Pain in the seat


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Steering You Right With Sharon Peters

Q: What makes and models of cars do you recommend that have a front passenger’s seat that can be adjusted sufficiently to ease the pain for those with lower back trouble? My wife and I have driven several cars where only the driver’s seat was adjusted by power positioning controls, but the passenger’s seat had only rudimentary adjustments.

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A: Oh my gosh — this is one of my pet peeves. Passengers deserve a little comfort, too. Most of us have a spouse or other person who spends a lot of hours in that seat, and yet car makers think the front-seat passenger should have to endure a bed-of-nails-level lack of comfort.

These days, quite a number of car makers give great attention to passenger seats. Most or all models from Audi, Volvo, Chrysler, Cadillac, Lincoln, Acura, Lexus, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz, to name a few, offer multi-height, multi-positioning power adjustments on the passenger’s seat. And yes, as you’re no doubt noting, there’s a definite high-end bias in that list. It’s a capability that costs the car maker a little more, so most of the mid-level or lower vehicles on the lots don’t offer this as standard equipment.

But many of the more modestly priced makes offer it as an upgrade option.

So I’d suggest that if there’s a make of vehicle that you especially like except for the seats, speak with the dealership to see if any models of that make have power seats available as an option or as part of an upgrade package.

By the way (and this will come as no surprise to many readers), car seats in general are so poorly designed in terms of height and adjustability that a term has been coined — by chiropractors, so far as I can tell — to identify a specific kind of pain that drivers and passengers often develop. It’s called “bucket-seat syndrome” and it’s caused, they say, by the fact that many bucket seats (those without height adjustment) force you to sit with your knees higher than your hips, throwing your body weight and your posture completely off kilter. This can, and regularly does, create sciatic nerve issues, neck and shoulder distress and lots of other problems.

© CTW Features
What’s your question? Sharon Peters would like to hear about what’s on your mind when it comes to caring for, driving and repairing your vehicle. Email


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