The Contour was produced by Ford from 1995 until 2000. This mid-range sedan was designed to be easy to export, with only minor changes from region to region. However, each year brought its own issues with the vehicle, and some problems have occurred more frequently in certain years, which can range from engine to electrical to the ergonomic. MSN Auto gives approximate repair costs for the Contour, but these do not include diagnostics or state taxes.
Electrical and Heating
The 1995 Contour can develop a problem with the electrical due to the wiring harness. This causes damage to the heating and cooling system, and MSN Auto reports it can cost between $500 to $3000 (U.S. dollars) for the parts and roughly $650 for labor (as of October 2010). It has been reported on all years except 1999 and 2000. The 1997 and 1998 models also encounter an issue with the temperature gauge sending unit. Repairs to the temperature gauge average less than $100. Air conditioning issues like this account for 2.1 percent of the issues, according to Motor Trend, with 65.3 percent of 1995 Contour owners reporting no issues at all.
Exhaust Recirculation and Timing Actuators
The 1995 model also introduced owners to the exhaust gas recirculation valve and passages. Owners of the 1996 model encountered this as well, but it was addressed by the next year. Instead, 1997 was the debut of the Contour's timing actuator problems, which persisted until the final model in 2000. While the gas recirculation repair averaged just over $200, the timing actuator could cost more than a $1000, as of October 2010.
Pumps and Plates
The later Contours have recurring issues with pumps. The water pump became a concern in 1997, with the gas pump joining it in 1998 as some of the more commonly reported problems. Both pumps cost roughly $200 to repair. The fuel pump can keep the car from running if it needs attention. The flexplate also became an issue in 1998 on 2.0-liter transmission vehicles. This problem can keep the car from starting and can cost $750 to replace, as of October 2010.
Besides problems with the pumps, flexplate and timing actuator, the 1998 Contour ran into its own issues, such as wiring problems. Owners also encounter a failure in the anti-lock brake system hydraulic control unit. This control unit repair can cost about $3000 to replace, according to MSN Auto.
While a small back seat does not effect MSN's Reliability rating, both MotorTrend and Edmunds.com makes a point of mentioning it in their review of the Contour. The back seat has little leg room, which Ford attempted to address each year, but did not seem to correct. While the average person may not notice, taller backseat passengers are sure to feel cramped.
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