drivers seat is a pain in the butt!!

drivers seat is a pain in the butt!!

I know there is an old post similar to this but thought id start a new one too see if anyone else has had this issue.

I purchased my new model 3 six weeks ago, ten min. in to my hour drive home i started to get a pain like i was sitting on my wallet, by the time i got home i could hardly walk!! Since then i have been in crazy pain, I have pain from my butt all the way to my knee and my calf muscles feel like they are going to rip out of my leg and my foot has gone numb as well as lower back pain. I have never had back issues at all EVER. Doctor thinks i have a herniated disc so i have been going to physio for a few weeks and still in pain. the only thing that helps is if i take a few days off of driving the car then the pain starts to subside.

I have tried every seat cushion in the world and adjusted the seat a million times over. (YES I HAVE ADJUSTED THE LUMBAR)

has anyone experienced this? if so have they found a fix?? any aftermarket seats available? short of getting rid of the car i dont know what to do.. HELP

CharleyBC | 23. August 2019

Wow. I think backs are very individual things. A year and a half ago, I suffered a miserable back injury--months before getting our Model 3 in July 2018. Standing was hell. Lying down was good. Sitting was mixed, depending on the seat. Here's where my story is the opposite of yours. Once we got the Model 3, I quickly discovered that the single best place to sit was in either front seat. It was beyond comfortable and into what felt therapeutic. Seriously--it felt GOOD to sit there. Better than my desk chair, sofa, dining chair, etc.

So, again, every back and back pain story is different. I wonder whether an ergonomic specialist or even your physical therapist might be able to evaluate the relationship between you and your seat, and make a recommendation.

Good luck. Back pain is zero fun.

007bond | 23. August 2019

Past back issues and no issues with the M3 seats among the best most comfortable seat I have experienced.

Have done several long trips driving all day and then all day the next day and no issues at all very comfortable.

If you know about good shoes you know about shoe lasts. I think seats are no different as they fit different people differently if you cannot find an adjustment that works then just like the shoe last the seat may not be for you.

M3phan | 23. August 2019

That stinks, sorry to hear that. Since you’ve tried a bunch ignored seat positions seems like you needn’t to find a good seat cushion. But that it pretty personalized too. Wish I could help.

M3phan | 23. August 2019

Ignored= Of different
Needn’t= need

TrexTesla | 24. August 2019

I have back issues, one hip replaced, and the other right behind it. The M3 seats feel good to me. From experience, adding softer cushions makes it worse. My best seats have been BMWs 21 way adjustable seats. Pretty hard seats. So, I would recommend finding something harder to sit on vice a cushion (e.g., the seat cover with the balls in it that massage your back). Another useful tip I received once for long trips is to set a few different seating positions for yourself and when you are on long trips, cycle through them periodically so you are not sitting in the same position all the time. I find this very useful in the M3.

vincelorto | 24. August 2019

It sounds like you're pinching something ( like a nerve) while you're sitting. Most complaints are about the headrest and that's for usually shorter people. Have you tried changing the seating angles? reclining , adjusting the front angle of the seat, raising/lowering the seat, every possible combination? Your issue seems isolated to you.


casun | 24. August 2019

i have back issues too. i think the model 3 seats are very comfortable.

Bighorn | 24. August 2019

Gen 1 seats in the Model S are quite hard. Model 3 is cloud-like in comparison. Very comfortable.

EVRider | 24. August 2019

Any chance you WERE sitting on your wallet? (Sorry.)

bpatter123 | 24. August 2019

at your next phisio visit, have him/her go to your car with you and adjust the seat position. sometimes it's simple. also, if you are over 6' the seat cushion may be a bit short for your thigh length

triton3 | 24. August 2019

@scotilac1, when I purchased my M3 a few months back, I had severe back problems as well (seemed to be the kind you get from pinched nerves); never had severe back issues before then. FYI, my drive is +80 miles a day and have been doing that long before I got the M3). Everywhere I read, people said the M3 seats were very comfortable. I tried all sorts of angles and positions and lumbar settings, nothing worked.

Eventually after more than a month (yes a month!) of fidgeting what seemed to work best for me was to push my back tight against the rear of the seat (no slumping, even a little bit)! A few tweaks to the seat settings after that, saved to my driver profile and have never touched the seat settings ever after. | 24. August 2019

Side story - I needed a good desk chair and price was not a significant consideration. Tried at least 50 chairs - most with tons of adjustments and none felt all that good. Ended up with one that had only two adjustments and it felt perfect. I've now had the chair for 8+ years and still the best desk chair I've ever used. Sometimes having a ton of adjustments is worse than a good design from the start!

