When I got the car, it needed 4 new tires, which were expensive because they were sixteens. $500 including alignment.
As well, the driver's side door panel was separating from the plastic interior. No charge by a mechanic friend.
There was a small gasket leak, which was tightened and fixed at a local shop for 30 or 40 dollars.
The engine makes a shaking/ticking noise during hard acceleration. As well, following a hard acceleration, the car comes up with all sorts of noises (which are usually gone by the next time you start the car).
I had to get a brake job done, which cost about $200, and the brakes still squeak, but they manage to stop the car, which some might find to be important.
I bought the car for $3300 from a guy who parked it in a supermarket parking lot with a "For Sale" sign on it. I was kind of scared of being screwed over, because it was going to be my first car.
The next week I took it in for a check up, just to make sure the car was in good shape. It turned out that the tires were dry rotted, a gasket was leaking, and new brakes were needed. I got all the problems fixed and an oil change for about $800.
So far those were the only major problems. I'm in for about 4200 dollars total, for a 98 Marquis with 71000 miles. I'm happy with it.
The car is a beast. I feel like I could hit a brick wall and have no problems, though I don't plan on trying. I get made fun of at school, I'm going into senior year in high school, because it is either a cop car or an old man's car. Either way, I really don't car; it is a running car that only cost me 4 grand, and it is safe, reliable, and comfortable.
The only complements my friends give me are on the car's room and comfort. It seats six easily, and the seats are amazingly comfortable. It's like driving on a Lazy Boy.
As far as performance, the car clearly wasn't made to test 0-60's or street race. My Marquis accelerates fast enough to merge into traffic, 0-60 in just under 9 seconds, which is all I need. However, one of the fun features of the car is its rear wheel drive. From a stop, I can easily spin the wheels into a drift and peel out, but I try not to do this a lot because it wastes gas and kills tires.
The listed top speed of the car is 110mph, which is wrong. The speedometer stops labeling at 120 and pins at 135. On a straight section of highway, right after I got the car, I hit 117 or so, and there was plenty left. I will never try this again, because it is dangerous, irresponsible, and wasteful.
When I got the car, gas was around three dollars a gallon, but now its above four. I'm basically eating it on gas. The car's EPA mileage is 15/22. This marking seems to be a bit off as well. When I was driving purely around town, and waiting in traffic, I got 17 miles per gallon, but now with my 17 mile commute to work four days a week, I am mixing 21 miles per gallon, with my highway speeds averaging about 70 to 75 miles per hour. I once did go on a road trip to Delaware from northern Pennsylvania, and I got 31 miles per gallon at 60 mph. The gas tank holds 20 gallons, but only recognizes 16, so the gas gage is no help, and the fuel light comes on when you have 4 gallons left. My ERG or EGR, something like that, sensor is done, and needs to be replaced. The mechanic says its killing my gas mileage, which it is not.
Overall, the car was a good deal. I'm sure I'll get rid of it within the next year, in preparation for college, but until then I will be happily cruising in the Grand Marquis.