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Discussion Starter #1
After a couple of months of driving my 17 on my daily 1 hour commute in chicago my ribs began feeling like i had gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson. I have never had this problem with a car and suspected the cloth seats. The pain had become so bad that I worried about long distance driving which I will have to do this summer. My fears were confirmed by a post I read on the first Gen forum where an owner solved a similar issue with his volt by improvising a clever cushion install that he taped on the top of the seat in front of the headrest. I tried the same thing and lo and behold the pain in my ribs almost totally disappeared. The problem is that the pain has now migrated to my upper right back and neck. It's not as bad but not tolerable for long. So now I have a bunch of questions: Do I need to replace the cloth with leather seats? Should I purchase aftermarket seats (there seem to be a large variety for sale on the internet that claim to fit my volt)? Should I just go to an upholstery shop? Can my dealer help me? etc, etc... Has anyone gone through this with a 17? I would love to have this fixed before the summer driving season.
 

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I assume you're referring to either skeletal or muscle type pain, rather than skin chafing. If so, I think you need to change the contour of the seat - not just the fabric covering the seat.

Perhaps one of the aftermarket full-seat cushions would suffice - the kind taxi cab and other professional drivers sometimes use?
 

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After a couple of months of driving my 17 on my daily 1 hour commute in chicago my ribs began feeling like i had gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson. I have never had this problem with a car and suspected the cloth seats. The pain had become so bad that I worried about long distance driving which I will have to do this summer. My fears were confirmed by a post I read on the first Gen forum where an owner solved a similar issue with his volt by improvising a clever cushion install that he taped on the top of the seat in front of the headrest. I tried the same thing and lo and behold the pain in my ribs almost totally disappeared. The problem is that the pain has now migrated to my upper right back and neck. It's not as bad but not tolerable for long. So now I have a bunch of questions: Do I need to replace the cloth with leather seats? Should I purchase aftermarket seats (there seem to be a large variety for sale on the internet that claim to fit my volt)? Should I just go to an upholstery shop? Can my dealer help me? etc, etc... Has anyone gone through this with a 17? I would love to have this fixed before the summer driving season.
You might want to try what I use. It is simply called the "backbone cushion" and is sold on Amazon by the Company "Backbone Cushion" and is sold under back pain relief. You attach it to your seat and it pushes you out about a full inch from the seat. It also forces you to have better posture and not slouch. It is actually quiet comfortable.
 

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Be very careful with aftermarket seat that claim to fit the Volt. Yes they will "fit". However, most aftermarket seats I am aware do not have the proper airbag sensors requiring either you disable the driver side airbags or you come up with an alternative, non of which have I ever seen, likely because of liability issues. You could probably buy an ELR seat (or other GM seat that works for you) that would fit and have all the required stuff but it will cost you.
 

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The Purple Seat Cushion is a little pricey, but worth its weight in gold. Watch the videos for the cushion, beds, and especially the mattress frame. How can you go wrong with sumo wrestlers and kittens?

https://onpurple.com/seatcushions

My wife's lower back pain has improved dramatically with this seat cushion. She also added a lumbar Support pillow from Oriely's auto parts to complete the set. She even took them onto an airline today.
 

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Be very careful with aftermarket seat that claim to fit the Volt. Yes they will "fit". However, most aftermarket seats I am aware do not have the proper airbag sensors requiring either you disable the driver side airbags or you come up with an alternative, non of which have I ever seen, likely because of liability issues. You could probably buy an ELR seat (or other GM seat that works for you) that would fit and have all the required stuff but it will cost you.
Drivers seats do not have the sensors in them, the passenger seats do.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok, thank you for all of the advise. I have just ordered from amazon two backbone support cushions and a headrest for about $100 for all three. I'll try them out and return the ones that I don't need. I read in the review section for the backbone cushions that several persons including a chevy cruze owner had good luck with them. Here's hoping that the solution is just a good cushion and I won't have to get into installing an ELR seat. Although I saw one driving by the other day and it was spectacular. Maybe getting the ELR seat would be nice. i can tell my wife that I have a perfect excuse. Thanks again!
 

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Ok, thank you for all of the advise. I have just ordered from amazon two backbone support cushions and a headrest for about $100 for all three. I'll try them out and return the ones that I don't need. I read in the review section for the backbone cushions that several persons including a chevy cruze owner had good luck with them. Here's hoping that the solution is just a good cushion and I won't have to get into installing an ELR seat. Although I saw one driving by the other day and it was spectacular. Maybe getting the ELR seat would be nice. i can tell my wife that I have a perfect excuse. Thanks again!
Cadillacs have power seats that go up and down, tilt, and gives you nearly infinite configurations. In fact after buying a pair of beautyrest power bases and a pair of twin XL Purple mattresses, my wife and I have the same infinitely articulating beds that also really helped her back. So far, I've been able to sleep on anything, but I'm sold on this hyperelestic polymer.
 

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Maybe getting the ELR seat would be nice. i can tell my wife that I have a perfect excuse. Thanks again!
A bunch of people have been interested but I haven't seen anything reported...The seat brackets need to fit the Volt's floor pattern, hopefully the wiring harness is the same although high odds you'll still need to send a hot and ground for the actual power...It would appear since the ELR is on its own platform which is most likely closer related to the Gen1 Volt vs the Gen2 Volt...ELR does have a cool vibrate to alert function but you need the other goodies to get that working which most likely won't be easy...