KAM6 | 24. August 2019

This is my father's wisdom so obviously it may only apply to him but he believed in having the front of the seat raised and the back (of the seat, not back support) lowered. I don't know how that helped his back but he swore by it.

slingshot18 | 24. August 2019

It sure how you can blame the car for a herniated disc.

slingshot18 | 24. August 2019

I mean not sure.

jim | 24. August 2019

@scotilac1 Have you tried sitting in someone else's M3 to see if it's as uncomfortable as yours?
I seem to remember at least one thread from 6 months or so ago where someone complained abut the seat being uncomfortable, and it turned out there was a problem with the seat.

rmstrzala | 24. August 2019

I love the seats in our Model 3 Much better than out Caddi SRX that we sold for the 3

Lonestar10_1999 | 24. August 2019

@kamitchell - your father’s wisdom applies to toilet seats and healthy bowel movements, but I fail to see how this could improve the comfort of the M3 seat.

Bighorn | 24. August 2019

So no squatty potty required in the car?

scotilac1 | 24. August 2019

@jim I haven’t but maybe I’ll book a test ride and see. My wife and a few of my friends have driven it without any issues. I feel I’m doomed.

scotilac1 | 24. August 2019

@triton3 well this gives me some hope. I’ll try what you did and stick it out. The longest I’ve made it is driving it for a week straight but then need to spend the weekend in bed as I’m in so much pain. Maybe I’ll try and push through it.

Magic 8 Ball | 25. August 2019

I have suffered from back pain for years (annular tear on lower disc). The Model 3 has the most comfortable seats of any car I have owned and since using the M3 my pain is mostly gone.

eplaskett | 25. August 2019

Raise the front of the thigh cushion as much as possible. In my car, when I hold the switch to raise it, it eventually stops, as if it has reached the end of its travel, but if I release and then hold the switch a second time, the cushion will rise another 1-2 inches. Extra thigh support will take the pressure off of your back and tailbone.

jjgunn | 25. August 2019
Vsanva | 25. August 2019

You are not alone ,
13k miles in and I still get pain and sometimes numbness in my pedal leg.

All this and I’ve done 20+ hrs to LA trip and a 6 hr to Idaho.... I’m still here and driving. I just tried the Tempurpedic lumbar travel pillow and still no help.

Poster above may be right that one needs to sit back against the seat no slouching. There may just be a few of us who need to do this, based on so many loving the seats. I’m dealing with it for now , hoping to find that sweet spot.

jim | 25. August 2019

@scotilac1. You are not doomed, it's just a challenge :)

If it turns out there is nothing wrong with your seat, and you can't find any setting that are comfortable, you could throw some money at the problem at get these:

1scallawag | 25. August 2019

I bought a M3P in Aug 2018. I have driven it to FL from VA 3 times to PA once and several trips to NC. One reason I bought a second M3P in July 2019 is the seats are the most comfortable (for me and wife) we have ever had in a car for road trips. I have had a lot of cars. Not saying they are not a pain for some but some of us love them.
BTW: Wanted 2nd M3P because wife basically commandeered the first one. She would not drive the 2017 C43 AMG that has been traded in for the 2nd Tesla. Lincoln was traded for first M3P. We are not coming from economy cars.

aaron85 | 25. August 2019

I have experienced back issues not coz of model 3 seats, i feel they were one of the best seats ergonomically made where i would feel comfort if i had back pain.

Keelandb | 25. August 2019

We have had our M3 for 3 months. I also have done a lot of adjusting of the seat. The car rides like a pickup and the seats are uncomfortable. Our longest trip was home to Houston Texas. About 242 miles. The ride was uncomfortable but doable. Our Dodge RAM pickup is more comfortable. Everything else about the car we love, even though it is the standard range batteries.

aaron85 | 25. August 2019


Try this out, perhaps it helps !!

ComfiLife Gel Enhanced Seat Cushion - Non-Slip Orthopedic Gel & Memory Foam C... via @amazon

jjgunn | 25. August 2019

I bought this for ultra long trips


Haven't really needed it so far (my buddy beaver did) but it works really well

bjrosen | 26. August 2019

We've been struggling with this since I bought my M3 last month. My wife is short and has severe back problems and she's suffering in the Model 3's seat. The biggest problem is the headrest. I've bought several neck pillows and we've finally found one that helps after we modified it to hang lower. We've also tried a number of cushions, none of them were any good, the major issue being that they are all shorter than the seat even though they are sold as car seat cushions. The thing that has worked best is upholstery foam that we bought off of Amazon

We were able to cut it to size and then she fashioned a cover for it out of an old towel.

dsvick | 26. August 2019

Assuming that there isn't anything wrong with your seat, sometimes a person and a car just aren't compatible. It isn't your fault or the cars, it is what it is. Yes, try someone elses to see if you can eliminate a bad seat as the issue, but then it might just be time to move on to a different car.

scotilac1 | 26. August 2019

@dsvick as much as id like to be able to just move on to another car I'm not prepared to lose a ton of money on a car that has 1500km on it.

scotilac1 | 16. September 2019

I have purchased a model 3 seat off of ebay. i have a guy who is going to re do the foam to fit me better then swap the seats. I heard someone mention that you need to disconnect both batteries to do this? anyone know if that's true? | 16. September 2019

@scotilac1 - The only concern I can think of with swapping the seats is the airbag within the side of the seat. You wouldn't want it to go off while working on it! I'm sure there is a safe way to do this, but you might ask Tesla service on the proper procedure for seat removal. Once the seat is electrically disconnected, there should not be any risks.

andy.connor.e | 16. September 2019

Its a Thomas Paine in the butt

andy | 16. September 2019

@scotilac1 has the physio given you advice on what to do between sessions?

