Unless you have detailed maintenance records on a car, and chances are you don’t, it’s a pain to get caught up:
The car has 60,000 miles on it and I don’t think it has ever had any maintenance done besides oil and filter changes. Is there anything else that should be done? Well, it could use a new air filter and the coolant (anti-freeze) should be changed, but other than that, no, not really.
The timing belt does not need to be replaced till we reach 105,000 miles.
The Teeming Milieu that is Yahoo! Answers is, to the last boyjill among them, utterly terrified of timing belts: they’ll go out of their way to avoid buying cars that have them. I am really surprised that some enterprising automaker hasn’t started promoting chain-driven valve gear. Of course, when the chain goes, you’re spending about three or four timing belts’ worth to replace most of the upper half of the engine, but these folks will not be dissuaded.
The spark plugs need to changed occasionally, but how often depends on what kind of spark plugs you have. Are they regular, super (platinum tipped), or extra crispy (iridium! Shades of Toolmaker Koan)? How do you tell?
I will pass on Nissan’s advice on platinum plugs — every 105k miles — and tell you in the same breath to ignore it. Nothing routinely engaged in explosions needs to be sitting in your engine for a hundred thousand miles. (At 132k, Gwendolyn is on her third set.)
The intake valves on some engines need to be adjusted. Which engines?
Whichever ones don’t have hydraulic adjusters, though that’s not much help by itself. My old Toyota Celica needed the shims re-shimmied every 60k or so, as did the second Mazda 626 (but not the first, which had the hydraulics). Then again, Infiniti has a procedure for adjusting valve clearance, but it appears nowhere on the schedule, not even at the Severe Service level.
Then again, again:
I finish looking through the maintenance schedule and I realize I did not see anything about the automatic transmission. For all the cars I have ever dealt with before, checking the transmission fluid level was a regular deal, and changing it was something that needed doing ever few years. What’s going on? I look through the schedule again and there are all kinds of things you are supposed to check like hoses and belts and brakes and boots, but I can find nothing about the transmission. I finally find an entry, but it is in the severe service list, so it is not like I am blind.
In general, I don’t trust ATF after about 30,000 miles, even the sort-of-pricey synthetic I’m using now. (It has about 8k on it now.) Infiniti doesn’t even mention the stuff (except for “Inspect”) in the Normal Service table, which seems to be what all the cool kids are doing now. However, Severe calls for 30k intervals. And fortunately, the dipstick is not hard to find, though it’s long and unwieldy. (Same for the oil dipstick, for that matter.)