I bought my 2000 Dodge Neon brand new April of 1999 and in my almost 10 years of ownership a few things have needed replacement on the car aside from the usual maintenance stuff.
- Thermostat and water pump had to be replaced in the fall of '04, I believe mileage was around 115k (used to drive the heck out of the car the first few years of ownership)
- Head gasket started leaking oil badly, leaked oil onto alternator causing it to fail, replaced both head gasket and alternator, also replaced oil pan due to leak, spring of '07, mileage was around 140k (this was the big repair that almost made me trade in the car but it had been so good over the years I forked up the cash)
- Clockspring in steering column had to be replaced 11/08 due to airbag light on dash coming on, mileage around 153k.
- Replaced motor mounts among other routine maintenance 12/08 to try to fix rough idle, mileage around 155k.
This car has overall been extremely reliable and has never left me stranded *knock on wood* in my 10 yrs (as of April of '09) of ownership. It seems to have a personality of its own at times, which can be charming at times, annoying at others.
There are a few things not working that I haven't gotten around to replacing, which tend to add to it's "personality", which I've heard is just part of the Neon experience:
- CD player stopped working but radio itself works fine.
- Horn doesn't work if the temperature is below 50 degrees out, no matter the engine temperature.
- The multi function switch needs replacement, so I'm unable to turn on the dome light, and the interior lights freak out as I drive.
- It has had a random issue with idling for several years now, acts like it wants to shut off if sitting in drive at, say a stop light for too long, mainly if it's damp or raining out and I have some kind of vent/ac on, but the car never actually stalls.
- After sitting, for example, overnight or for 8 hours at work, sometimes I will try to start the car and all the inside electrical stuff turns on but nothing happens with the engine, no clicks, no trying to turn over, nothing, try it a 2nd time and it almost always works, very random problem, had the ignition switch and started looked at by dealer who said they were fine.
Aside from the above "oddities" the car is very reliable and I am very happy with it. I plan on getting a new car and making the Neon my 2nd car shortly as I don't feel comfortable taking it on long trips only because the mileage is now in the 150k-175k range.