My Mother-in-law gave this car to my wife with 29,000 miles on it. She had already replaced the alternator twice by then. At 30,000 it had to be replaced again. I'm getting really nervous because it's only a couple of hundred miles below 40,000 now. We just paid over $500 to have new brake pads and shoes replaced as well as 2 new rotors and 1 new drum. So far there have been no motor or transmission problems. But I'm sure they're not far away. I wouldn't have another one of these, even if it was free again. The trunk looses quite a bit of space due to those arms that swing down in the way. All in all it's just a BAD car.
Granny has tranny issues and sold the car to me at 80,000 miles. Had that fixed and put 50,000 more miles before it was using so much oil I couldn't get 3000 miles without adding oil. I ended up neglecting it once and now it needs an engine. During that time I changed the water pump, compressor, and some sensors.
I'm an 18 year old kid that just had their Lumina die on them at 169k mi. I've been driving this car for almost 2.5 years and I have to say I had a lot of memories learning to drive on it. I liked the smooth ride and good snow traction. Some things that went wrong were old brakes, a faulty alternator and its chronic coolant leakage problem, but consider the age (169k miles). Don't get me wrong, overall I would recommend this car to anyone looking for a cheap used car that is roomy and smooth. Watch out for the white ones though, they will always start flaking major amounts of paint after a while (every white Lumina I have seen does this). I haven't seen any other color defect like this.
I inherited my 1995 Lumina in 2001 with 4k to 5k on the odometer. The Good. No interior rattles, all power accessories work well, and now with 72,000 miles the engine still runs like new. Smooth ride and tranny. Feels safe. The Bad. It is not the most reliable of vehicles. At just 10000 miles or so i had a leaking intake gasket manifold that cost $800 to fix. minor things such as the power door locks breaking, the AC not working, brakes warping, needing a new ball joint, and fuel injectors needed cleaning. The seats are not very ergonomic and feels like i am sitting in an old catchers mitt. Overall...the engine has adequate performance for freeway merging and makes for a tolerable commute.