Everything - despite regular servicing.
3 head gaskets replaced (very expensive)
Every rubber component - hoses, pipes, you name it.
Original air conditioner seized, and two replacement compressors did the same. Extremeley inconvenient in a hot climate where summer temperatures regularly exceed 40 degrees. Gave up after the second replacement, went without air con for 2 years.
Pieces of interior trim fell apart - speaker grilles, glove box, dashboard controls.
Both passenger and driver's side locks had to be replaced, and the glove box refused to lock as well, after a while.
Starter motor replaced.
Alternator worn out.
Radio very difficult to operate, stopped working just before the car was 'disposed' of. Tape deck never worked.
Had a tendency to overheat in traffic.
Dipstick snapped and required replacement.
The headlights and digital clock were temperamental - electrical issues.
Broke down several times.
We bought this car for my mother - she wanted something that had plenty of room, was reliable, easy to drive and fuel efficient - the Laser Wagon seemed ideal, however it proved to be a complete nightmare. My mother, who is not a woman of great means, was so dismayed at the cost of replacing the head gaskets that she actually cried the last time, and suffered through sweltering summer heat due to the air conditioner failing.
I would not recommend a Ford Laser to anyone. It was not overly comfortable, not good looking, nor fuel efficient. It was most certainly not reliable. The car itself seemed tinny, especially the doors. The sound system and radio were useless, and the car was noisy and unrefined. The only thing that didn't require replacement was the automatic gearbox, although it was most certainly nothing special.
We don't blame Ford, because after-all this is a re-badged Mazda, and several other Fords we've owned had few problems. However this car was a complete lemon, and it was eventually sold for $400. Where it ended up, we don't know. Some poor, unfortunate person is probably driving it. The irony is, they'll probably have no problems with it because we replaced every single conceivable thing! Avoid this model like the plague.