Do You Maintain Your Car Better Than Your Body? (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of a 3-part series.


  • 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.

Does Maintenance Have A Better ROI Than Repair?

maintain or die

Pay now or pay later? Is an ounce of prevention really worth a pound of cure? What’s the return on investment (ROI) of maintenance versus repair? Let’s look at how this applies to our cars and our health.

  • The total cost of maintaining a car is $1,000+. Compare that to the total cost of not maintaining a car which is $8,000+ according to data from January 2014.
  • The cost for accidents resulting from unperformed vehicle maintenance tops $2 billion a year, according to a 2004 study by the Car Care Council.
  • “If you don’t maintain your car, you’re taking a vehicle that might have been driven for 200,000 miles over its life, and you’re knocking it down to maybe 150,000 miles,” says Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor at
fix that spare tire!

What about maintaining health instead of fixing it?

  • Every minute of exercise adds seven minutes (or more) to your lifespan and increases your quality of life according to this 2013 summary of studies.
  • Health-related productivity losses account for 77% of all employee productivity losses according to this study of 20,144 employees by Ray Merrill and associates.
  • Repairing your body is expensive: $324,000 for open heart surgery according to Investopedia, and the average lifetime cost of a stroke is $100,000 for each survivor according to the American Stroke Association. The typical new cancer drug coming on the market a decade ago cost about $4,500 per month (in 2012 dollars); since 2010 the median price has been around $10,000. Two of the new cancer drugs cost more than $35,000 each per month of treatment according to the NY Times.
  • Each year, millions of people die preventable deaths. Studies show that about half of all deaths in the United States are due to preventable behaviors and exposures. Leading causes included cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, unintentional injuries, diabetes, and certain infectious diseases. This same study estimates that 400,000 people die each year in the United States due to poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle.[2]

Whether it’s cars or health, the best repair is the one you never have. The best way to prevent expensive repairs is to maintain your car and body.

What Your Car And Body Have In Common

bodies and cars are alike

You’re going on a 500-mile trip. You only put $10 worth of diesel into your gas tank and didn’t check the oil or water. What are the odds that your car could complete the trip?

Your body is a sophisticated and complex series of interdependent systems and of course no analogy can truly do it justice. Nevertheless, even a simplistic comparison to a car can yield useful insights on how to operate it optimally.

Car-Body Comparison
Car System Body Equivalent
Idiot Lights Aches & Pains
Mechanic Doctor
Fuel Food
Gas Tank Stomach
Fuel Additives Supplements
Engine Heart
Redline RPM Stress
Air Filter Lungs
Oil Filter Liver
Timing Belt Priorities
Transmission Muscles
Parking Brake Sitting
Coolant Circulation
Tires Feet

Thanks to hybrid and electric cars, the car-body analogy of the future will necessarily look different than the one just presented. Fans of the latest car technology might be interested in the Tesla Drive for Men’s Health to increase awareness of men’s health issues and to encourage men to make their health a priority.

In Part 1 of this series, I look at why certain types of people maintain their cars better than their health. 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: Pirate Car, Hot Sport via freeimages (license), Body Shop via photopin (license), Stock Photo ID: 7742764 via ShutterStock (license), Dave Wild pic via flickr Creative Commons (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 10, 2015

    This article is brilliant! So many men are guilty of taking care of their cars before their bodies and no topic is more widely known and loved among men than cars. By comparing the two, it not only is interesting, but the information sticks in your mind. This is a potential game changer for getting men to think more seriously about their health!

  2. TyrusJuly 10, 2015

    I believe that your article draws a great comparison between a car and a person’s body. Hopefully people will see that investing in their body is just as or even more important than investing in their car.

  3. Jeff PopoffJuly 17, 2015

    Thanks Tyrus and Zak, I appreciate your kind feedback

    I am always looking for mens-health blog ideas. I’d love to hear your ideas.

    Kind Regards,
    (aka The Healthy Executive)

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