Transmission died upon driving car off the dealer's lot, but they did fix it for free. ($1000?)
Barely visible small dents on hood, trunk, & roof of car - maybe due to hail from previous owner? Doesn't affect drivability so I haven't paid to fix it.
Paint (clear coat) is flaking off in certain places, mostly on the roof & trunk -- looks like wind streaks.
Air conditioner does not blow cold air, heater does not heat. Can't fix it without converting the system from freon to the new stuff.
($150 for conversion, then $40 for fill/charge)
Exhaust system rusty - the pipe would hang then eventuall drag & fall off; replaced twice since I've owned it. Roads are salted in winter here so that doesn't help.
(1st replacement was DIY - $25 & only the half that was rusty, from tail to midway. 2nd time was thru a mechanic & the entire pipe from catalytic converter to tail was replaced - $126.)
Coolant reservoir has hole on the side so it can't be filled past that point. (Not yet fixed/replaced due to next complaint.)
Coolant in reservoir turns brown within 24hrs of cleaning/replacing it. I thought it was oil, but the oil looked/felt clean, unlike the gunky brown coolant.
(Not yet fixed, I estimate it to be pricey - possibly a headgasket.)
Trunk gets wet - I think the door or seals are worn & lets water in. The same goes for the seal around my front windshield - which lets water in & the roof (around the visors) gets wet.
Driver side window keeps coming out of tracks so I can't roll the window down without losing the glass. This has been fixed several times.
Fixed fuel line leak a few weeks ago June 2004.
($156 to replace hoses)
Replaced alternator 1 week after fuel line probs. The voltage indicator would be low, plus the "Check engine" light would come on.
($150 for new alternator parts, $100 for repair mechanic)
Leaking oil, looks like thru valve cover gasket. Hopefully nowhere else. Leak is getting worse as the engine is soaked & smokes when hot; the smoke smells like burnt oil & occurs only around oil-soaked parts - not from anything else I could see.
(Not yet fixed, I got an estimate of roughly $100)
There's lots of room in this car, which is great when you've got a tall hubby & 2 kids (bulky carseats) in the back. No probs with head touching the ceiling or knees hitting the dash, etc.
I bought this car (with tax & all) at about $1,330 because I had lost my previous one in a fire that engulfed my home. I just needed something cheap, but would get me to & from work (reliable). I didn't want to have a car pmt when I needed my $$ for replacing other basic necessities such as shelter, beds, etc.
In general, the car rides fine, minus the problems mentioned above. I'm not a car expert so I can honestly say it could probably be better cared for. It does handles abuse/neglect well.
It had a lot of miles (120,000) when I bought it & I didn't expect it to last longer than a year, just enough for me to get back on my feet & buy a newer car. It now has 146,000 miles & I'm surprised that I have yet to have engine failure or something huge/pricey that would cost more than what I paid for on the car itself.
The heat seemed to work better when I had a piece of cardboard between the car grille & radiator during the winter, but it still took 20-30 minutes to warm up. The coolant or A/C probably needs work.
I've had a 94 Nissan Sentra XE & a 97 Chevy Cavalier in the past. The Nissan was reliable, but small & blew a headgasket in 2000 - which I then replaced the car with the Chevy. The Chevy was so much trouble from Day 1, from engine to transmission, so I didn't miss it when it was burnt. My Acclaim didn't look as sporty as those 2 cars, but it is very reliable & roomy, & also comfy.
The red interior is in excellent shape & is fairly clean, without any sign of fading. The exterior on the other hand has gone from maroon to almost brown, with portions of the paint flaking off. There's also quite a bit of rust on the underbody, with road salt not helping much in that department.
It came with a radio only (no cass.) so it's a pain if I ever decide to install a CD player instead, which I doubt I'll do.
Other than that, it runs great & gets me to where I need to go. I don't know about really long hauls, but I've gone for 2.5hrs each way to another city without having any problems. (Going to work is about 42mi round trip a day.) It starts right away even in cold weather every time, although it rough idles until the engine's warmed up. It also handles well around turns & such.