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Fat steering wheel hurts my hands

Discussion in 'Model 3: Interior & Exterior' started by Telemark, Dec 27, 2019.

  1. Telemark

    Telemark Member

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    As a Hand Surgeon, I’m very sensitive to how things feel. My M3 has a much fatter steering wheel than my other 2 ICE cars, leaving my fingers more sore after a day of commuting. Anyone have this experience? How hard is it to change it to a thinner one?
     
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  2. Sophias_dad

    Sophias_dad Supporting Member

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    I imagine its nearly impossible to change it to a thinner one because of the thumbwheels, but you could probably ask tesla for a second one and have a local shop do some adaptations. I'm not sure how thick the covering is, but I'm pretty sure there's metal under there. If there's enough of a rubber covering, I imagine it could be shaved and sanded down... if not, read on...

    I'd never do it to my own car, but I imagine one could remove the entire covering from the rim and plasti-dip it to make whatever metal is there more pleasant to the hands, and nonslip. Probably wouldn't look very good....

    It would probably help somewhat to have the steering feel set to 'comfort' mode, to make it as easy to turn as possible.

    There's these, but they appear to all be cosmetic changes...

    Tesla Model 3 Aftermarket Steering Wheel Upgrade

    Betcha if you asked, they'd be able to help out in one way or another...

    Here's whats inside ... given your occupation, you'd clearly want someone else to do any changes...

     
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  3. Idkorcare

    Idkorcare Member

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    Mine bothered me the first few times I drove it but doesnt anymore, i thought it was from it having a flat part at the top. Ive seen 1 on ebay that was wood i think that used a different style.
     
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  4. 03DSG

    03DSG Active Member

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    #4 03DSG, Dec 28, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2019
    This may be more than just a wheel thicker than your used to. Are you holding on to tight? It’s an actual real possibility. Is the car relatively new to you? Are you 100% relaxed when driving it? I have found myself more tense when driving any car new to me until I become used to it.

    On your next few commutes try to be aware of your arm and body tension. If you noticed it’s high, breath and consciously relax your arms. When I started track driving years ago I had a great instructor who immediately picked up on my upper body tension and my ‘vice grip’ on the wheel. My hands/arms were a mess at the end of a track weekend. As my skill level progressed over time and more importantly my awareness of my own body tension this completely disappeared.

    I’ve experienced the same ‘hanging on to tight’ issue initially with new aircraft I’ve flown and new motorcycles I’ve ridden. Conscious awareness of it for me worked as a fix. Maybe worth a try before modifying the wheel?

    If your set on wheel modification these guys may be able to help. Doesn’t have to be carbon fiber. They could probably do the wheel any way you want it:

    https://www.realcarbontastic.com/

    Tesla Model 3 - Customize your Own — The Rusty Mechanic
     
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  5. Telemark

    Telemark Member

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    I definitely do not grip it tightly, as the warning comes on frequently to take control of my wheel. I tend to hold it with one hand only, and I’m used to holding it with my right hand at the 4:30 position but the M3 only has 3:00 & 6:00 positions. So it’s probably a combo of issues. But my other 2 cars have much thinner wheels.
     
  6. NathanielHrnblwr

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    The warning has nothing to do with how tight you grip the wheel. It detects force or resistance with the turning the steering wheel.
     
  7. 1.21GW

    1.21GW Member

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    I think it is a personal preference thing. I really like the thicker wheel, I find it more comfortable. As with many Tesla design choices, they aren’t for everyone.

    to answer your question directly, I don’t think it is possible to have a thinner wheel.
     
  8. Scrannel

    Scrannel Member

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    Opposite. I have large hands (always need extra large gloves) and the wheel on my RR Evoque would eventually give me cramps. Love the fatso 3 wheel!
     
  9. SOULPEDL

    SOULPEDL Supporting Member

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    Do you have FSD?
    Your problem dissolves in the near future... hang in there ;)
     
  10. Bobbins

    Bobbins Member

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    Does anyone else here suffer with hand pain from the Model 3 steering wheel?

