Human Body Shops

File photo dated 25/05/11 of a stethoscope around a person's neck as thousands of hospital deaths could be prevented if d
File photo dated 25/05/11 of a stethoscope around a person's neck as thousands of hospital deaths could be prevented if doctors and nurses used a standardised bed chart, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) said.

As a result of modern medicine, medical advances and public education, the average human life span has risen from age 45 in 1840 to 85 in 2000. Bruce J. Klein, director at the Immortality Institute in Alabama, questions whether we will find a cure for aging altogether, or if the human life span will peak at some natural limit. I believe I have a viable suggestion for ensuring that our bodies run smoothly, efficiently and with quality throughout our extended years. My plan will undoubtedly result in further raising that 2000 statistic.

Owner's manuals should be handed out in delivery rooms when babies are born; owner's manuals that list specific dates for body checkups.

The average person takes better care of his car than his body. One creak, one squeak and we haul our cars off to the shop. Why? Because we're prevention-oriented. We don't want a small problem to develop into a large one. And so it should be with our bodies.

Throughout the years we would be required to stop in at a 'human body shop' according to our owner's manual schedule. Up to the age of 30, little more than periodical lube jobs would be necessary, but on our 40th birthday we would be scheduled for a major tuneup -- a tuneup that may even require replacement parts. Our joints would be greased and our hoses inspected for leaks.

Fuel injection systems would also be examined throughout the years, but it's unlikely that they'll need cleaning at every tuneup. However, there will always be unscrupulous body shop mechanics who suggest that you have this procedure done routinely. That's only because doing so would turn a quick profit for them.

Our 50th birthday would be the time to have everything that's loose tightened, our valves cleaned and wires checked for shorts. This might be a good time to have sluggish starters inspected, with special attention paid to timing and speed. As we progress in age, often our heating and cooling systems go haywire, so some adjusting may be necessary in this area, also.

About this time, some of us may chose to have some elective work done on our exteriors, like dents and creases smoothed. We would have to decide on whether we want to pay a flat fee for a tuneup or if we'd rather have individual tests performed, such as an engine diagnostic.

Somewhere around our mid- to late-sixties, it would be advisable to have an emissions control test to avoid or cut back on embarrassing mishaps.

How will you know you've chosen a good body mechanic?

1. Ask trusted friends for recommendations and observe their results.
2. Make sure the mechanic you choose services your body type. Look around the shop to see what kinds of bodies are being worked on.
3. Call the Better Body Bureau (BBB) to find out if there are any complaints on file.
4. Carefully read the warranty on repair work before committing to having the work done. Six years is great; Four years is good; Five months is suspect.
5. Find out whether the warrantee covers both parts and labor.
6. Ask if you will be able to get a loaner body while yours is being worked on.

Important Tip: Don't wait until you need major repairs to find a good body mechanic. By bringing yourself into the shop for regularly scheduled tuneups you will be assured of getting better mileage from your body.

There will come a time when you will have to accept that your body has reached it's peak and is headed down the other side of the hill. No longer will it be able to compete with spiffy young models. But if you continue to care for it as you always have, it should reward you by getting you to your domino game at the Senior Facility, bingo at your church or the park bench for a game of checkers; all outstanding incentives for taking good care of your body throughout your life.