Author Topic: Good cars for bad backs?  (Read 4242 times)

Exhale

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Good cars for bad backs?
« on: April 06, 2015, 09:09:46 PM »
My parents need a new car and are loving the MMM car suggestions. However, they also need a car with seating that will give good support to their back and hips. So, we're looking for a models of frugal and comfortable cars.

Info: Mom is 5' tall and does most of the driving (dad is 5' 5") so the car doesn't need to accommodate a tall person. They live in an area with paved roads and no crazy weather issues (plus they know to use snow tires, etc.). They drive very minimally on a regular basis, but enjoy to taking impromptu road trips to see family.

Recommendations? Caveats? Thanks!


etselec

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Re: Good cars for bad backs?
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2015, 11:16:38 PM »
Ergonomics are so personal - there aren't necessarily "good" or "bad" setups but it's more how the setup matches up with your body. Personally, I'd test drive a number of cars in my price/reliability/mpg range and see which felt the most comfortable. Keep in mind they can also use extra back/seat cushions to correct some elements of a poor fit.

jo552006

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Re: Good cars for bad backs?
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2015, 08:45:31 AM »
You said new, but I am making the assumption you meant "new to them" car.  While I agree that ergonomics are personal, if you're looking for a place to start, you can try test driving the car we just got for my wife (who has 2 herniated discs in her lower back).  We got a 2005 Honda civic with no issues, almost no rust, and 46,000 miles. We paid $7,500.  I wouldn't go newer than 2005 for a civic as there were some engine issues starting with the 2006 models for a few years, and we won't spend the money for a recent model.  I also wouldn't get one with more than 120k miles, or a ton of rust.  (As those are just precursors to issues)

Civics are known to be fairly reliable, and it's probably one of the most comfortable vehicles she's ever driven.  It also gets ~34mpg, which you could probably do better on simply by driving more conservatively than she does.  If you get one with minimal rust and low miles it's going to cost a little bit, but the total ownership cost of civics is lower than a lot of other vehicles.  Just last month I read a consumer reports article that put civics at #2 (I think) for cheapest lifetime ownership cost.  If our current experience holds up I'd say we have found the sweet spot for vehicles (for her)... cost effective, not requiring much maintenance, reliable, comfortable, and easy to work on (which I haven't had to yet).

I don't know that this is a MMM recommended vehicle, but I am assuming your parents are going to drive more places than MMM himself does, which means maintenance items, especially ones that are mileage related vice age related, will be a higher factor for them than for him.  This is just one idea, and may not be right for their situation, but it worked out well for us.

robbyho

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Re: Good cars for bad backs?
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2015, 08:53:45 AM »
I would suggest you go to a carmax and walk around the lot with them testing the seats. Nice place to start looking cause they have so many cars.

I would think if their issues are so bad that I would consider buying the car based on cost/reliability/efficiency and then consider replacing the seat.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Good cars for bad backs?
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2015, 09:03:44 AM »
Some folks with physical issues have trouble getting in and out of low cars and prefer something taller.  A smaller SUV with decent MPG like a Honda CRV may be worth a look.  There are also tons of pads and cushions available that may make them more comfortable, but it may take several to find the right one.   

boarder42

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Re: Good cars for bad backs?
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2015, 09:10:00 AM »
If they are going small SUV nothing beats the MPG of the Ford escape hybrid. i pull 40 easily in that car. 45 if i try really hard.

Lis

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Re: Good cars for bad backs?
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2015, 09:22:05 AM »
5'0 shorty with hip and lower back aches here.

I purchased a seat cushion at BB&B for my work desk chair and drag it out to my car for long car rides. It also gives a nice boost, definitely a help for us short folks. I got this: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/forever-comfy-trade-seat-cushion/1040791692?Keyword=seat+cushion and honestly it's been a life saver.

A coworker's chiropractor recommended a thin, long, hard book (think old school children's books). Her pain is from an old injury (I don't exactly remember what the problem is).

Getting something else to sit on might be a better solution - now you can focus on getting the deal on a good car!

Exhale

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Re: Good cars for bad backs?
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2015, 07:28:45 PM »
We got a 2005 Honda civic with no issues, almost no rust, and 46,000 miles. We paid $7,500.  I wouldn't go newer than 2005 for a civic as there were some engine issues starting with the 2006 models for a few years, and we won't spend the money for a recent model.  I also wouldn't get one with more than 120k miles, or a ton of rust.  (As those are just precursors to issues)...This is just one idea, and may not be right for their situation, but it worked out well for us.

Thank you - this is super helpful!

5'0 shorty with hip and lower back aches here. I purchased a seat cushion at BB&B for my work desk chair and drag it out to my car for long car rides. It also gives a nice boost, definitely a help for us short folks. I got this: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/forever-comfy-trade-seat-cushion/1040791692?Keyword=seat+cushion and honestly it's been a life saver. Getting something else to sit on might be a better solution - now you can focus on getting the deal on a good car!

I hadn't even thought of suggesting this to them - will do so tonight. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

Exhale

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Re: Good cars for bad backs?
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2015, 07:29:56 PM »
Some folks with physical issues have trouble getting in and out of low cars and prefer something taller.  A smaller SUV with decent MPG like a Honda CRV may be worth a look.  There are also tons of pads and cushions available that may make them more comfortable, but it may take several to find the right one.

Thanks So Close! They need a lower car, but the cushion/pad idea is, I think, the right way to go.