I've been saying this for years, telling my customers for years and using it for years but it's always nice to see someone else mention it. Buying 10 year old cars and maintaining them is the cheapest way to own and operate a car. Look at the graph from Reddit, especially the black dots:
The reason for this is that depreciation, interest, license tabs and insurance costs are silent killers. They add up to thousands of dollars per year and you don't even notice it.
Now, I would go one step further and say that buying a mint condition 12 year old car from the original owner who has all the maintenance records, is going to be by far the cheapest option, but 10 year old cars aren't bad either.
Thank you K.N. The cupcakes were amazing and are all gone now.
Continued from fluid myths
Fourth, you need to understand needed vs good.
Everybody has a different version of what is needed to repair their car. One person may have had a tie rod separate and send their car out of control. For them, a tie rod is needed and an emergency. For someone else bald tires are not needed even though they are illegal. Because everyone is different I can't make my recommendations based on what is needed because everybody has a different idea and will disagree with me.
So, we make recommendations based on what is good. It is good to maintain your fluids. It is better than not maintaining them. It is good to fix things before they break because they are often more expensive to fix after then break. It is good to have an inspection and know the state of your car. It is good to change your oil on schedule.
You see, while I benefit from what is good, you do to. And, so does your car and ultimately your pocketbook.