My father knows nothing about cars, so, in turn, neither do it. He accepts this, though, and is very willing to pay others to do the work he so loathes. As far as I know, he's always been good about getting the car in as often as necessary for tune-ups, etc; he's a pretty careful guy. He won't change the oil himself, but will not hesitate to have it done either, and I'm pretty sure, although not positive, that it's been done often enough. I've only now started to make an attempt to understand cars; it seems a shame to love/drive a car yet know so little about it. Another thing to consider is that for the last 6 years, the car has been driven in the Virgin Islands (haven't made it to NY yet, but I'm getting there). Roads here are rough, to say the least. Pot holes, sharp corners, tons of hills, and incessant accelerating and braking fill almost every drive you take. I don't know how much of an effect this could have, but I know other parts of the car suffer (brake pads, tires, etc...). Another concern is rust. My house is about 60 ft. above the Atlantic ocean, and the cars are parked probably 300 yards from waterfront. Again, not sure how big an effect this could have had, but it seems sensible to mention it.
I know it's probably a long explaination, but could someone give me an idea of what a timing chain does and how it's related to the way the engine works, etc...