old and have learned a great deal about this car, and will continue to learn about it. Ford is not the only manufacturer that has had cars that are tempermental.

18th Jan 2008, 02:28

I bought a 96 Contour WITH the check engine light on. I proceeded to take the car for a test drive - it stalled. I told the owner of the dealership and they fixed it. The light NEVER came on again. A year and a half later, I had problems with the the back brake lights. The only brake light I had was the light in the rear window. The wires had to be re-wired. The heater began making a loud rattling sound in which I had to turn up the radio to drown it out - quite embarrassing! My car too had the loud, squeaky rear doors. I had to constantly spray WD-40 on the hinges. Those were my only problems. NO under the hood problems whatsoever. I loved my Contour, but finally got tired of manually shifting and having to turn the radio up so loud to drown out the heater fan. Traded it in for a 05 Chrysler Sebring - have had it for over 2 yrs now... loving it!! :)

29th Mar 2008, 15:00

We had a long time issue with the engine light being on and have spent several hundred dollars over the years to fix it, but it was an issue that was never fully resolved. The worse problem that we had with the Contour was with the engine running HOT. I can't count the number of thermostats we had installed or the number of radiator flushes. Finally, one mechanic (who we do trust) said that Contours run hot-end of story. Another problem that had no solution. Also had a lot of nagging little problems-automatic windows that no long open and close... and YES, LOUD doors! Wonder how many cans of WD-40 I've used over the years! The Contour just broke down for the last time yesterday. 'Bye Contour.

11th Jun 2009, 02:02

I myself have a 1996 Ford Contour GL 5-speed...

I purchased it in May of 2008 for 600.00 and it is the best car I have ever had. Except for the few minor things like squeaky doors and the inside fogging up, and the front driver's side speaker quit working LOL, but overall I have since I bought it put 1 set of tires on it... new thermostat, serpentine belt, timing belt, catalytic converter, which I replaced with a good ole piece of straight pipe exhaust LOL.

I have done all the work myself, and I have not had any problems with mine. It only has about 129.000 on it, and I have over ridden the governor, so now instead of the car shutting off at 110 mph, it will bury the needle and then some.. and it has no aftermarket parts, but I am very satisfied with mine. It has never left me stranded.

My next car will be a Contour, but definitley not a GL. It will be the SVT with the 3 litre swap with a 10 psi turbo...

21st May 2010, 10:09

I bought a 1996 Ford Contour GL (only 103,000 miles) a few days back from a friend. They said that the timing belt went out and that they couldn't get it timed correctly. My husband, bought the car knowing he could time it. We paid only $300 for the car (they bought the belt), my husband also had to replace the idler tension pulley ($105), head gasket ($50), spark plugs ($15) and it sounds and runs great! One big, reoccurring issue, it won't stop over heating!

Flushed it, replaced the thermostat, fan kicks on, still won't stop over heating. My husband is in town right this minute buying a water pump! Like others have said, this is a cute car! Inside and out it looks great, has great speed pick-up, great A/C and heat, nice stereo. It just really scares me to see all the negative comments.

Makes me wonder what's in store for me!

13th Oct 2010, 13:31

I own a 96 Contour and it's great. It starts every time.

The only problem I've had so far is the blower motor needed to be replaced and I believe the throttle sensor needed to be cleaned. It runs like a beast though every time. It has never locked up on me, everything works great.

Maybe the guy who had it before me just took great care of it. But whatever it is, I'm thankful that it runs like a champ. :)

13th Jun 2011, 21:54

It's been a year since your post, I was wondering if you could update it.

21st Jul 2011, 09:50

I have a 1996 Contour, and other than the stalling when backing up, and turning or slowing down, which I understand is a major problem with this year, I have had no major problems other than regular maintenance.

Recently however, my brake light panel light comes on when I press the brakes. Goes off when driving... is this possibly just low brake fluid, or could it be more?

25th Jul 2011, 11:03

It is easy to check the brake fluid level when you pop open the hood. If the fluid level is low, the cause is most likely normal brake wear, and you will need a brake job soon. Meanwhile, let your oil change place add an ounce or two of fluid to see if the light goes out. When you get the brake job done, insist on having the brake fluid completely replaced.