Do You Maintain Your Car Better Than Your Body? (Part 1)

This is Part 1 of a 3-part series.

how do I maintain me?


  • Part 1: Are you a car buff but a health duff? The evidence may surprise you.
  • Part 2: Preventing car and health problems is eight times cheaper than fixing them.
  • Part 3: Be your own mechanic using this 16-point body tuneup
Is this in the owners manual?

Have you ever looked at your car manual? There are often two maintenance schedules: One for normal conditions and one for harsh conditions. The schedule designed for cars operating in harsh conditions involves more frequent tune-ups, oil changes, and preventative diagnostic exams. Most people follow these schedules for their autos faithfully; why do we refuse to maintain our personal health?

Perhaps the reason is cost. The average cost of a car in 2015 is $33,560 and we want to maintain our investment. In contrast, our bodies are free and perhaps as result we take them for granted (and if you are in the 18–29 demographic you are a Young Invincible).

Not mention that cars are fast and fun, while health seems slow and boring in comparison.

Want proof? More than 80 percent of men could remember the make and model of their first set of wheels, but only 54 percent could remember the last time they went to the doctor for a check-up (according to this survey).

More proof? Drivers score 76 out of 100 on performing routine car maintenance. In contrast, each year millions of people die preventable deaths. Studies show that 47 out of 100 deaths in the United States are due to preventable diseases and behaviors.[2]

But there is one key difference. You can always buy, rent or lease another car. But you only have one body.

Which Are You?

fanatic or pragmatic?
fanatic or pragmatic?

The world can be divided into 2 kinds of car guys (or ladies):

  • Utility transport types: want to get from ‘A’ to ‘B’ reliably.
  • Car fanatics: read Car & Driver and watch Top Gear religiously.

These types can be further classified into:

  • Those who wait to fix things when they break.
  • Those who can’t wait to rotate their tires (again).

Similarly, viewpoints on health might be classified as follows:

  • Pragmatics: Those who want to be ‘healthy enough, but no more’.
  • Fanatics: Those who go to the gym 9 times a week and weigh their food.
  • Fix-it’s: Those who want their doctor to fix things when they break.
  • Preventers: Those who reasonably want to prevent preventable diseases.

Which particular car or health camp you fall into is of course a completely personal matter.

That said, there are significant differences in the short-term versus long-term costs required to keep our cars and bodies in good working order.

In Part 2 of this series, I look on the return on investment of repair versus maintenance for your body and car. In Part 3 I show you how to be your own mechanic with a handy 16-point body tuneup.


  1. Do You Read Fast Enough To Be Successful?, Forbes
  2. Mokdad, A. H., Marks, J. S., Stroup, D. F., & Gerberding, J. L. (2004). Actual Causes of Death in the United States, 2000. Journal of the American Medical Association,291(10), 1238–1245.

photo credits: Dave Wild pic via flickr Creative Commons (license), Crime Scene (conduit), Yellow Cars via freeimages (license).

Jeff Popoff

View posts by Jeff Popoff
Jeff served as a senior executive at Fortune 500 company and multiple Silicon Valley startups. He is a LinkedIn Top 25 Executive Health Coach and a Strength & Conditioning Trainer at the San Carlos Fitness Center. You can find out how to lead strong and lead longer at The Healthy Executive. image


  1. Zak HinesJuly 6, 2015

    Really liked this article! It’s definitely startling that so many men fail to monitor their health in the ways they should. Making the connection between men’s health and men’s car maintenance habits is a very effective way to think about how we can better take care of our bodies. Can’t wait to read parts 2 and 3!

  2. TyrusJuly 6, 2015

    I agree with you on how people take care of their cars over their bodies. Someone I know is fixing up an old car and is spending so much time on it while letting himself go. I can’t wait for part two and three.

  3. SophiaJuly 8, 2015

    This article caught my attention because my chiropractor once told me that people take better care of their cars than their bodies. That’s so scary! It makes sense to me that we take our body’s health for granted and not our car’s because we were given our bodies, but at the same time, that really is quite silly because we are only given one body, and theoretically can have more than one car. Perhaps it has to do with how it is easier to fix someone else’s problem (the car’s) than your own.

  4. Jeff PopoffJuly 17, 2015

    Thanks for your kind feedback Sophia, I appreciate it!

    I agree with you that for some reason its easier to fix things ‘out there’ more than ‘in here’.

    Kind Regards,

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