Paint job was really shoddy- the paint began flaking off the car within a couple months of owning the car. Dealer repainted the car for free under warranty, and has held up awesomely since.
Transmission had a leak within the warranty period that was also repaired permanently for free.
Right channel of the cassette player went wacko (extreme distortion-radio worked fine) after about a year or so, it is still that way today. One of these days I am gonna get a new stereo for it.
Around 80-90K miles, the fuel injection system began acting up, causing the car to run very erratically. Mechanic spent several months trying to figure it out, it turned out to be a computer problem.
Heater core (made of plastic and aluminum) ruptured on a long trip in 1997, besides being a huge mess inside the car, it required some effort to replace, but is OK now.
Headliner adhesive gave way in 1999, replaced it myself cheaply.
Turn signal lever will not return to off position after turning left.
Around 190,000 miles the muffler (the second one) literally fell off the car as I was driving. Went to Midas and got it fixed once and for all!
At exactly 200,000 miles a tiny almost impossible-to-reach water hose behind the engine began leaking. I think that was a 'sign' (see below).
Shortly thereafter the gasket between the water neck/thermostat housing and the block sprung a leak. Easy $5 fix.
Water pump gave up the ghost (massive water leak) at 201,000 miles. Cost me $400 to fix : (
Front brakes replaced at 202,000 miles.
Exterior rubber parts (weatherstripping, trim items) are rotting off the car, but that is to be expected with a car this old.
In April 2003, the driver's seat came apart, making it impossible to sit normally without reclining all the way back. A trip to Pick-N-Pull scored me some nice seats from a 1988 Chevy Cavalier (the same basic car as this one) and I was back on the road.
At 221,000 miles, the stereo finally had some kind of electronic failure causing the right channel of the thing to completely conk out except for a garbled noise from the right side speakers.
I believe the car is on its third timing belt (replaced when the water pump was replaced, as the water pump is driven by the timing belt)
Engine is definitely tired, is beginning to burn a little oil and leak it as well.
The car also needs a complete strut job on all fours (they are the original ones).