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Does the Lumbar Support actually work all 4 directions?

27705 Views 78 Replies 29 Participants Last post by  Cintoman
Not sure i this is just me...buuuuuuuuut...

For sure the Lumbar goes out and in...that is obvious. BUT...when I adjust up or down, I am getting the same effect as out and in.

For example, if I adjust the umber all the way out...it will not go anywhere when pressing "up"....If I press "down", however...the lumbar simply deflates/goes back in (as if I were pressing "in").

going from a completely neutral lumbar position, up and down doe the same as in and out.

In short...I see no difference between pressing up/down or in/out.

Anyone else have this?
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That was a good write-up and thanks for the photos. Interesting to see how Tesla designed their seats.

I won't be digging around in my seats (they are very comfortable for me as is). But your description of how the upper and lower bladders inflate/deflate will make it easier for people to learn how to adjust it because it's not entirely intuitive. It seems the proper adjustment procedure is to push the back of the four way rocker switch to completely deflate. Then push either down or up (or some combination of both) until it fills in in the right spot. There doesn't appear to be any reason to push the switch forward. From your description, the same thing can be achieved by pushing the switch down and then up?

And if you go to far it's probably a good idea to push the back of the switch to deflate and then start over.
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to me, the lumbar support decrease is different from up/down/increase. three of them have a definite feel and sound like a motor working. the decrease is slower and seems more like a deflating cushion. I also thought i decrease was not working until I kept pressing it leading me to notice that it was slowing and silently retreating back into the seat. odd.
I agree with this and it's counter intuitive for those of us who previously had lumbar supports that didn't have inflators. It takes a while for them to fully deflate once they have been inflated all the way.

I wonder if the people who think there is too much lumbar support are letting the bladders deflate fully? Because when I fully deflate mine there is like zero lumbar support and my lower back goes into a "slouch" curvature. Once I add some pressure to the lower and upper areas it's perfect. I've driven over 600 miles in a day, stopping only briefly to charge and eat and relieve my bladder and experienced more comfort than any previous car I've owned, including my previous fav, a Volvo S80 with all the options. The VW Eurovan had pretty nice bucket seats for all-day comfort too but the Model 3 seats are noticeably better after a few hours non-stop. I feel like I could just keep going day and night if my brain didn't start to get sleepy. On previous cars I would typically feel butt pain first (after around 8 hours on the Volvo) followed by back pain a couple hours after my butt started feeling sore. But in the Model 3 it feels like I would never get even a little sore or uncomfortable. Best seats ever. Interestingly enough, After automotive expert Sandy Munro took a Model Y (or was it a Model 3?) for a cross-country tour he was raving about the seat comfort and said he had never felt car seats that comfy on a long trip. For the record, I'm quite tall and Sandy Munro is somewhat shorter than average.

Also, those who think the lumbar support is too prominent might want to try inflating just the lower support (after making sure to deflate both of them all the way). If there is any question whether you are getting the bladders fully deflated I recommend sitting in the seat and pressing your lower back into it while holding the button in the rearward position (deflate). I can't imagine the lumbar support being too prominent once it's actually fully deflated leading me to question whether some people are not fully deflating them. I've never timed it but I think from fully inflated to fully deflated it might take more than 10 seconds (and make sure your lower back is pressing into the seatback while deflating). The feeling of lumbar support should completely go away and you will need to add some air just to get it feeling like a typical seatback without adjustable lumbar support.

I hope this helps.
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This was my original thought as to what was happening with my seat. Because when I first took delivery of my car, driving home, the seat felt great and the lumbar didn't seem to intrude on my back. It was only days later when I started playing around with the lumbar support, that after fully deflating it (and holding the deflate side of the button for +1 minute), that it seemed like the bladder wasn't fully deflating. So I ended up taking it to Tesla Service so they could check on it. They advised that the bladder was in fact fully deflated. Still didn't feel the same as when I first took delivery of the car.

So that's when I took it upon myself to check and make sure it was. And with the rear black plastic seatback removed, I was able to confirm that it was in fact fully deflated. Seeing the bladder in person also allowed me to see how it inflates/deflates, and about how long it takes to fully deflate it (around 15 seconds from filled to deflated....just so I could know how long to hold the deflate button going forward). So that's when I decided to make the modifications to my seat.

Speaking of previous vehicles and their seat comfort.... everyone that sits in my car comments on how comfortable (and soft feeling the seat material is) the seats are. I tend to agree, especially with the material being so soft. However I still think my previous car's seats were more comfortable for super long drives (think a 25-hour non-stop drive from RI to FL...stopping only for gas/bathroom/eating). I had a 2005 Mercedes C230 Sport Sedan. With the sport seats, they were firm, but on long drives, firm wins for overall support and comfort. The real/fake leather combo definitely wasn't as soft as the Model 3 seats, and I don't think anyone ever commented on how comfortable they were on initial sitting down. But I think the firmness is what helps the comfort on the long drives.

