nobody bothered to service them since it's not supposed to need service "for life."
This exactly, when I'm car shopping I don't know how many conversations go as follows
Person- "everything works great but reverse (or another gear) doesn't work"
Me- "when was the last time the transmission fluid was changed?"
Person- "Transmission fluid? I didn't think you had to change that."
Me- "How many miles did you say were on the car?"
Person- "170,000(or some other astronomical amount)"
Me- (usually in my own head, but it has actually come out before) " Do we see them problem here yet?!?"