High gas miles, some repairs needed
In the 2-3 years I've owned my Neon I've had several problems;
The first of these was shortly after I got the car my seemingly fine battery died. The light's weren't left on and the car had just driven for about half an hour, but it wouldn't work.
Then a few months later (about 87,000 miles) my fuel pump as went up. This cost about $400 to get fixed at Pep-boys.
The next thing to go was my brake pads. One had worn to the metal when the rest seemed fine. Luckily I was able to fix this myself, so it only cost me a new set of pads and rotors. But now the brakes are starting to squeak again and I've had to add break fluid twice since.
The next problem occurred in January of 2003, at about 90,000 miles. On a long road trip back to school, my timing belt started to go. I figured I had enough time to get to school and then get it taken care of, but shortly after the light came on and I heard the noise of the belt, it snapped. At 70 miles per hour this took out all, but one of my valves in my engine and ruptured anti-freeze hoses. With all that I couldn't fix it myself. That was another $1000 at an engine shop.
Two months after all that work the check engine light comes on again. This time it was the Exhaust Gas Recycle Valve (EGR) and one of the O2 sensors. Yet again I took care of the problems myself to keep down the cost. Another problem at this time was a short in the wires that cut power to my radio and interior dome light. Luckily studying electrical engineering I was able to rig this so that both work again.
There is one more major problem I've had with the car. The air conditioner stopped working. The Clutch on the air conditioner burnt out so I replaced it, but the thing still didn't work. I am still in the process of fixing this because I have all the parts I will need except a new compressor, but I won't be able to put them in by myself because unfortunately I don't have a vacuum pump to drain the line and keep it clear while I work on the car.
I have also had some minor problems that aren't a big deal, but are kind of annoying:
Intermittently my check engine light would come on, but usually it was when I needed windshield washing fluid and as soon as I filled it and drove a few miles the light would go off. This problem has since stopped, but this may also be because I always make sure theres fluid. Which sometimes is often because the car seems to use a lot of it when I do a quick spray of the window.
My doors and windows seem to really need oil because they squeak when used.
My trunk seems to leak form underneath. The has caused some papers and boxes in my trunk to get wet and it caused my scissor jack that came with the car to rust. I was going to empty my trunk and put plastic down underneath the carpet, but, being winter, it's too cold and wet to do so now until spring or summer.
The hinge on the glove compartment broke so it is held in by its size being larger then the slot its in. This is however convienient when I am working on my radio because I can take out the entire glove compartment easily and attach mounting brackets and other things from the side.
The paint in some places is peeling and my Dodge emblem is beginning to fall off.
The headlights get clouded easily, but if you take them off and clean them with glass cleaner, they shine fine.
The seat belts don't seem to lock unless enough force is applied. Usually this is only enough on hard stops and turns. My girlfriend doesn't like how she goes flying forward still on softer stops. I was thinking about seeing if I could fix this myself, but I'm not sure I can. If I have to get new belts it's going to be around $100-150, and that's with me installing them.
I had to get tires recently. I have no idea how long the tires I got with the car had been on there, but they seemed to be OK when I got them and they lasted 15,000 miles with me before I had to replace them.
The car seems to be very quick. I've done 0-80 in 9 seconds. But this was only once and I haven't been able to repeat it. According to some on-line specs, the 95 dodge neon was the second fastest dodge, until the SRT and Neon R/T, able to go 0-60 in 8 seconds.
The car handles well, especially with new tires.
I was lucky to buy the car for cheap and even with the amount I've had to put into it I've still paid less than some people who've had more problems with other cars. I also paid less than people who haven't had very many problems with the same car.
The car is good on gas. I drove 460 highway miles over this past summer before I needed gas. Usually non-highway I get about 330-350 miles per tank. The tank according to my owners manual is 10 gallons, but I've found it to be a lot closer to 12 gallons. With these figures it gets about 28 miles city driving and 38 highway.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 9th December, 2003