That being said, I've done multiple 16 hour+ drives in the Model 3, and I'd say that with my slight mod to them, they're about 95% as comfortable as my C230's seats were. Perfectly happy with them now.

The interesting thing is your car was probably built a week after my Performance Model 3 but the lumbar support in mine is basically non-existent (negative curvature) when fully deflated.

However, you have the white seats which were recently introduced at the time and your car is slightly newer (at least judging by the VIN # which is 7000 greater). So this raises the possibility that something changed in the seats. In fact, from a few peoples description, I'm almost certain of it. Because I'm not kidding when I say both of our Model 3's have a "cave" in the lower back when fully delated.

Those Mercedes seats sound pretty sweet if they were 5% more comfy than the seats in both our Model 3's! Sandy Munro is a car guy who has been around cars his entire life and he was acting astonished at how comfy the Tesla seats were on a long trip (I think they had one stint with 36 hours in the seats, trading off drivers).
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@PNWmisty , wow...close birthdates with our cars. I ordered mine mid-August 2018, and I think it was just about to be built or had just been built. I never found out the actual date of build, but the sticker inside the driver's door has 08-2018 on it.

I definitely agree that the 3's seats are especially comfortable. And for me to do several 16+ hour drives from RI to NC with practically no fatigue (thanks also to FSD/NOA) definitely proves how comfortable they are. BTW, as I'm sure yours are, mine are the Gen-2 seats (front and rear). I sat in Brian's (i1Tesla) Model 3 that he had prior to his Model Y, and his Gen-1 seats were amazingly uncomfortable. So the changes Tesla made with the Gen-2 seats are definitely noticeable.

My door sticker says 9/18 even though I have an 85K VIN# vs, your 97K VIN. So mine was built after yours! I took deliver on the last day of September. Crazy times!

The Gen 1 seats went on very few Model 3's since they switched to the more comfortable Gen 2 before production volumes had ramped very high (around March 2018 if I recall). The most interesting thing about Tesla seats (to me) is that Tesla was originally going to order them from a seat supplier but Elon didn't like something about what the suppliers were telling him so he said something like "This isn't rocket science, we'll just design and make our own seats!" So they built a seat shop and turned out some of the best seats in the business. Pretty good for a company with about as little experience in the seat making business you could find. And they are designed to last unlike most OEM seats.
Not trying to be contrarian, but Tesla is not as vertically integrated as many people think, at least not for physical things like suspension components, wheels, tires, dashboards, brakes, steering racks, glass, etc. About the only major component that they build in house that other car makers usually get from outside suppliers is the aforementioned seats, which are indeed very good. The Ultraleather in particular is superb, and not commonly found in cars of this price range. It's obvious that Tesla put their usual excellent engineers to the task of building a generally excellent seat when they decided to build it in house. Really they do the same with every other aspect of the cars that they build or even buy from suppliers. They are extremely strict with suppliers.

(I am one of the people who finds the stock Model 3 (Gen 2) seats have way too much lumbar support and have a headrest rake angle that jams my head and neck uncomfortably down. I am several inches shorter than Elon, J.B., Franz, etc., but not too far from average height. Were I a bit taller, the lumbar might be in the right place, and the headrest might press my neck instead of the top of my head. The seats are ok for average and taller people, but not good for me. Better adjustments or a flatter lumbar and headrest would help me. I may end up getting a racing seat which is flatter and has better lateral support.)

Where Tesla is highly vertically integrated is actually the far more important things: software, electronics, sensors, and electronic actuators. (They DO get most of the electronics hardware from external vendors, too.) This is where much of Tesla's value/automation/intelligence/control comes from, to benefit the driver and passengers. And it's also where many other car makers are very weak. It's a reason why most other cars/trucks/vehicles can't do over the air updates. Their systems are a jumbled pile of different computer systems from random vendors that talk to each other enough to be functional but are not really updatable. It's why it's physically impossible for those cars to do over the air updates that affect so many aspects of the cars, compared to Teslas.
No car maker is more vertically integrated than Tesla. I find it humorous that you say Tesla is not as vertically integrated on things like (and then proceed to name the things that Tesla uses suppliers for). Other manufacturers don't make those items themselves either!

The term "vertically integrated" is only a matter of degree. And that's obvious because no automaker makes cars from raw materials. But the various manufacturers can be ranked by the degree they are vertically integrated and Tesla comes out on top every time.
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