Steering Wheel Effort

My wife (43) has bad tendonitis in her elbows and driving is painful for her. We’ve noticed some cars are better than others in this respect. My question is, which cars are known for their light steering feel. It seems that the trend these days is for cars to give back some road feel. I seem to remember cars from the 60’s and 70’s requiring very little effort to steer if any. Any thoughts?

Your memory and your perception are both spot-on.

I’ve been helping a friend search for something that’s super easy to turn, like my old Fairlane was or my friend’s '76 Eldo is. They don’t make them like that anymore. The best we’ve found is probably the early to mid 2000 Civics.

Maybe your wife should test drive some cars that use electric power steering systems. These systems give light and even steering. Pontiac G5, G6 and Torrent, Chevy HHR, Cobalt, Malibu, Equinox, Saturn VUE and ION, Toyota RAV4 and Prius are all cars that electric power steering is available on. You’ll probably be able to score a really good deal on a Pontiac right about now…

I can’t think of anything modern. The last time I drove a car with setting that easy, it was a 1969 Dodge Dart. I wonder if there is a way to adjust the “variable assist” function to give more assistance in all conditions.

Electric power steering can be stiff, especially if the car pretends to be a sports car. Electric system is meant to save fuel as it doesn’t work constantly like a hydraulic pump.

Stay away from anything with a stiff ride and you’re generally ok.

Forgive me for getting off the car subject, but if indeed she suffers from tendonitis, find a physical therapist who can evaluate her and teaches “high load eccentric contraction” exercises to minimize the pain and aid healing. It is a long used exercise regiment used by weight trainers that really works and when properly instructed for therapy, is very safe. Many therapist don’t treat using it because it’s patient driven and requires fewer “billings” to your insurance companies and it’s medication free. Most tendonitis is derived during poor form in the eccentric contraction phase of muscle activity and must be rehabbed using same phase with proper technique. I repeat, it is a safe form of strength training which she must do to become pain free and helps all forms of tendonitis. Studies have 80 year olds using it with great success for osteoporosis. Please “google” this technique. This article in particular from BMJ “Time to abandon the “tendinitis” myth” helps understand what’s going on and how “not” to treat it.
Sorry for the off topic message.
It’s why many professional athletes seem to recover from many injuries earlier than you and I do. They get more appropriate therapy. This is one.
Hopefully, car driving will then not be an issue.

This may be a bigger issue than you realize. If she is having difficulty steering the car under normal circumstances, what will happen if she has to turn the wheel quickly like if she were try to avoid another car or an animal in the road?

Exactly…it’s an issue that should be resolved. Driving in pain is a problem for not only the driver but others on the road at the same time. We assume it’s already diagnosed as tendonitis and nothing more. Taking pain killers complicates the problem as well. That’s why my alternative suggestion. You need some unfettered arm strength to drive.