Best case scenario, you could find a power seat bracket for a 2017 Cruze and that it fits on the floor and the Volt seat will also fit the bracket...Also remember the Volts seats have blue sticking...If that fits you don't have to mess with any of the wiring and the airbags/seatbelt alert will work perfectly, just need run power to the bracket...

A popular source for car parts from wrecks is www.car-parts.com, 2017 Cruze power seats (complete) are on there for $250, figure another $100 to ship or maybe you can talk them down to selling you just the bracket...
 

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I have a Gen I and Gen II Volt. The Gen I is WAY more comfortable. I love the seat in that car (and the handling), while I prefer the infotainment and range of the Gen II. But the seat in my Gen II is unacceptable. I have all sorts of back pain from it. I got a little lumbar cushion from Amazon that's helped, but it doesn't stay in place, and it's breaking down. I'll have to try some of the options here. I just wish they had put in better seats. Such a shame!
 

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To offset some of the bad reviews of the seats and remind potential buyers to always try before you buy, I found the Gen II seats to be wonderful for driving. The only thing I hate about them is when reclining to take a quick nap. Compared to my previous cars, they're not comfortable at all. From a few rentals I've used recently, this seems to be the norm with new cars where the hinge where the seat back rotates is located higher so that the hinge is actually in your lumbar area. I'm used to old clunkers (pre-2000) where the hinge was lower so it wasn't in your lumber area at all, more like right at your butt. I found this more comfortable to nap in.
 

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To offset some of the bad reviews of the seats and remind potential buyers to always try before you buy, I found the Gen II seats to be wonderful for driving. The only thing I hate about them is when reclining to take a quick nap. Compared to my previous cars, they're not comfortable at all. From a few rentals I've used recently, this seems to be the norm with new cars where the hinge where the seat back rotates is located higher so that the hinge is actually in your lumbar area. I'm used to old clunkers (pre-2000) where the hinge was lower so it wasn't in your lumber area at all, more like right at your butt. I found this more comfortable to nap in.
Last Christmas I rented a Nissan Altima which was downright painful for both me and by wife. We ended up buying a seat cushion and lumbar support for her to even survive longer than a 20 minute trip. I'm so glad the volt is at least better than that Nissan.
 

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Car seats and humans don't always match up. I personally cannot sit in a car with built in lumbar support. I need a fairly smooth back of seat. The more the built in lumbar, the more I will be in pain. I know others are the exact opposite. They need lumbar support to avoid pain.

If the lumbar region is too high, it can also cause issues for many people.

To assess your seat fit, get someone to assist you to determine where there may be a gap between your back and the seat. Where the gap is will likely be the area you need to "fill". You will need to experiment.

Lastly, a back injury of any kind is always aggravated in a car no matter what the seat design is.

What I recommend to anyone with back pain is to get into a habit of stretching your back muscles. It can go a long way to relieving discomfort. Once you have a stretching program in place, start an exercise program which can be as simple as walking.

For what it's worth, I bailed on a Saturn due to seat discomfort. Since then, I have always made seat comfort one of my main purchase criteria. I know fairly quickly if a seat will bother me if the back of the seat is not fairly flat with little lumbar.
 

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Can the OP respond and give us a review of what was purchased and how well it is doing?

Thanks!

//KMac
 

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Discussion Starter #16
kmac7800 I do have some update for you. I recently took my 17 into my dealer for 3 recall issues (including the famous "loss of propulsion-reprogram the propulsion module" recall). I took the opportunity to ask about the driver's seat. I mentioned that I had read on this forum about an owner who's seat was found by his dealer to be not evenly aligned across so one side was closer to the front causing him body pain. My seat also looks and feels improperly aligned with the left side being closer to the steering wheel. I showed the rep the back bone support pillow and full sized seat cushion I use to make the seat bearable. I told him about my chest pain while driving. He had it checked by the volt techs. They looked at other volts and found that the seats were positioned the same and there was nothing they could do. The rep stated that volts are equipped with "performance" seats that are not very comfortable including the leather seats which he thinks are even worse. He also said that putting in sonic or cruze seats would cost thousands. So there you go: Good news and bad news. The good news is that after a few months of using the backbone pillow under the full seat sized cushion the chest pain has diminished substantially (although it looks horrible). I returned the neck cushion. The bad news is well, you know. Maybe it's time to check out the upholsterer.
 

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I think the thousands the dealer mentioned are mostly regulatory tests and CYA fees. The seat rails are bolted into the car and adapting a new seat is a matter of making sure it fits then adapting the mounting holes/rails to fit the holes on the Volt.

Hopefully the upholsterer can give you a much saner estimate.
 

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I put Rostra power lumbar supports in my 2012 Cruze ECO's front seats for this very same issue. These fit into the back of the seat and push forward with an air bladder. The pump is strapped under the seat with the power button drilled into the side of the seat plastic. Done properly these look like they're factory installed.

I haven't looked at my Volt but may do so in the next few months. The hardest part is figuring out how to run the power cable through to the fuse box.
 
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