I bought this car used in October 2003. It came with a 90 day warranty.
I had no heat the first time I tried to use it (within the first 2 weeks of ownership), and returned to the Ford dealership. The service department told me I was low on antifreeze, added some, and I had heat again. I returned nearly every 2 weeks after that with the same problem: no heat and low on antifreeze, but had no sign of a leak.
After the first trip to the dealership, the service manager started saying he didn't know what the problem was, or that he didn't see any problem. I returned nearly every 2 weeks with the same problem until the warranty ran out. Nothing was ever done. I kept returning with the same problem after the warranty ran out, and they continued to give me the run around.
Finally, my oil light came on and wouldn't go off. We asked if it had anything to do with the missing antifreeze (I was using 9 gallons of anti freeze a month at this point, with no sign of a leak), and we were told no, that is was the oil sending unit and the oil sensors themselves. They were replaced ($100), I drove the car to work the next day, and the oil light came back on! I returned to the dealership, they looked at it, and said they had no idea what was wrong with it (I was seeing a theme at this point). It was never repaired.
We asked if the antifreeze could possibly be going into the engine, as we were using so much coolant, there was no sign of a leak, and now the oil light wouldn't go off. We were told no, but that they could tear down the engine and look around, at our expense as the warranty had now run out. We told them to forget it.
Meanwhile, the heater core plugged up and I lost all heat again. They agreed to fix it and have Ford pay half the bill.
After a few more months with the oil light coming on, and them either saying "I don't know what it is" or "I don't see the light coming on", they finally put dye in the radiator to try to track the coolant to a leak... 3 times. The dye never appeared anywhere but the radiator.
Finally, they took an oil sample from the engine, sent it to a lab and tested it to see if there was coolant in the engine... almost 6 months after we asked about coolant in the engine being the problem. They also offered to get a special machine from Ford to power flush the coolant system. Funny how Ford had a special machine for this problem that they couldn't figure out, huh?
They kept the car for 3 days, we picked it up and there was no more coolant loss, but the oil light still came on. We figured out that they had put some sort of sealer in after flushing the coolant system (without telling us or asking permission), as we had the coolant loss every day for a year and a half, and it stopped all of a sudden. We then tried changing the oil before the 3,000 mile due date to see if the oil light would go off without a coolant leak. With a plugged leak and fresh oil, the oil light hasn't come on since. That confirmed that the coolant had been going in the engine and diluting the oil. The dealership never said a word about it to us.
We finally had to call them 2 months later to demand the results of the oil analysis. They gave us a copy of the analysis that the lab had sent them within 2 weeks of originally taking the sample from our car. It said that there were "critical" levels of coolant in the engine, that there was engine damage as a result (based on the oil breakdown), exactly what parts of the engine were damaged, and they strongly recommended that the car NOT be driven and immediately serviced. The dealership sat on this information for 2 MONTHS, and let us drive the car.
We started looking into legal help, and now the service engine light is on. We took it back to the dealership again, they put it on a diagnostic machine, and said the code that caused the light was for a bad sensor. They said they would replace it, but not charge us labor for the 2 minutes it took to put it on. The repair was $157.
I drove the car exactly 60 miles, and the service engine light has gone on again! We called Ford itself, and were told they would talk to the dealership, and the dealership would call in 2-5 days. They never called. We called Ford back, and were told that they spoke with the dealership, and they said they tried to fix it by replacing the head gasket. We told them that never happened, and the head gasket was never suggested as being part of the problem. We were also told that since we bought it used, Ford was not liable, that the dealership was our problem, and they wouldn't get into it. So Ford Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles means nothing.
I just put "1999 Ford Taurus and head gasket" in an Internet search engine, and found out that leaking head gaskets causing coolant loss and finally a blown head gasket is a very common problem on the Taurus of any model year. Ford knows about it, and even sent their service departments a technical service bulletin telling them that. Unfortunately, very few model years were recalled, even though all the Taurus have the same engine and defect.