I have had to replace the Alternator five times in the eight years I have owned 'The Beretta'. Although I don't think I can entirely fault GM. The 500 watt stereo system, cellular telephone, and alarm system I had installed were likely more than it could handle. Since removing said stereo and telephone, the problem seems to have been vanished. Voila!
I had the transmission rebuilt at 80,000 km, but thankfully this was covered by the extended warranty.
One of the front fog-lights burnt out at around 100,000 km. Unfortunately, because of the Z26 body trim, I am unable to access the bulb unless I remove the front bumper.
I can't seem to get the parking-brake to work. Each time I change the rear brakes, I have to loosen the cable to allow the wheel to turn freely. This then means the parking-brake is too loose to engage.
And now I think I have a problem with the lock-up torque converter. Whenever I come to a stop with the car still in gear, the engine revs low and creates a low rumbling noise. I believe this is because the torque converter is not disengaging the transmission when stopped.
I have to say that GM built a pretty solid car! I had previously owned a '94 Beretta until it was destroyed in an accident. I was t-boned at a four-way stop by an early-eighties Camaro doing a police-estimated 90 km/h. The car was a write-off, all the windows were smashed, the side of the car was pushed-in beyond the width of the wheels and I was removed from the vehicle via 'The Jaws of Life'. All five passengers were unharmed, other than some cuts-n-bruises, and a great deal of shock. So, when the insurance came in and the dealer said he had a '95 Beretta available, I bought it.
Now, as this is my 'first' car (excluding the four months I owned the '94), I must admit I beat the **** out of it (as one look at the exterior will prove). It's been through more torture than any vehicle deserves, and it won't stop kicking. All I've done is give it regular maintenance, and kept feeding it plenty of quality fluids. It definitely has a solid drive-train.
The greatest complaint I'd have about the car is the company that made it. Or rather the dealers that represent GM. I couldn't believe what classifies as 'Service' in their minds. Every time I see an ad for 'GM Good-wrench' I just shake my head. I've been to every GM dealer in Greater Vancouver and will never return. This car hasn't seen a GM dealer since 40,000 km., and that's probably why it still runs so well!