You always hear people saying to follow the manual that comes with the car. In most cases (if not all) this is the best practice. Oil changes and routine checks of other fluids or replacing oil/air filters is very effective preventative maintenance. Running your car on oil past it time to be changed can cause many issues. Many people wait till they get a check engine light and a lot of time that is a sign it too late. I recently got a check engine light on my car (even with good maintenance) and it turned out to be a broken timing chain in the engine which made one of the cylinder heads crash into a valve. This caused metal shavings in the oil pickup. What that means is I need a rebuilt engine at the tune of $10k. Makes a few hundred for routine maintenance seem very reasonable.
This strongly depends on the car, and to a lesser degree how it is used.
For a number of engines, (usually high performance, but some others) the timing chain is a wear item - it has a fixed, limited life. Replace it when it says to. For more than a few engines, a break in the timing chain will result in the immediate total economic destruction of the engine. Also, car will stop moving.
U-joints are a frequent wear item on four wheel drive vehicles, and some trucks SUVs. Failure can result in the drive shaft falling onto the road. This can happen with the loose end towards the front, so that the drive shaft will catch on the road, causing it to be driven up it to passenger compartment, where it might crush your toes.
Some cars with aluminum engines have VERY specific requirements for the coolant and anti-freeze in the radiator. Strongly recommend following the manual. Same with the transmission.
Smooth freeway traffic is easy on a car, stop and go, multiple errands like a taxicab is much harder on the engine. Your owners manual may have a heavy use section that applies to this, and it may have more frequent service intervals.
Mostly clear, light honey color is okay, Darker honey color is a maybe, and dark brown and opaque means you should have changer 2000 miles ago.
Wheel Alignment - Check your tires for wear patterns about once a month - you just walk around. Tires for some cars are expensive, and bad alingment can eat up a $600 set of 30,000 mile tires in 2000 miles or less.
Tires and brakes - I will assume you know enough to take care of these.
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The following is another way to determine when to service what
Oil change intervals: every 6 months.
Air filter: when becoming dark on the back side.
Transmission: every 2 years. The same with the power steering,
radiator, and brake fluid. Belts and hoses: every 5 years.
For upgrade servicing of those components, meaning, the using of flush cleaners, adding anti-wear protection, and slippery coating, to prevent or end oil burning, valve tapping, power loss, leaks, and to add years more dependability, you can add this web site products to your car protecting methods.