The key to owning an Alero is as follows:
*Change the Orange Dexcool out with Green ASAP
*Don't run over or in to things with the front wheels.
Dexcool is a great coolant if used with the proper gaskets and system, which the first year Alero did not have. This causes air to leak in the system, turning the coolant to a bad fluid that eats away things like water pumps, hoses, and belts. If you do not (which I did not) change to "green" you will do the intake manifold gasket, waterpump, belts and hoses.
The "Wonderful" GM design for the wheel speed sensors is to put them inside the bearing/hub assembly whith a very thin set of wires going towards the CPU. If you rip or tear one, or simply drive on a hub for a while, the sensor will fail, and you are out $400 per wheel.
This is a good fundamental car, and if you have ever driven an Achieva, you know how far the Alero has come. Put in context that GP cars are not meant to be driven 200k plus like a Toyota, and you will be happy, You can get a used Alero for $4000, drive it for a few years, and have a safe and comfortable vehicle. I have owned mine for 8 years, and save for what I mentioned above, and the typical GM alternator replacement every 50k, it has been a great car. If you feel sorry for yourself, look at the reviews for the comperable Pontiac Grand Am's, now there is a car that should never have been built. To quote a different review, "Maintenance is the key to a good relationship, people and cars alike." Do the work, spend the money, and get on with life!