In this paper, a novel contour-tracking control method of an unknown planar object by lateral force regulation for wheeled mobile robot navigation is presented. The robot is required to follow the contour of an unknown object toward the goal position. Based on mobile robot dynamic equations, a force-control algorithm is proposed to maintain constant contact with a planar object. Measured contact force from an object is used not only to regulate a contact force in a lateral direction, but also to control the orientation angle of the robot to avoid collision with an object. Simulation and experiment of contour-tracking tasks of a wheeled mobile robot are conducted. Experimental results show that the contact force is well-regulated, and the robot arrives at the goal position successfully.