How To Fix Uncomfortable Car Seats

Modifying my uncomfortable car seats to improve my long driving

Did you know that the car seats are designed with safety in mind and not comfort?

Many drivers, especially people who drive long distances every day suffer from excruciating back pain, all because of uncomfortable car seats.

Hence, it is important that your driving space is comfortable and accommodates you better for a healthier life in the long run.

Fortunately, most of the issues presented by the car seats nowadays can be corrected with a few adjustments.

  • The back of your car seat should be straight
  • Leave enough legroom
  • Set your car seat at the right height
  • Bring the steering wheels in front of you
  • Add lumbar support
  • Position the headrest to be inline with the center of your head
  • Memory foam car seat support

Not just older cars, even newer models have issues with their car seats. In the battle of safety vs comfort, safety wins but, in the long term, an uncomfortable seat can bring you even more issues related to posture and spine.

Luckily, you can either adjust your car seats for your comfort or purchase a car seat back support.

These 3 car seat cushions can help you drive comfortably below:

Ways To Make Your Car Seat More Comfortable

As long as you are not comfortable in your seat, you cannot expect a peaceful leisurely drive. In most cases, the issues with car seats are due to improper alignment. So, start with making a few adjustments suited to your physique.

Adjust The Height

Start with adjusting the height of the car seat. Even the most experienced of drivers wouldn’t know that the seat height causes most of your back problems.

It helps to boost your comfort and improve ergonomics.

Take the seats all the way down and then take it back up to the right position.

You should have a full view of the windshield and be able to see the road and the instruments clearly without having to hunch down.

If you are short, there are chances that you might still not be able to see properly even at the maximum height. In this case, you can use a wedge or a cushion to bring you up to level.

Adjust the height of the seat until your knees are in line with your hips. They should not touch the seat bottom as this is really bad for your knees and also blood circulation.

Make sure that there is a two-finger gap between the seat and the back of your knees.

Adjust The Back Of Your Car Seat

The next step is to adjust your posture, which, of course, is the root of all back issues. Many recline the seats to their comfort before driving and don’t consider the effects of driving for a long time.

It can either be too comfortable or too straight to sustain for a long time.

The best way to go about attaining an optimum angle is to start with the wrong position and correct it accordingly. So, recline the seat as much as possible.

As usual, your stance when driving the car should also be at a slight recline, maybe around 100%.

At this position, your back is straight yet comfortable. To get the seat to support your back, first, center your body and sit such that your shoulders stay behind the hips.

Then adjust the back of the seat to accommodate your posture. Ensure that your bottom is completely inside the seat and in the center.

Adjust The Tilt

Another important aspect but often ignored by most drivers is the seat tilt. The right angle plays a key role in not just comfort but also to provide optimum support to your back and legs.

Coming to the posture the car seat should offer full support to your bottom and thighs.

To do so, your seat should be slightly tilted, such that your thighs extend slightly beyond. This ensures that your knees aren’t crunched and thereby preventing injuries.

Have Enough Legroom

The next step in getting a comfortable seat in the car is to make sure you have plenty of legroom.

Almost all vehicles in recent years have a lever to adjust the legroom. While most of us know about it, are you using it to position yourself better?

While it may sound easy, there are few points you might have to consider, especially if you are driving for long periods of time.

  • Your legs should not be scrunched up
  • Your seat should support your thigh fully
  • Leave enough legroom to manage the pedals
  • Do not sit too far enough that you’d have to reach to access the pedals
  • Your knees should have a slight bend in them and should move freely

Following the above, your legs should be free and relaxed.

If your legs are scrunched up or locked tight, there are chances for decreased circulation, which in turn affects your concentration and attention when driving.

What’s worse, this also leads to serious health issues like deep vein thrombosis.

Push your car seat all the way back and pull it forward until your feet touch the pedals. They should still be comfortable when you press on the pedals, and your back should not move from its position.

Your knees should have a bend of about 20°-30° when relaxed and about 120° when the pedal is depressed.

The heels of the feet should be on the floor with the balls on the pedal. The right foot should be in a position to transition between the accelerator and brake easily.

Align The Steering Wheel

With the seat set in the right position, now is the time to adjust the steering wheel. While it is not a part of the seat, the wheel also plays an important aspect in your comfort.

Most cars these days have adjustable steering wheels, which are done with the push of a button or lever.

In short, you should be able to access the steering wheel without much effort at all. Sit comfortably in your seat with the back resting; now stretch your hands straight.

Ideally, your hands should be resting on the steering wheel with the wrists bend over in a relaxed manner. In this case, in the driving position, your hands would have a 120° bend.

In the above-mentioned position, the instruments on the dashboard should be visible without having to hunch over or look sideways.

Your grip on the wheel should be at 9’o clock and 3’o clock as in the clock face. Any adjustments you make should also allow you to maintain the position.

