Our '95 Neon Sport was purchased new & the oil & filter every 3000K miles or 6 months, which ever comes first. The engine is running perfectly & I can't remember the last time required any shop work. ...
Never blew the head gasket on that thing, eh? I thought surely they've all failed by now. A '95 Neon Sport was my first brand new car. I was 24 in '94 when I bought it. It was a 5-speed red 4-door with the surf board rear spoiler. I was damn proud of that car. But by 30K miles, the car really started to feel like it was falling apart...and I was never abusive to it. While I never had the dreaded head gasket problem with it (why would I after only 30K), I did have numerous fuel pump failures that would leave me stranded every time. I also had exhaust and engine mount problems. Finally, I got into a fender bender with it. Got it fixed via insurance and promptly traded it in.
Since I'm here, I might as well dispense my opinion on the oil-change thing... Use the cheapest oil available that meets the car's owner's manual's requirements for weight and class (look at that "starburst" symbol on the bottle). The logic being, like gasolines, all dino oils are basically the same. And change it no more or less frequently than recommended in that owner's manual. If it's a turbo, go with synthetic. If it's an N/A, there's no justifiable reason in the world to use anything other than good old dino oil (again, unless the manual says otherwise). Some people frown upon certain filters (Fram). As long as it gets changed every time, any brand of filter will do. Some people change the washer every time, others never change it, yet others are somewhere in between. It's real simple; if you notice a slight leak, change it. If not, keep reusing it 'til it does...you may never really need
to change it. If you do go synthetic, you're not
absolved of the requirement to change it just as frequently as you would dino oil. After all, it's still picking up the same corrosive and potentially abrasive contaminants!
Finally, be mindful of cold starts. More specifically, how you drive the car while the engine is warming up. My rule of thumb is, pretend there is an egg
between your right foot and the gas pedal, and you're trying not to break it, by stepping too hard or too quickly... Once it warms up, of course, drive it normally.
You may have many problems with a car over the course of it's life, but if you follow these rules, engine wear will likely never be one of them.