    I do approx 500 miles per week and having had the Model 3 for just 4 months I'm suffering quite badly with pain in both palms when driving. I think the issue is the very pronounced (and very hard) steel rim at the front out edge of the wheel, exactly the area where my palms rest, it's reached the point now where I'm aware of discomfort when not in the car. Interestingly I also have a Caterham 7 (it's a quirky English sports car!) which ought to be seriously uncomfortable by comparison, I did 150 miles in it at the weekend and even the thought of the pain just disappeared, perfectly fine. Back in the Tesla yesterday and the pain reappeared quite quickly.

    I've searched Google for the problem and there does appear to be similar sufferers although not many.
     
  11. Candleflame

    Candleflame Active Member

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    i dont think being a hand surgeon has anything to do with how sensitive you are how things feel. If you hold the wheel at 0430 you are probably cramping your hand up by supinating the arm to much. If you have a short arm combined with a smaller diameter steering wheel you probably make this further worse by deviating your wrist. If you like to rest your arm on the window still this can also make things worse because it is quite high up compared to other cars so to grab the steering wheel at 0430 you need to sort of reach downwards.

    Actually I do note that you drive a LHD but hold the wheel with your right hand only which is a bit unusual as most people would use their left hand most of the time.

    Anyway what you can try and do is to just put the steering wheel much lower than you normally would (as long as it is not obstructing your legs) or much higher than you normally would and check if this naturally changes you grip slightly.
    The 0430 position even with a thin/bigger steering wheel is also a bit of an unusual position and I wonder if your steering wheel is just way to high. Usually you want it pointing at your chest and at the same time being as low as possible without touching your right leg when you press the brake...
     
  12. Candleflame

    Candleflame Active Member

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    if i look at the caterham 7 steering wheel I wonder if you have a very tight grip in the 3 and 9 o clock postion? That's not really possible in the Model 3 as Tesla doesnt provide space for thumbs and wrists and an ergonomic grip there (unlike lets say the Model S) The only way is to hold it at 2:30 and 9:30 and gently rest your thumbs on top of the 2 bumpers with your hands in a slightly open position. If you do a proper grip on either side you WILL get pain.
     
  13. XLR82XS

    XLR82XS D M C

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    Absolutely not. I love a thick steering wheel. Sounds like you would prefer the wheel from my 1963 Bel-Air. ;)
     
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  14. DSolie

    DSolie Member

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    How many people who suffer from thick wheel syndrome have heated steering wheels? I thought I read somewhere that girth of the steering wheel varied depending if it was a heated model or not? If the above is correct, then maybe they can change / swap out for a non-heated steering wheel?
     
  15. Ciaopec

    Ciaopec Member

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    A thinner wheel? Probably not. Holding the wheel too tightly. For sure. I lay my hands on the wheel gently and basically use the palms and base of my fingers to steer. One can also apply the necessary turning force when the warning appears with gentle force of the palms.
    Sure its a new car, but relax and enjoy. Alternatively, try steering with the pads of the fingers (insert proper anatomical names/descriptions here). I think it is unlikely that your hands would be sore after using these techniques.
     
  16. Bobbins

    Bobbins Member

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    More often than not i grip the Tesla wheel very lightly and in the "10 to 2" position, the way the wheel has been designed to be used ... it's definitely causing sensitivity and pain to my hands though!
     
  17. Mr X

    Mr X Future Martian

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    Go grip your hands around a Model S or X steering wheel and then come back and say the Model 3 steering wheel is "fat"


    [​IMG]


    Model 3 and Y have the thinnest and best feeling steering wheel out of all Tesla's. Try not to grip the wheel so hard and relax, put it on Autopilot, driving a Tesla isn't an operation like you normally perform lol
     
  18. EVNation

    EVNation Member

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    I think I would have the same issue if I didn’t use Autosteer 90% of the time.
     
  19. Spacep0d

    Spacep0d Member

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    Funny, coz I'm a small dude (5'3") and I love the fat wheel! My hands are proportional to my size. It's got a nice sporty feel.
     
  20. Spacep0d

    Spacep0d Member

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    As others have guessed, I think you may be gripping the wheel too tightly. Generally I would think a smaller diameter wheel would cause cramps far more than a fatter wheel. It's like writing with a smaller diameter pen for a long time vs. a fatter one. The fatter one has less strain for most people.

    I'm a former sportbike rider and this was an issue for many of....gripping too tightly causes cramping! This can lead to compartment syndrome if I recall correctly.
     

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