Ever wonder why some headrests are difficult to remove? How about why every model requires a different trick or tool to do it?
Turns out there’s a reason for all the madness.
According to Snopes, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires that headrests on front and optional rear seats be difficult to remove.
In fact, the NHTSA initially didn’t want headrests to be removable at all, arguing that they’re an important and necessary safety feature. However, automakers protested.
Among their concerns, automakers said stationary headrests would make it difficult to install bulky seats in small cars. They also said it would limit seat design, block rearward visibility and prevent back seats from folding properly.
After considering automakers’ concerns, the NHTSA reached a compromise:
• Headrests on standard rear seats could easily be removed to improve rearward visibility or allow for seats to fold.
• However, headrests on front seats and optional rear seats should require an additional action, distinct from the adjustment mechanism, to detach. Recognizing that not all seats are alike, the NHTSA allowed automakers to decide for themselves whether this additional action would require a separate mechanism or tool.
And that, folks, is why some headrests detach at the press of a button, while others require trimmers to pull out clips, prick pinhole triggers or detach plugs.
It’s aggravating, but rest assure it’s done in the name of safety.
I think before Nhsta ruled, the lawyers pushed vis lawsuits, GM was the first to really make things difficult. The 90’s Pontiac Sunfire required one to invert the backrest “sock” type cover and slice the foam that encapsulated the frame to release the headrest sockets. Before that there were the “slim Jim” slide tools that disengaged the limit spring, some much more effort than others.
Some current production cars with mechanical active headrests are again a diabolical challenge, there is an increasing level of engineering with no regard to serviceability.
Edward Munday says
Edward Munday says
Retired – And you wonder why no one wants to enter the Craft of Autotrimmer and Upholster.
Kevin Balser says
I thank my lucky stars that we all have a “Big Brother” looking over everybodys shoulder, keeping us safe from our own hare-brained selves; levying litagation and legal dicipline to the remaining free thinkers in this, and similar, trades.
Sign me “Facitious old Fart
I have a 2020 Chevy spark I am 4ft 4 inches the head rest drivers side bothers me it hits the back of my next it’s not reversible nor have I figured out how to remove it
Any help suggestions would be greatly appreciated.