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Subaru Seats - Pain in my

Just purchased a great used 2005 Subaru Outback Wagon. Love it - except the seats cause pain and cramping in my lower back. I’ve never had back problems and have daily changed the seat position (electric controls). There must be a simple answer. Any suggestions? Thanks!

That's tough.   It certainly is no fun getting a car only to find out you don't fit it. Each of us have different needs when it comes to seats.  Maybe some sort of seat pad may help you.  I might suggest that changing the steering wheel around may help.  

Good Luck

Yes, changing the position of the steering wheel my help to some extent. And, I hope that you have tried adjusting the lumber support (located on the inboard side of the seat back).

If those measures don’t help, then you will need to get an orthopedic back cushion made for car seats. A Google search should point you in the right direction.

You have to remember that car seat comfort is a very individual thing. While I can’t drive a Honda Accord for more than 30 minutes without getting a back ache and sciatic pain, I can drive all day in my '02 Outback, in comfort. But, when I test-drove a 2008 Subaru Forester a few months ago, I could not bear those seats for more than a few minutes. Clearly, seat design varies not just by make, but also by the specific model line that a specific manufacturer markets.

The lumbar support seems to be the problem. Even when it is turned as far as possible to the null position it feels like it is fully engaged. It’s almost if I need a pad on the top of the seat to balance it out. I drove cross country in a Outback with leather seats and did not have the same problem that I do with this wagon with cloth ones. The interior support must be different. Thoughts?

The more upscale Outback models equipped with leather seats do have a better seat overall, as compared to the ones with cloth-covered seats. Both of my Outbacks ('97 and '02) have had leather seats, and I have found them to be very comfortable, even on long drives.

The 2008 Forester that I test-drove a few months ago had cloth-covered seats, and I had to terminate the test drive after only ~ 15 minutes due to intense back discomfort. These experiences are far from conclusive, but as with many other makes of cars, the more upscale models frequently do have better-quality seats, and that is not just in regard to the covering of the seats.

Similar problem with my older Subaru. I always felt that the seat cushion was too low in the back rolling the the hips underneath. For me, temp relief was any padding I could add to the seat to induce lordosis. But, there goes the head room…and egress became more difficult. The Forester with more upright seating was less of a problem. Good luck. May your back problems be behind you.

If there is a simple answer, I don’t know what it is. I know someone who had a similar problem. The real answer is to take it for an extended test drive (like over a weekend) to root out these issues before you buy. Sorry I can’t help you with your current situation.

Do you have a condition that you’re aware of that the seats are aggrevating?

I have degenerative Disc disease and in 2005 I bought a new Corolla only to discover that the seats were crippling for me. Despite trying numerous seat pads and other techniques, I ended up trading it after only two months. That mistake cost me $2500, but in truth trading it was necessary and defnitely the right move. I bought a tC and have been driving in comfort ever since.

Health comes first. Sometimes it may be necessary to write off a mistake as a health expense. Take the next one on a loooooooooong test drive.

Sorry, but having been there myself it’s the only suggestion I can come up with.

Sincere best.

Good advice before buying.