Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
17,989 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

1998 Ford Contour transmission problems

transmission problem

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1998 Ford Contour Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #74

Jul 112011

Contour 4-cyl

  • 115,000 miles


Was on I65 was driving fine hird a loud explosion engine started to rev up a piece of the transmission casing went into my tire causing a blow out, car became out of control and hit gaurdrail.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #73

May 312011

Contour 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,000 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Ford Contour. The contact was driving 30 mph when the vehicle suddenly shifted into first gear. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign id number: 98V233000 (power train:automatic transmission:lever and linkage:floor shift) but the manufacturer stated that the vehicle was not included in the recall. The contact was concerned that the sudden downshift could cause a crash. The failure mileage was 22,000. Updated 06/10/11 updated 2/08/2012

- Hutchinson, KS, USA

problem #72

Jan 222009


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Ford Contour. The contact stated that bolts were missing from the engine and transmission. He did not know the bolts were missing at the time the vehicle was purchased. The dealer stated that they did not have the necessary parts available, but would have them ordered. The dealer did not know when the parts would arrive because the manufacturer did not have them in stock. The failure mileage was 150,000.

- Rochester, PA, USA

problem #71

Jan 032008


  • 86,000 miles


Ford Contour transmission bucks and surges upon initial acceleration. Does not seem to stay in gear based upon the bucking motion. Ford technician inspected it and stated that the engine and transmission have weak mounts that affect proper operation. He suggested replacement of the mounts, although upon visual inspection, the mounts looked normal.

- West Peoria, IL, USA

problem #70

Sep 052008


  • 161,292 miles
My husband and I purchased a used 1998 Ford Contour, upon inspection, we found that the transmission was shot. So we decided to do a little research on this vehicle and found that there a recall on this particular vehicle for transmissions problem. Saying that the shift may not put into the correct gear which can or will cause transmission problems. In which are having.

- Covington, GA, USA

problem #69

Apr 102006

Contour 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
My daughter drove my 1998 6 cyl Contour automatic on route 95 from stoneham to wakefield, MA (one highway exit). The car was behaving normally and had behaved normally until that point. A servo cover fell off of the transmission. That allowed all of the transmission fluid to pour out of the transmission in seconds. The servo cover, a three inch diameter piece of heavy metal shaped like a frisbee, nearly hit a motor cyclist. The car coasted to a stop near 128 Ford of wakefield, MA. Their service writer, ludlow, told me that this is a relatively common occurrence with the Ford Contour. That opinion was reinforced by two employees of fna transmission repair of wakefield. I called Ford. I was told that they have no knowledge of this ever happening to a Contour. I asked the customer service rep to file a report, and I told him that I would as well. I am concerned that this defect exists and is a serious hazard to motorcyclists (I am one.) I am worried that the rapid loss of transmission fluid usually leads to serious transmission damage.

- Lynnfield, MA, USA

problem #68

Feb 152006

Contour 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,218 miles


: the contact stated the transmission slipped out of gear between 10-50 mph. The engine revved when this occurred. The gear shifter is moved to a lower gear then back to drive, but the transmission does not go back into gear. The vehicle has not been seen by a mechanic.

- Coushatta, LA, USA

problem #67

Nov 252005

Contour 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles
Transmission began to downshift (3->2) hard recently, and I brought it to an automatic transmission specialist who performed several tests and gave it a clean bill of health. ~5,000 mi later while gently slowing to turn left from a major street, it felt as though I had run over some walnut shells. As I began to ease open the throttle to complete the turn, the engine bogged and the car lurched, making some crunching sounds. I coasted to a stop on the side of the road, but the car would not move under its own power or by pushing by hand. Local transmission shops have said the cd4E transmission is notorious for early failure, and that I was lucky to get 102,000 miles from it because many fail by 40,000 miles. They have quoted me repair prices ranging from $1500 to $3500. I am very grateful this failure did not happen while either on the freeway or on a curvy road, as an axle lockup like this would be very dangerous.

- San Carlos, CA, USA

problem #66

Oct 132004

Contour 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93 miles
Automatic transmission hard shift from 1-2.

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

problem #65

Dec 012004

Contour 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
My 1998 Ford Contour SE has problems with the trunk leaking. Ever since I bought the car the trunk leaks slowly. I find huge wet spots in the carpet in my trunk. Also the vehicle has a problem with the transmission. When you drive the vehicle the transmission gets caught and hesitates to shift.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #64

Oct 052004

Contour 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,400 miles


I purchased the car on October 1, 2004. I was driving the car for about 10 minutes on the freeway I slowed down due to traffic. When I started to take off I felt a jerk when the transmission shifted. My check engine light came on. When I turn off my car and restart it, it does not jerk when it shifts, unless I continue to drive about 10 miles, then it does it again.

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

problem #63

Feb 152004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Transmission slips and jerks when shifting.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #62

Feb 262004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Transmission is leaking fluid.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #61

Mar 182004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I was leaving work and discovered that my car now only goes in reverse-I have not had any problems with the transmission up to this point when from out of no where it just stopped working. The automotive shop tells me I have to go to a dealer to get a new transmission put in all costing more than the car is probably worth. Ford needs to recall this part-they're obviously having problems with it that are not "rare" or "unusual" for this transmission.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #60

May 082003

Contour 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,056 miles
Transmission starting slipping on major interstate during rush hour traffic...I have read so many complaints on this and many other sites about these cars and I feel that a recall on these transmissions should go into effect before there is a fatality...

- Picayune, MS, USA

problem #59

Sep 012003

Contour 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles
Constant problems with the vehicle. Alternator, fuel tank, gear shift indicator, computer sensor's (variable cam timing over retarded), automatic shift labored and fails, cooling fan motor, etc. This vehicle is in some form of repair shop on a regular basis. Have I driven a Ford lately? yes, and sorry I chose to do so.

- Lawrenceville, GA, USA

problem #58

Jun 262003

Contour 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,600 miles
Automatic transmission failed in 2001 (see ODI # 759046 submitted 3/02). Transmission was rebuilt and remained in service until 2003. In June 2003, transmission began slipping under normal city driving conditions and was taken to independent mechanic for inspection and service. Transmission was deemed "unrebuildable" and replaced with new Ford automatic transmission.

- Antioch, TN, USA

problem #57

Jun 012003

Contour 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,500 miles
1998 Ford Contour SE 4cyl VIN [xxx] - 4speed transmission. My wife was driving home from work when the transmission made sudden, erratic, jerky shifts on its own causing the car to pull from side to side and losing control and leaving the road and finally stopping in a field. I had to tow her out. The car now does not move forward, but does has reverse. Further research on the net has revealed other Ford/Mazda owners have experienced the same transmission failures. I am surprised the NHTSA has not done anything about these transmissions. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Erie, PA, USA

problem #56

May 252003

Contour 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles
Vehicle intermittently jerks when shifting, sometime very violently. Vehicle has also stalled when negotiating a turn in an intersection. Vibrates often at low speeds (30 mph), as though it's in too high of a gear for the terrain. Check engine light on intermittently, usually for several days then goes off for a few days before coming back on again. I've gotten two estimates for the repair, both in the neighborhood of $2,500 for a rebuild of my transmission or installation of a re-manufactured transmission. Recently had to have coolant sensor and fuel pressure regulator replaced as a result of regularly occurring check engine light.

- Seven Valleys, PA, USA

problem #55

Feb 212003

Contour 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The vehicle experienced premature transmission failure.

- Capitol Heights, MD, USA

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