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Heavy Weight Passenger

Hello! i have a 2001 Hondo Accord V6 which is in very good condition and it has 150k miles on it. My concern is that a friend of mine is coming to stay with me for 10 days and i will be driving him every where. i weight 120 lbs and he weighs 290 lbs- more than twice my weight.
i am concerned that the heavy weight on passenger side will make steering of the car difficult and hard to control. Should i rent a small SUV for those 10 days to protect me and my car? he cannot drive so i can’t have him drive my car and be a passenger myself.

Looking for advice on how to proceed. thanks, J.

I wouldn’t be concerned, cars are built to handle that type of load without problem. If something does seem wrong, that would make me think there’s something worn in your suspension. But I’d be very surprised if there was an issue.

The first step is to check the inflation pressure in your tires.
Make sure that the tires are inflated to AT LEAST the same pressure that is listed on the placard affixed to the driver’s door jamb. And, inflating the tires to 2 or 3 lbs over that pressure is actually a good idea. DO NOT inflate the tires to the pressure listed on the sidewall of the tires.

All of that being said, you probably will notice a slight “pulling” effect (toward the right) on the steering wheel. Just be aware of this likelihood, and compensate for it, and you will probably be fine.

That’s not really so heavy.
We had a customer who, at 400+ lbs, had to be in his driver’s seat for us to align the car correctly.

+1 for all the above comments. Over a long time span…290 lbs will affect the handling of the vehicle but you have no worry for just 10 days. That may be something you may have to worry about if you ever pilot a small plane…but not a 4-wheeled vehicle.

So, there will be 170 lbs difference between sides. That is the same as a 170 lbs driver with no passenger. That is a pretty usual situation with no steering problems.

No problem. But I agree with the suggestion to check your tire pressures. You should do that periodically anyway.

I had an early 60’s Ford Galaxy years ago that would be noticeably affected if somebody heavy sat in it. The whole car would lean and the steering would pull in that direction. It was still drivable, but I had to be a little more careful going around corners and constantly adjusting the steering wheel to make sure I was going in a straight line. I’d guess your car’s modern suspension should handle this much better than that old Ford did. If concerned, go slow at first, stay on low speed roads, test things out, listen for unusual noises, steering problems. I’d guess the most you will notice is maybe some slight pulling to the right, presuming he’s in the front passenger street. As mentioned above, this might be a good time to get all the tires inflated to their recommended pressure.

I will say that you will definitely notice it in the way your car accelerates, brakes, and probably steers as well. You won’t need to rent an SUV–it will feel like you’re driving one though. Another concern is whether this person will be able to fit in the passenger seat and get in/out of your car.

I agree that just adding some tire pressure for heavier loads should do the trick. Also, , let your friend do some of the driving if it’s that big a fear. Best way of looking at it …is @DavidL is right that you should remember that even though you only weigh 120 lbs, there is really only 170 lbs of imbalance to the right side. We had a post some time back where the passenger was over 400 lbs. That I believe starts to cause problems over time. But, 290 is absolutely no problem if tire pressures are up. Besides, it adds weight to the front wheels which helps fwd starting off. But, you should be even more aware of potholes when carrying any extra weight and keep speeds lower when you are.

As someone who weighs that, AND a former Honda owner(Civic, not Accord), the biggest problem will be them climbing out and falling into the seat of the car. It’s why I switched to a small crossover for my personal vehicle, butt height seating is really nice.

Don’t worry about it. Just think of it as two 150# people! one in the front and one in the passenger side back.

OP said, “…he cannot drive…”

As I’ve seen in the past with any heavy person who ‘‘PLOPS’’ down on the seat…( any seat even the couch at home )…
It’s the SEAT that wears out first.
You temporary passenger shouldn’t do that but a long term user should be concerned about seat height for that reason.

…and if the car in question was a VW, the OP would likely have to worry about long-term seat wear & tear. The only instance I have ever seen of upholstery literally wearing out w/in ~3 years was on a VW Golf that was driven by a very tall, very heavy guy.

So…be glad that this heavyweight will only be a passenger for a short period of time, and also be glad that you aren’t driving a VW.

I had a colleague that weighed well over 400 pounds. He was enormous. His car wouldn’t start one day, so I went after him in my Rambler. He had the seat track mounted further back in his car so he could drive comfortably. I had a 1971 Ford Maverick at the time and it was a tight squeeze for him to get into the passenger’s side of the front seat.

When I was a kid, there was a truly morbidly obese man who drove around town in his '57 Plymouth while sitting sideways in the driver’s seat, with his back to the door. Apparently his belly was so huge that he couldn’t fit behind the steering wheel if he sat in a conventional manner. What puzzled me at the time was…How does he apply sufficient pressure to the brake pedal if he is sitting this way?

Apparently the local cops were aware of this situation, but there are probably no laws specifying exactly how you have to sit in your car, so I think that they were powerless to do anything.

Incidentally, his car listed to the left so much that it was probably very difficult for him to make right-hand turns.

Thank you all for your very helpful comments. i know what to watch out for now and be careful when driving…the problem of him falling into the seat is still there. Since he is here for 10 days will try with my little Honda Accord for couple days and if it is too hard for him to get and in or too seat is not comfortable then can rent a small SUV for the remaining trip. Thanks again. J

Bscar2 - which vehicle did you switch to? my friend is 6’-1" so height may be an issue as well. Thanks.

my friend is 6'-1" so height may be an issue as well

6’1 is not that tall. I’m 6’3 and haven’t found a car I can’t fit into easily. When you get to 6’5 or greater then it becomes an issue. 6’1 is about average height these days.