The following major components were replaced: alternator, water pump, fuel pump and engine coolant sender. I expected these components not to last 300,000 miles.
The car failed to pass California emissions due to high hydrocarbon emissions. I suspect this was due to low cylinder compression. Also suspect catalytic converter failure.
Maintenance items including spark plugs, air filter, oil filter, oil were also changed out.
Driver window crank failed to work. I had to hand position the window, which was embarrassing.
Car burned oil, but didn't smoke a bit.
Valve cover leaked oil.
The car was noisy at 65 mph. When driving slower, the noise levels were not bad. Must have been a combination of wind and road noise.
Interior was very basic.
This car has been great for me. I only sold it because it didn't have air conditioning and all wheel drive. If it had these, I would have rebuilt the engine so it could pass smog.
I have some backyard mechanic skills, and this car cost me a few hundred dollars a year to maintain. You get in and it starts, what more does somebody want? Only time it left me stranded was when the fuel pump went out, and that was my fault for not following preventative maintenance guidelines.
In addition to being dependable, it is very easy to work on. The engine is small and I could replace many components right in my own driveway without a lift. Changing the fuel pump was a little difficult I admit.
The car gets around 38 miles per gallon. Very inexpensive to operate! Car could also climb a 7% grade at 70 mph in 5th gear.
Remember these two things:
Saturns don't die, people kill them, so keep keep an eye on your oil level.
ECT! Engine coolant sender - if your car is running poorly and/or overheating, it is likely to be the ECT. Get it replaced.