Automatic Cars

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Author
  • #35105

    Hi All

    I am trying to get peoples thoughts on driving and back and leg pains. This is one of the areas that I have trouble with particularly on my bad days and I am considering changing my car to an automatic but have no experience of automatics and whether this will be easier or not. I was wondering, I have not looked into any help relating to my problems and obviously there will be quite a financial impact on having to change my car. I was hoping someone may have experience of having to change their cars for medical reasons and I would be grateful for your advice. I hope this makes sense and someone on this site might be able to offer advice.



    I used to have “normal” cars like Astras or Rovers but when my pain became too severe to drive and then too bad to even get in and out, I changed to an MPV. I’m not usually in favour of big cars but this has been wonderful. No more heaving myself up to get out or dropping into the seat. Also, the seat fits me perfectly and in fact I often go out and just sit in the car when the pain gets too bad to sit in the chairs in the house. I think the best thing to do is to go and try numerous different makes, sizes and shapes and find one that really fits you. For me, Vauxhall seats were too hard, Rover seats were too short and the pedals were too far away. After a couple of miles I had terrible leg pain. They vary so much. If you get one where the pedals are in the right position and the seat is comfortable, there should be no problem staying with a manual gear shift. I happen to have a Renault Scenic now in which I could drive forever but that wouldn’t necessarily be the most comfortable one for you.


    I find our Skoda fabia absolutely super and its an automatic which is a BIG help. Less pressure on hips and knees.

    The Fabia has soft suspension and evens out the bumps for you- – -the seating is OK for my wife and me but you need to get yourself on a test drive and see if it suits you
    Alastair 🙂


    Hi Liz, I have trouble with arthritic knees and hips and find an automatic really helps. Also, mine is a Toyota Rav 4 so it is fairly high and makes getting in and out a hundred times easier. The seat is also extremely supportive for my back…I too have been known to sit in the car and listen to the radio as it is so much more comfortable than household furniture. Maybe furniture manufacturers need to talk to car designers!! Obviously you need to shop around to find what fits you best, but I would say it’s well worth having a look.


    Hi Liz
    I changed to automatic largely incase hand controls needed to be fitted, Seating is obviously a huge priority and cruise control is a great help on ,longer journeys as the legs are relitavely free to get more comfortable. To be honest I had always been against automatic but despite being able to select manual as well I never bother. It is incredibly more comfortable to do less!! Financially shop around and the cheaper one always comes a week too late!!
    Good luck


    When i had a stroke in 2003 i had a 1 month ban from driving and had to be passed fit by my GP before i could restart.. The stroke affected my left side leaving my leg and foot weak the Doc said i could restart providing i changed to auto as I would’nt have to use my left leg or foot
    I would have purchased the Skoda Fabia as my car was a Fabia manual but the delivery was 28 weeks and i found a VW Lupo in stock and this uses the same engine anf gearbox as the Skoda
    It’s a small car with a roomy interior (very tiny boot) took a couple of days to get used too after
    70 years driving a manual but i would not like to change back.
    All the best George.


    hi, i couldn’t drive my car if it wasn’t an automatic. i have a focus 5 door – and i love it! annie


    I was lucky and already had an automatic car before my spinal surgery, if i didn’t have an automatic i wouldn’t be driving. my left leg is weak and has no strength.

    Ali B (UK)

    Hi Liz I have driven an automatic car for the last seven years and would not be without it. I have chronic pain following a laminectomy and was finding that using the clutch pedal all the time was aggravating my left leg where I have most pain. I wondered initially if I could get used to an automatic but very quickly found it was the best thing since sliced bread and I am no longer worried about car journeys and how far I have to drive. I drive a BMW at present which is great but have had other cars that have been equally comfortable such as an Audi A4, Renault Scenic and a Ford Focus. The sitting position is obviously very important as car seats do vary enormously. I would recommend automatics without hesitation as it takes away the worry of how will I manage today if the pain is bad. The cost may be a little more but I feel well worth it for peace of mind. Kind regards Ali.


    I am also having to change over to an automatic car as I need to use my left arm less, changing gear all the time is becoming too much.

    I have resisted this for the last year as I felt I was ‘giving in’, but everyone says when you’ve had an automatic you’d never return to a manual.


    I have been driving an automatic with power steering for 9 years now and cannot drive a manual car anymore.
    Just a point to remember……if you have any longterm illness or disability, or are on medication, which could affect your driving, you need to inform the DVLA. If you fail do do this and are then involved in an accident, even if it is not your fault, you could find that your insurance is invalid. I did this recently, after I was asked by my insurance company if I had notified the DVLA re: my disabilty: previous insurance companies had not asked!! I was quite worried that they would take away my licence but they were very helpful, I visited my GP to tell him that they would be writing to him about it, all they did was revise my licence so that I am only allowed to drive automatic cars.


    Hi everyone
    that is a good point Susan made about informing the DVLA. I changed my car 3 years ago, I also couldnt now drive a manual and although I dont drive as much as I used to, I hadnt really given much consideration to the insurance side of things. Driving an automatic is fun, one time I was driving out of the garage {in a courtesy car, while mine was getting a service} I couldnt figure out how to put it into gear to drive off the forecourt much to the mechanics amusement!! Id forgotten how to operate a manual. Automatics are really easy and allow you to maintain your mobility if you can.
    take car

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • The forum ‘General Forum (now closed, but readable and searchable)’ is closed to new topics and replies.