Joe Carbon is a former driving instructor and crew chief for the internationally renowned Skip Barber Racing School and current kart and motorcycle racer. His automotive repair company, “Good Old-Fashioned Auto Repair”, in Mooresville, North Carolina pairs his over 40+ years of automotive service and repair experience with well over 3 million miles of driving experience in all types of vehicles. Joe's insight from road and track will help you stay safe on your “road of life”.

Good Old Fashioned Auto Repair
Mane Alloy


I recently suffered from what is known as a “Spontaneous Pneumothorax” or “Collapsed Lung” in layman’s terms with no known underlying cause. Actually, I had it happen twice…in 2 weeks…which required surgery for a permanent fix (hopefully) with no further occurance.

I had a great doctor who came in the ER during my first hospital stint. What surprised me was when he explained what happened to me by comparing it to the mechanical components of an automotive engine, which I really related to. The comparison got me thinking just how true that concept is…The Human Engine!

When you think about it, the analogies make complete sense. Most engines today are operated by a computer, “their brain” so to speak. And what are the basics necessary for them to operate efficiently? Fuel, air and lubricants; the same as our bodies require in the form of food for fuel, oxygen, and water.

So, back to my story. Terri suggested that we do a Facebook post to make everyone aware of what was going on but put my own comical, automotive “spin” on the description. Here’s what I said:

“I popped a hole in my intake manifold while my engine was running and had to take it to the Car-bon doctors to get it plugged.” I found out later when I showed back up among my “networking life, my explanation actually raised more questions than answers so I’m trying again.

Below are pictures and diagrams of internal and external parts of some typical engines. The picture on the left shows a long rectangular box with 6 tubes flowing into the top of the engine. This part called an intake manifold takes in air and flows it through the tubes and down into each cylinder, just like the windpipes, in the picture of me below, feed air into the lungs. The air and the food and the fluids I eat and drink provide fuel to keep my engine running, just like air and gasoline combine together to feed the internals of the exploded view of the engine below to keep it running.

The “Car-bon” doctors plugged my intake manifold hole and got me back on my “road of life”.

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