How Your Car Is Like Your Body

Natalie Josef
February 8, 2011

I don’t know about you, but I love analogies. Will any of us ever forget when Forrest Gump told us that “life is like a box of chocolates … you never know what you are going to get”? Probably not, because it captures the essence of life so perfectly.

Analogies and metaphors help us describe indescribable things. For those of us who have never even really looked under the hood of a car, much less know what to make of all of those mechanical parts, vehicle systems are nearly impossible to understand.

But what if I told you that your vehicle’s cooling system was like the body’s circulatory system?

If you have a fever, you don’t feel well, right? Well, in order to function properly, your vehicle’s engine needs to run at the right temperature, too. So if your engine is running too hot, a sensor goes off and coolant is released to cool the engine off. When you have a fever, a sensor goes off—our own thermostat, the hypothalamus—and then our body responds by sweating and other means of cooling off.

Makes a lot more sense, now, doesn’t it?

Audra Fordin, of, has come up with a brilliant way to understand a vehicle’s systems—she compares them to bodily systems. Check it out. I bet you’ll understand more about cars by the time you get to the bottom of the list.

The Skeletal System is like a Car Frame

The frame of your car is the skeletal system of your body and the key is flexibility. If an injured foot is causing you to limp, that compromises your ability to walk. The same holds true for your car’s body. If it’s out of alignment, the car’s ability to take a shock is compromised.

The Digestive System is like Fuel

Fuel/gas is like food for your body. Your body uses the food for energy. The engine breaks down the fuel to optimize it and run its body, the engine.

The Endocrine System is like a Car’s Computers

Computers in your car are like the endocrine system. Hormones are chemicals that control your body functions. Glands are comparable to the ECM, PCM, OBDII, transmission computer, window computer, and HVAC controls.

The Immune System is like the Gauges and Dash Lights

The gauges and dash lights in your car are like the immune system in your body. They let you know when your car needs a checkup.

The Lymphatic System is like the Speed Sensors, etc.

Sensors measure vehicle and engine speed and how your car is running. Like the lymphatic system, sensors help defend the body.

The Circulatory System is like the Cooling System

Like the cooling system of the car, if you have a fever, you’re not feeling well. In order to run properly, your car’s engine needs to be at the right temperature.

The Muscular System is like Engine Torque

Engine torque (strength) is similar to your legs pumping the pedals on a bicycle.

The Nervous System is like your Car’s Electrical System

The electrical system of your car is like the nervous system in your body. A pinched nerve in the body is like a broken wire in your car—it causes the system or vehicle to behave erratically and unpredictably.

The Respiratory System is like the Air Induction

The air induction of your car is like your respiratory system. If there is something wrong, your engine will have trouble taking in air, causing your car to choke, which is similar to an asthmatic gasping for air.

The Urinary System is like the Exhaust System

The exhaust system is like the urinary system of your body. If you cannot properly eliminate waste, you will become sick. Your car does the same job by safely removing waste from the exhaust system.

Want to study up more on your vehicle? Check out the RepairPal Encyclopedia

Natalie Josef

About the Author

Natalie Josef is an automotive expert at RepairPal, the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.

4 User Comments

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By , February 12, 2011
Hi Natalie, Thanks for posting!! I love it!! Audra
By , February 12, 2014
Thankyou, u helped me with homework
By , November 15, 2014
Gosh thanks. I was going crazy trying to find an anology comparing a car to the human body for my biology class. Thank you so much.
By , November 12, 2015
Ask her to answer this question. What is the heart of your engine?