I haven't had some of the horror stories I've read on this board. However, I concur that this car is way to expensive to maintain, both in time and money. Never buy this for a college student!
Thus far I've had at least 4 recalls. the most recent from just a few months ago for the front spindles I believe. I've also made numerous trips to the dealer, usually to fix something missed the first time I took it in.
18700 miles I had a leaky transmission hose tightened.
20000 miles I replaced the original tires.
At around 28000 I had an accident in the car. The dealer made all repairs (supposedly...) but I had to take the car back at least twice more for things they hadn't found the first time around. Word of warning, this is a very expensive car to fix. Should have just sold it then and gotten a Honda or Toyota.
30000 miles water began leaking into the passenger well. I took it into the dealer and was told that I needed to have the windshield cowl (?) replaced. Work was completed and no problems detected since. I also had the trunk adjusted as it would not open from the inside release, but only after numerous pressing of the remote button.
38000 miles noticed vibration in the front end at speeds over 55mph. I've been to the dealer twice and two other mechanics within the last few months. I was told by Ford the first time that my "tires had lost their round". I replace the two front tires, but the problem has persisted.
A few weeks later I returned to the dealer and spent, I kid you not, 4 hours there! Only to be told that all four of my wheels are bent and that it would cost from $500 to $1000 to replace.
An independent mechanic told me to have my alignment checked as my front driver side wheel was leaning in quite a bit. Just had this problem serviced yesterday and the alignment people told me that other than the wheel leaning in a little my alignment was all within specs. However this did not fix the shaking problem.
I'm now having the wheels checked by another mechanic to be sure that they are really bent. It has also been suggested that the CV half shaft was shifted in the accident.
39000 miles had to have front brakes replaced. I've also recently noticed that sometimes my power locks squeak when I lock from the inside driver door.