This is a great point, especially for those who have their oil changed at Jiffy Lube or somewhere similar. One of the many reasons I change my own oil, is so that I can look around and "see if there's anything falling off".
If "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", then observing a problem in time to prevent it should be worth a pound of prevention.
ncarter is obviously watching for areas where he can provide the prevention. I'll bet his 240D lasts forever. It's all in the attitude and curing small problems before they become big problems.
'84 Euro 240D, 516K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
Over 800,000 miles in