On something like this I’d go with professional advice rather than what you can get from an Internet forum.

scotilac1 | 16. September 2019

@andy i have stretches that i am doing and some core exercises. seem to feeling a little better... i have been driving it to work and back the last 3 weeks.

scotilac1 | 16. September 2019 its just the bottom seat cushion i am replacing so maybe ill be able to just remove that without pulling out the whole seat?

andy | 16. September 2019

@scotilac1 sounds familiar. Takes a while. Have been down the same path following a long drive in an ICE, but the Model 3 helps a lot. I vary my seat height and lumbar support and make sure that I stop regularly and move around and stretch.

I find cycling helpful, but cyclists can also tighten their hamstrings so the right stretches have to be mixed in. Physio should be able to recommend what activities would work for you and any that could make things worse.

gballant4570 | 16. September 2019

Both my wife and I have had our share or more of back problems over the years. We both find our Model 3 seats to be the best car seats we have ever had, and the ride is the best of any car we've had. And we have had MANY.......

SolArray | 17. September 2019

Over a year in my Model 3 and sensitive back. Yes, it has taken a lot of adjustments to find the best settings for my back and varying it occasionally seems to help.
Tips from my experience:
- Do your best adjustments and Save Profile
- Consider creating another profile (e.g. BackTest) just to experiment with
- When driving make minor change... (don't save)
and after a few minutes... if not better.. make another change and in dialog chose "Revert"
It returns to your last saved setting.

For me... my back has been much happier since raising the basic seat height quite a bit
(which is changing the angle of hip/knee) and sitting quite straight.
As others said - very individual and work working on... might last you 300k miles.
Good Luck

scotilac1 | 17. September 2019

@SolArray You are 100% correct and this exactly what i have been doing. the higher the seat position has caused way less pain. the only problem eith the higher seat is that im now looking at the bar above the windshield so im leanning down to see stop lights and what not and its causing neck pain. haha. i just cant win. the pain in my neck is a heck of a lot better then the back pain and leg pain though. I am constantly making small changes in the seat.. i think im getting close.. i hope

ufshana | 07. Dezember 2019

@1scallawag do you miss the C43 at all?

ubpeters | 27. Januar 2020

Hi @Scotilac1, I just read through this entire post because I have experienced similar waist pain with my Model S and I have been desperately searching for a solution.

I am only 2.5 months into owning the Model S and I have made all kinds of adjustments I can think of to the car seat, all to no avail. I even tried various seat cushions that I bought online, but they haven't helped.

Just like you, the only thing that seems to bring some relief is taking a few days off without driving the car. My daily commute to and from work is about 60 miles (about 2 hours, if there's much traffic) but I noticed that the waist pain returns even on weekends that I drive only about 15-30 miles. At this point, I don't know what else to do.

Everyone here seems to swear by the Model 3 seats, so I am wondering if there's a way I could retrofit the Model 3 seat to my Model S. I have never had any issues with car seats, and I have never had back or waist pain. My Chrysler 300C seats are so much more comfortable, and I'm thinking perhaps this Model S is causing this waist pain because the car is too compact for a tall man like myself, and I don't have as much room to move my long legs around as I did in my other cars (my height is 6"2).

I wonder if anyone can comment on how comfortable the Model X car seat is because I am seriously considering trading this Model S in to get the Model X. Please share any suggestions you have with me. Many thanks!

Scrannel | 28. Januar 2020

My Evoque had great seats, but I would often get hand cramps. In the end I believe it was the steering wheel, either the angle I used or the rock-hard wheel itself. Has not happened once on my M3P.

ubpeters | 18. Februar 2020

I'd like to leave this update here in case someone else is struggling to adjust their Model S driver's car seat to eliminate the pain I described above in my post from January 27. I finally found the correct way to adjust the driver's seat. I have tested this new seat position for more than 2 weeks now. The waist pain I endured for weeks is completely gone!

The adjustment I made was to raise the front portion of the seat (i.e the front angle of the seat that provides support to the thighs) to its highest level. I also raised the rear portion of the seat to its highest level. I then adjusted the backrest to ensure that I seat erect always (no slouching or slumping, as suggested above by @triton3 and @vsanva).

This setting completely eliminated the pain I was suffering, and I have now been pain-free for weeks!