Treat Your Body Better Than You Treat Your Car

Dr. Adrian Pujayana

THE way we treat our cars should be metaphorical to the way we ought to treat our own bodies. Follow me for a moment with this example.

Imagine you’ve just turned 18, and that you are given a car — but just ONE car that must last your lifetime. Some cars are brand new, some are classic, some are built for the off-road and some are sports cars. You don’t know what you’re going to get, but you need to keep it, care for it and use it as you wish for as long as the car will serve you. Future upgrades may be available, like changing tires and accessories, and perhaps a new engine at some point, but these components are not always available, and specialized mechanics may not be covered by your auto insurance.

Would the type of vehicle you receive determine how you would come to use it? Would it change your driving habits? In other words, would you use the minivan you were given in order to go off-roading? Maybe at times, but with consequence, right? So how do you care for this vehicle you received in order to make it last, and what modifications could you make to the vehicle to better suit your lifestyle? Maybe the following car guide can help.

1. Be mindful of fuel source. There are times when you need to go the distance, so you fill up the gas tank with premium fuel. Why not? You need a clean-burning fuel source that doesn’t clog your engine. Other times you are driving only to and from work, and you’re tempted to fill your tank with 87, but you know better! To make this car last, you want to keep this engine clean with the best fuel you can reasonably afford. I might be stretching the following analogy a bit, but how about the time when you and a friend thought it was a good idea to use a little bit of diesel fuel into your unleaded tank? It took time for that toxicity to get out the system, right?

2. Regular alignment. Every mechanical system has to experience wear and tear, and can malfunction over time. Even simple mechanical components like hinges and tires all suffer from friction and loading, depending or road conditions and usage. Going for a pit stop every 3,000 miles is recommended, but what if your car is used for long commutes AND towing heavy loads frequently? Three thousand miles may come sooner than you realize, and you were given a sedan, not a pickup truck. Maybe more frequent pit stops BEFORE a 3,000-mile tune-up can prevent alignment and friction issues from turning into something more serious in the future.

3. A car wash and vacuum can be pleasant from time to time. Maybe a little air freshener, too! Cleaning up and attending to some cosmetic work is a sign of good hygiene, and makes driving a little more comfortable. It’s the pride of ownership, and expression of gratitude for what you have.

4. Check the water level. You can overheat and really need a serious tow to the garage for some intervention if you ever get into this highly preventable situation. Check your water level!

5. Oil change. The sludge you accumulate from time on the road, time in smog-filled cities and times of driving in stop-and-go traffic stresses the combustion system and all moving parts. Regular oil changes detoxify your engine and give you more efficient operation of your machine. It may give you better fuel economy and longevity of your vehicle, too! Get the sludge out regularly!

6. Electronics and gauges accurately reporting status. The more accurate the central nervous system, the more precise feedback you get about how your car is performing. Sometimes you need someone else to observe how you drive in order to get strategic input for getting your classic car to perform in semi off-road situations on the weekends.

OK, I could go on and on about the car analogy. And in fairness, any analogy can be overly scrutinized and eventually become irrelevant. But I think you would agree that every car has inherent value regardless of its year, make, model or color. Each vehicle has a unique history and intended use by its owner, and that can change over time.

Likewise, every person has a body that is unique — the way it operates under stress, how quickly it recovers and what types of positive stimulus it responds best to. So treat your body with love and attention, and it will give you more pleasant experiences over time — unless you get into an accident!

Then, ouch! Hopefully you have a good mechanic and insurance policy!

Dr. Adrian Pujayana has been providing drug-free solutions for health and wellness to adults, athletes and youth since 2000 through his private practice at Family Chiropractic Center of South Pasadena, a place for strength training and nutrition based health care. For comments or questions, email him at