Paid $200 for general tune-up before actually drove it.
Needed new brakes after 6 months.
New battery after a year.
Oil/grease on engine smokes when heated up.
Rear shocks extremely loose.
Rust, and lots of it.
Parking brake doesn't work.
No inside mirror.
Cigarette lighter doesn't work.
Stereo doesn't work for unknown reasons.
Just recently, the 2 front doors stuck and won't open.
Because I don't want to throw money into it, I've only fixed the problems necessary for moving forward, reverse, and braking.
When I got this car from my older sister 2 years ago, the car was in pretty bad shape. The drive gears wouldn't connect (like being in neutral) and sometimes it would stall in traffic. Once I got the repairs done, I didn't have to worry about the gears not catching, and the only time it stalled was trying to back out of my driveway early in the morning on colder days. One plus is that the front seats are the most comfortable I've ever been in.
All complaints aside, for a car already past it's 15th birthday when I got it, it's been very reliable. Especially considering the abuse it's been through. It's been able to do things car like it shouldn't be doing. Even though all sorts of little things have broken like most of the dashboard's electric components, the primary stuff, engine and transmission, have not broken down or needed attention. I drive it hard and yet taken all the punishment and still gets me to where I need to be.
The biggest 2 negatives about the car for me have been the underpowered 4cyl engine and the lack of power-steering. That 4cyl coupled with age are not capable of delivering any sort of desirable performance. I have to floor the car any time I want to accelerate and it still only does a mediocre job.
For the type of driving I do, the steering is terrible. From a dead stop, I've got to muscle the wheel around. Even worse is when the "power-assisted" steering kicks in as I'm making a left hand turn at a busy intersection. That has produced some close calls.
For a 20 year old junk car, it's put up with enough abuse and neglect to impress me and mechanics. However, I highly doubt that I'll be singing any praises at 100,000+ miles, the engine could make it, but the body wouldn't.