Add Lumbar Support

Lumbar support is another option provided by most cars to increase the comfort of the drivers.

They are adjustable in both height and depth. It should be positioned to fit the curvature of your back. And as such, adjust so that it rests on the lower back or at the beltline.

Deflate the lumbar support and sit with your back resting on the seat.

Now, inflate it again until it fills the curvature of your back. It should neither create an artificial curve nor leave a gap between the seat and your back.

If your car does not come with lumbar support, the best option is to roll a towel and place it in the curve for the time being.

But investing in a quality lumbar support cushion that adjusts to your back is worthwhile considering the support it offers you.

Adjust Your Headrest

Ideally speaking your car seat should reach your shoulders or lower depending on your height, but in most cases, this should be okay and not hurt you.

Beyond that, you have your headrest to support you.

The headrests are adjustable, both by height and also the position. Adjust it so that your head rests right at the center.

Now for the position, align your head such that your earlobe is in line with your collar bone. Bring the headrest forward until it meets your head.

Car Seat Support

If none of the above seems to work, why not add a car seat support?

This is the easiest and also a cost-effective method, especially coming to worn-out seats. It gives you the much-needed support and cushioning when it comes to seats that have seen better days.

They do not cost much and can work for years when handled with care. Add it to the car seat and make driving easy on your spine.

They can also be more versatile than your regular car seat; better yet, you can buy one that suits your body and your needs. You can use it in multiple cars and your office chair too for comfort.

There are quite a lot of designs and models available of which the memory foam and wedge type cushions have been famous till now.

Advanced pillows with extra lumbar support and heated seats are also available.

According to the experts from CarCareTotal, the best car seat cushion for long-distance driving is Everlasting Comfort Car Seat Cushion.

The small and portable cushion has a U-shaped ergonomic design, which is quite comfortable especially if you are on a long drive.

Fix Uncomfortable Car Seats With Ergonomic Cushions

A comfortable car seat can make the travel safe and secure, especially during long drives. It can help you to focus on driving and reduce the possibility of accidents.

If none of the above works for you, the best option is to choose ergonomic car seat cushions to provide you with additional support.

Seat Covers

Seat covers are by far the easiest options available. They are available in singles and also sets with built-in cushioning for the neck and lumbar area.

They come in a variety of colors, sizes, and designs and can give your car a new look too.

While they have the style element, they are designed purely for comfort and can relieve your aches and pains.

If you have a select set of needs, you can also opt for a custom-made cover for your needs. They include your choice of supports, including color, material, etc.

Thermal Heat Covers

While installing car seat covers, you might as well go for a heated one. It is useful if your car lacks heated seats and you are driving in cold weather.

The cushion plugs into the cigarette lighter socket for power and can make you feel warm and comfy during your drive.

Neck Supports

If you find that the headrest provided by the car doesn’t give you enough support you can opt for additional neck supports.

It is particularly useful for drivers who drive long distances as it can help reduce the strain on the shoulders.

Stand-Alone Cushions

Stand-alone cushions are famous ones from the lot since you can buy one depending on your need.

If you have lower back pain, you can buy lumbar support, neck support for neck pain, and so on. Cushions may be made from memory foam and also cotton in a few cases.

Related Questions

How To Identify The Best Car Seat For Long-Distance Driving?

If you are off to buy a new car, pay attention to your seat as much as you do with the engine and other technical specifications. Choose a modern cat that offers the below comforts:

  • Power-adjustable seats
  • Heated seats
  • Proper ventilation
  • Leather upholstery
  • Lumbar support

What Is A Bucket Seat Syndrome?

Bucket seat syndrome refers to the chronic lower back, stiff neck, and on and off shoulder pain that drivers often get due to wrong postures.

Wrong positioning of seats and uncomfortable car seats are the reason for this.

How Do You Choose A Good Car Cushion?

Car cushions should be chosen with their comfort in mind. Here are a few points to consider before buying one:

  • Ergonomic design
  • Good support
  • Long-lasting
  • Breathable fabrics with enough ventilation

Conclusion

Car seats are not designed with comfort in mind, but however, with all the modern adjustments, you can make it comfortable and ergonomic for you.

Try following the pointers given in the article to set the seat appropriately for your comfort.

If they do not work for you, car seat cushions are always an option. They can be stand-alone or seat covers. You can change the look of the car with the right car seat cover.

Whatever option you choose, make sure that it is personalized for you. Do not hesitate to buy a few until you find the one you are looking for.

Written by Yusuke Kohara

Hi there! My name is Yusuke. I write about automotive topics for Car Proper. I love cars and have a passion for writing helpful articles on tools, car accessories, and how-to to help my readers solve their problems. In my spare time, I'm either working out, reading the book, or spending time with my family. I also work for a digital consulting agency.

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