Love the car - Can't Stand the Seats! Back pain 2 day test drive.

Love the car - Can't Stand the Seats! Back pain 2 day test drive.

I currently drive a large American 4-door sedan but the Tesla caught my eye. Did lots of online research and yesterday went to the local dealership to check things out. Wow I was hooked. I was given a Model 3 for a 2 day test drive. I got the car for a 2 day test drive (because the dealership was closed on Sunday) and let's just say that this car is AMAZING! I love it. Most fun I've had driving a car in my life.

My current car has firm leather seats that are kinda flat in the back and a nice cushy suspension.

Well, after 2 days in the model 3 my back hurt so darn much I can't even get out of bed by day 2. I had the lumbar support off (as I do with my current car) and was laying into the seats. My spine and my upper back and shoulders are so darn sore I had to go in for a massage today. Even walking causes back pain. I even tried driving the car with one of my pillows behind my upper back and it didn't help at all.

The ride is also stiff and tight feeling, whereas my current car is soft.

I don't understand what's causing this but I can't drop $50k on a car that causes me to have sore back like this. Has anyone else had this issue before? Any suggestions? I love this car but I'm not going to be able to purchase it because of the sore back issue.

I sat in my own car today and I was like aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh that feels soooooo good it was like heaven sitting on those seats compared to the model 3.

eplaskett | 3 février 2019

I had some back pain initially. I found I was able to eliminate it entirely by elevating the thigh cushion (front half) all the way. We did a 1,300-mile trip over Christmas, spread over three different long driving days, and I never had any back pain issues the entire time.

jdcollins5 | 3 février 2019

Did you take the time to try different seat positions and lumbar support? I had some major mid-back issues about a year ago. It took me several tries to get the seat position right for me. For me it was getting the correct bottom seat position, then back seat position and then adjusting the lumbar support up to my most comfortable position.

I just completed a 900 mile RT from NC to FLA and love the seat support.

ssphadnis | 3 février 2019

I hope they did not give you an old car which had old seats. The new car comes with extra padding at the right places. In fact, the seats are the best I ever sat in any car (I have history of back pain too).

ODWms | 3 février 2019

Most comfortable seats I’ve ever had in any car, hands down.

spuzzz123 | 3 février 2019

Can’t get out of bed? Is this for real? Suspension is a little stiff as it is a real sports car but if you can’t get out of bed then there is something else going on with your back. I’m over 50 and have driven it on multiple 8 hour trips and I have zero back pain. Quite comfortable for me.

lilbean | 3 février 2019

I've got the old crappy seats and it's still comfortable.

Magic 8 Ball | 3 février 2019

Man that sucks. Maybe some Oxycontin, a blunt, and some whiskey will help with the pain. If you had a Model 3 EAP will help get you home and you won't notice any pain.

Hal Fisher | 3 février 2019

Bet we never hear from David again. Won’t even mention his old car by name, or how long he sat. I thought I was going to have an issue with the headrest but nope. This is one strange board.

CorkChop | 3 février 2019

I don’t understand this thread. I’ve never heard of a two day test drive or even a whole day. Is this a thing? I’m so skeptical that someone who didn’t buy the car would bother to write such a post.

CorkChop | 3 février 2019

Oh and by the way, there are no “dealerships” and the service centers are open 7 days a week. So many holes...

jim | 3 février 2019

@CorkChop. You beat me to it.... local dealership!?!?! Fee-fi-fo-fum I smell FUD.

Hal Fisher | 3 février 2019

We all know besides the fact they could handle more leg support, the seat have been redesigned.

Maybe, just maybe, he was buying a used one with the old seats. But no body gives a day long test drive that I know of unless tesla does?

Hausandr | 3 février 2019

I had a Sonata with leather seats before trading it in for my Model 3. I’ve never had back problems in it even when driving from New England to Kentucky or to Florida. When I got my Model 3 I found my lower back bothered me on trips only a couple hours long. I’m still trying to find the right seat position to get the same comfort level I had in my Sonata. I’m going to try what @eplaskett mentioned.

Yes, this board is strange when at times the majority of posts on a topic are pretty useless. And FYI, not ALL service centers are open 7 days a week. I also suspect some people call Tesla stores “dealerships” out of habit from the ICE world.
Gees, people...

Hal Fisher | 3 février 2019

I had to let all air out of both upper and lower lumbar, and I’ve never sat in it over 1.5 hours. But I get pain quickly due to an antibiotic screwing up my tendons. Still no issue for me other than thigh support, and im only 5’7”.

lilbean | 3 février 2019

Sorry to hear about the antiobiotic damaging your tendons. :(

Xerogas | 3 février 2019

@david: “I even tried driving the car with one of my pillows behind my upper back and it didn't help at all.”

