1996 Ford Thunderbird from North America


Buggiest car ever built!


Head gasket blew at 30,000 miles and caused Ford to have to replace the engine.

All electronic stuff like the power seats and the windows quit working at about 35,000 miles leading to Ford replacing it too.

Heater core had to be replaced at about 60,000 miles with a cost of about 350.00.

Heater core had to be replaced again at about 105,000 miles costing about 350.00 also.

Engine blew again at about 110,000 miles costing about 1,600.00.

Transmission had to be rebuilt at about 155,000 miles costing about 900.00.

Today I am trying to find someone to replace the heater core again, but no one will hardly do it because it is about an 8 hour job.

General Comments:

I have had more trouble out of this car than any car I have ever had. I have spent more money on it trying to keep it running than it is worth. I will never own another Ford!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 28th February, 2003

10th Jun 2005, 19:44

I don't get it. Your first two repairs were obviously under warranty, resulting in a brand new engine at 30k miles. And you have had some major repairs since, however, your car now has 170k miles on it, and yet you still keep it? I don't think its unreasonable to have these kind of repairs on a car with that kind of mileage.

4th Feb 2011, 20:45

I changed a T-Bird heater core once. Wow, what a nightmare, had to basically remove the whole dash.

You have a lot of problems, you must be hard on vehicles. Your tranny shouldn't have failed, did you change the transmission fluid at all the required intervals? If you change the fluid when needed, you will rarely have any problems with transmissions.

1996 Ford Thunderbird LX Sport 4.6 OHC V8 from North America


The Thunderbird is a bargain personal luxury car that can perform with cars costing many times more


Mass Air sensor failed at about 75,000 miles. I replaced with with a salvage item and it's lasted well.

The plastic intake manifold cracked at about 80,000 and had to be replaced. Total was over $500, parts and labor.

Heater core started leaking at 90,000. Cost estimate for repair was $700 - $800. The entire dash, console, steering column and etc. have to be removed - over 8 hours by the book.

General Comments:

This is my third Thunderbird. I started with an '86 Turbo Coupe, then moved on to a '93 LX V-6. I liked both of the predecessors so much, I bought the '96 LX Sport OHC V-8 in '96.

With the exception of the heater and intake manifold, the car has been essentially trouble-free, save brakes shocks, and alignment.

So, the penultimate Thunderbird wasn't a two-person convert? Nor was it a three-ton boat from the 70's. Ford had a very good design with the 90's T-Birds - good size (a little long on the front overhang), comfort, performance (with the V-8), and reasonable economy of operation. The car can take four people - two in real comfort and two in adequate comfort - for long excursions on the highway or back road at a modest cost.

The resale on the 'Bird really stinks - if you're an owner. It's great if you're looking for a used personal luxury car. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a low-mile used '93-'97 T-Bird with the V-8.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd October, 2002

12th May 2004, 16:57

You said that your intake manifold cracked, mine did too, how long ago was this. Ford didn't recall this problem, but if it happened to you they would replace it free of charge.

2nd Jul 2004, 10:12

Actually, there is a recall for the intake manifold on the 1996 4.6L V-8.

Check out this website: http://www.alldata.com

My intake manifold blew at approx 85k miles; Ford doesn't advertise all these recalls, so it took some convincing at my local dealership to cover the replacement. Also there was further damage resulting from the intake failure that they tried to charge me for. I refused to pay and eventually they agreed.

My mass air flow sensor also got dirty, but my father (a former Ford engineer) explained to my man how to clean it, (VERY CAREFULLY) and it's been hassle-free ever since!

I previously owned a 1990 V-6, and was so happy with that, I bought my 1996, which I love even more. Maybe because it's a V-8, maybe because of the factory ground effects, or maybe because the pearl white paint is fabulous!

I love the way the car looks, handles, and drives! As long as the regular maintenance is performed, I am sure I will continue to enjoy my baby!