Let me ask you Jason, do you have the same outlook on your brand new car and truck? It's all relative. I believe you got your YJ for free or close to it, and your car and truck were at least 25K each or more,so your mind set to protect your low dollar investment vs your high dollar investment vehicles is going to be drasticaly different. I have $20k sticker + $10K upgrades=$30K investment in my 05 TJ, so I do the research and buy the "name brand" fluids that have been proven in comparison studies for maintanace. I use to have a 81 CJ that i picked up for $1K and did the exact same as you with the maintanace. Neither way is wrong, both methods are right.
Well, the problem with the Jetta (which I wish I knew before I bought
) is that it takes only synthetic fluids and premium gas. So there is really no penny pinch'n to be had there. Its all pricey. With the Nissan, to be honest its only needed one oil change since I've owned it!
So, I did just go with some basic Casrol GTX 10W30 motor oil and a average filter. Nothing fancy needed. Its rarely driven and when it is its usually highway and nothing severe.
Now as far as the Jeep goes, yep; I paid a whoppin' $400!
I don't treat it as if its just a piece of junk though. If anything I take better care of the Jeep because I don't wanna break down out in the middle of nowhere. My theory on it is - more expensive doesn't necessarily mean better. For example; the Purolator oil filter. I researched and found it to be one of the better oil filters on the market. Not the best, but then again, this isn't a Corvette. Its a good quality product at a good price. There are some things I refuse to go way above and beyond on. There is no need to use Royal Purple in a Jeep (especially mine), no matter where you put it. It really cracks me up when people use high dollar ATF in their transfer case when its nothing more than a chain bath.
Anyway, if people feel more comfortable using the premium fluids and what not, hey more power to ya. Nothing wrong with it at all. I just haven't seen enough data to show that they improve performance enough to justify the cost.... except the royal purple website