Ummm, there’s your problem right there. Unless you’re Quasimodo, that arrangement completely reverses the way your spine is supposed to be supported. Why not use the lumbar support the way it’s supposed to be used?

CST | 3 février 2019

"I had the lumbar support off (as I do with my current car) and was laying into the seats."

You lost me right there...

kurtmetcalfe24 | 4 février 2019

Huh... everyone who sits in my car for the first time..
“Wow these are comfortable seats.”

ODWms | 4 février 2019

I’d imagine there are some people whom, when seated on even the most comfortable seat for most others, would still have a problem. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the seat. They just have back issues. No need to blame or malign the seat when the vast majority of owners have no issue.

CST | 4 février 2019

I think it is funny that the @OP makes it clear that he's messed up his back by using his seats "incorrectly" for years and now he's blaming good seats for making him uncomfortable.

Iwantmy3 | 4 février 2019

The seats are great. Probably the best I have had. It is the headrests that I found to be a pain in the neck (quite literally). That issue went away when I pulled them out and put them in backwards. Not ideal, but essential.

Mike83 | 4 février 2019

One of our 80+ year old passengers loved the seats as we do after thousands of miles. TEA score 95%

jimglas | 4 février 2019

Adjust your seat properly

Neomaxizoomdweebie | 4 février 2019

TM3 has the most comfortable car seats my wife and I have ever sat in. Team Tesla really kicked some butt in the comfort department.
This OP is clearly a $h!t stirrer, probably short on TSLA well in the red, hoping to save his trading account. Nice try, nitwit.

cmh95628 | 4 février 2019

@M8B re "Maybe some Oxycontin, a blunt, and some whiskey will help with the pain."
Are these official Tesla supplies/accessories? Link please....

david | 4 février 2019

@CorkChop Since you apparently know so much... my state has blue laws and all car dealerships (or whatever you call them) are required to be closed on Sundays if they have any new cars on the lot. The Tesla dealership in my city also offers you a 24 hour test drive. You have to pick the car up at 5pm the earliest and drop it off by 5pm the next day. If you pick it up on Saturday you can drop it off Monday as they are closed on Sundays.

Coastal Cruiser. | 4 février 2019

"The Tesla dealership in my city also offers you a 24 hour test drive"

Cool. Would you mind sharing what state you are in? I might mention that program to my local Tesla store.

BTW - you will get push back from some folks for using the term "dealership" as opposed to "store" because Tesla does not employ a traditional car dealership model. Tesla owns all of its outlets, and does not considers the outlets -stores- to be a profit center. Other people understand of course that folks new to Tesla may not know that.

andre | 4 février 2019

I developed some shoulder pain after driving my model 3 for the first while. Adjusting my seat a little higher fixed that for me. The height of the armrests was driving my shoulders up. Raised the seat a little and the problem went away.

andy.connor.e | 4 février 2019

You may experience slight discomfort as the seats and field of view from windows and mirrors are different from what you are used to. Just like how you eventually adjust to a new pair of shoes. Give it 2-3 weeks and then come back and share your experience.

lilbean | 4 février 2019

Strengthen your core and your quality of life will be so much better!

Tuning In | 4 février 2019

I appreciate people who design seats. To take on the task of creating seats for drivers ranging from 5' to 7' and from 100 lbs to 300 lbs, seems like an impossible task. If you can make a bucket seat that 99.9% of people feel like they're amazing, yet 0.1% find it uncomfortable and some to the point that they can't get out of bed, to me is a feat in itself. Or you can try to make 99.999999% happy and create bench-like seats which few enjoy, but 'it works' for all.

RedPillSucks | 4 février 2019

@david Did you have a discussion about your back pain issue with the people at the Tesla store?
They very well may have suggestions. Of course it would probably require an extended test drive (another 2 days).
If you can't get another test drive, perhaps hook up with a Tesla owner near you or check out Toro to see if they have any model 3s that you can drive for a couple of days to see if you can get the lumbar support adjusted to your needs.

ILoveMyModel3 | 4 février 2019

the seats are fully adjustable. play around with the lumbar setting until you find what works for you.

eztider | 4 février 2019

After 6000 miles in 14 weeks, love the car and love the seats! The difference is immediately obvious when I drive my wifes Honda SUV for Uber. I'm beginning to like them more than the new gen seats I had in my Model S.

eplaskett | 4 février 2019

@Hausandr and others who might want to try raising the front of the seat cushion to improve thigh support:

When I did this, I discovered that holding the switch that lifts the front of the cushion does raise it by a certain amount, then it stops. But if you release and then lift and hold it again, it raises it another 3/4 of an inch of so. That last bit actually makes quite a difference.

I hope this helps your comfort! Now that I have the settings dialed in properly, I actually find the seats extremely comfortable. They're not quite as good as those on my wife's Volvo, but they're pretty dang close.

jimglas | 4 février 2019

stop spamming up the blog

suddled | 4 février 2019

Amusee12 stop spamming your you tube link. If anyone cares they will find your high quality content I'm sure...

CST | 4 février 2019

@amusee12 - Flagged! Idiot!!!

gballant4570 | 4 février 2019

I've had plenty of lower back trouble in my life....I would say more than my share. But the Model 3 seats are great for my back pain and trouble history.

Hausandr | 4 février 2019

@eplaskett thanks, I didn’t know about that little switch trick. I’ll give it a try. I’m sure I’ll find the sweet spot eventually. The seats are just different than the Sonata’s that I’ve been used to for the last 6 years. :)

Baltfan | 5 février 2019

So many people on this thread are ridiculous. There are many people that don't use the lumbar support on their cars. Many of those people when they try to use lumbar support actually experience back pain. Just because lumbar support helps you doesn't mean that it is right for everyone.

One thing that is undeniable is that even when the lumbar support is not engaged, the lumbar area pushes out more on these seats than it does on many other cars. That causes some people to have pain. I, like many of those people, would prefer if the lumbar area could be completely flattened (it cannot since it isn't flat with the bladder empty) and then the bladders be used as necessary.

lilbean | 5 février 2019

Now I have to pee!

3teslafun | 5 février 2019

I just completed a 4800 mile western road trip. The driver seat was great, comfortable and made the trip stress free.
My only complaint was with the passenger headrest. It needs to be adjustable.. the passenger seat should be a sleeping seat on road trips.

kcheng | 5 février 2019

Car seats are designed for the average person's body type. That ensures that the vast majority of people will fit. Unfortunately, the OP must be an outlier. Most people who are outliers, already know it by now, since they've likely run into other cars with seats that don't seem to fit, and already know how to tweak seats to suit their preferences. It's silly for us to tell the OP how to adjust the seats, seeing as he already tested it for 2 days.

Not everyone is going to fit in the seats. Have you read all the people complaining about the narrowness of the Chevy Bolt seats?

CorkChop | 5 février 2019

@david Sorry but the only reason a non-owner trolls these forums with tales of two day dealship test drive only to tell us you won’t buy one because of the seats are FUDs.

rdovale | 5 février 2019

I'm the other way around. My work car and my work desk kill my back. As soon as I get in my 3 to drive home, the pain instantly subsides.

slingshot18 | 6 février 2019

I find the seats comfortable, but they're not awesome. One of the weaker points on my Model 3 (new seats). I prefer the S seats, or the stiffer German style seats, such as in my Audi S4.

Jcastillo18 | 6 février 2019

Haven’t been here in a while glad sarcasm is still around lol

jwzizz58 | 8 mars 2019

Assuming the poster is a troll is absurd.

I understand the vast majority love their M3 seat. But I've had mine since September, and since the first week getting the car, I've had pretty terrible upper back, shoulder and neck pain every time I drive the car. It got to the point that I convinced Tesla to swap out with a brand new seat assuming there must be a defect. Still no help. I'm now in PT for my shoulder. I've never had a single back or shoulder issue before purchasing the car (I'm 41).

There is something about the shape of the seat that causes my shoulders to shift forward and the thoracic region of my back and shoulder blades to become severely strained. It may be due to the fact that the lumbar area is still curved even when fully deflated as @Baltfan mentioned.

I love the car, but unfortunately can't drive it for more than 20 minutes before ending up in some terrible pain. Believe me when I say I've tried every possible driving position (1 full week at a time).

Seats are a personal thing. It's just something people should be aware of: Tesla seats can be torture devices for a minority of drivers. Its a fact, I'm living proof.

Would LOVE if anyone has any additional advice on an adjustment that might mitigate the problem.

lbowroom | 8 mars 2019

That is understandable. Although they seem to be by far the most comfortable and supportive seats for most of the population, there are inevitably outliers. For instance, I can't stand the S. I'm 6'6" and the headrest can't go high enough for the bottom of it not to poke me between the shoulder blades. The 3 is awesome though, never been more comfortable in a car.