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Honda CR-V Headrests

carbuyer31carbuyer31 Member Posts: 1
edited December 2013 in Honda
Hello all, I am interested in the CRV and am also looking at the RAV4. To me, the headrests in the CRV are placed at a very uncomfortable angle. It seems they push my head forward and my chin down toward my chest. I could not find a seat adjustment that made them any more comfortable. Comments or advice? Thanks.


  • harvey44harvey44 Member Posts: 178
    It's a common mistake. The device at the top of the seat is design for safety not comfort. It's a head restraint, not a head rest. You aren't really supposed to lean on it. It is for preventing whiplash in a crash.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Member Posts: 2,798
    It's a common mistake. The device at the top of the seat is design for safety not comfort. It's a head restraint, not a head rest. You aren't really supposed to lean on it. It is for preventing whiplash in a crash.

    I second that.

    In normal driving "head rests" are not touching any part of the head. The only "head rests" make contact with the head is when the vehicle is suddenly changing its rate of acceleration, such as in rear end collision.
  • smkgsmkg Member Posts: 2
    I had the same problem with the CRV. When I mentioned it to the salesman, the pulled the headrest out and flipped it around. That position was more comfortable than the original position.
  • harvey44harvey44 Member Posts: 178
    Big big mistake. I have to believe that if it was safer to use the safety devise backwards, Honda would have designed it that way. They know a lot about safety.

    That's like buckling the seat belt into the seat next to you, or using a child seat backwards. The salesman shouldn't recommend overriding a safety feature. What dealership was he/she with?
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Member Posts: 2,798
    Big big mistake. I have to believe that if it was safer to use the safety devise backwards, Honda would have designed it that way. They know a lot about safety.

    That's like buckling the seat belt into the seat next to you, or using a child seat backwards. The salesman shouldn't recommend overriding a safety feature. What dealership was he/she with?

    Unless the salesman knew that they installed the headrest backwards during pre-delivery inspection.
  • bobby12bobby12 Member Posts: 8
    I have found the headrests uncomfortable too, but found that I could lift them up, turn them around, replace and they are much better.
  • harvey44harvey44 Member Posts: 178
    Wonder how it compares to wearing a neck brace.
  • harvey44harvey44 Member Posts: 178
    IIHS gave ratings out today for neck injuries in SUVs - the majority (24 of 39 tested) failed.

    CRV got an excellent rating for neck protection.

    Neck restraints were not tested inserted backwards.
  • johnnymurphjohnnymurph Member Posts: 35
    I purchased this vehicle used, but the middle (small) head restraint was not included. Since the C-RV is mainly being used as a two person vehicle, it was not a major problem. I would like to find one, but I have had terrible success so far. Black interior, 2003 C-RV EX. Thanks for your help
  • fnamowiczfnamowicz Member Posts: 196
    you can order from a body shop.
    Some people have removed all the rear headrests to get better rear vision.
  • phisherphisher Member Posts: 175
    I would try a local auto salvage yard. They should have one or be able to locate one.
  • chellichelli Member Posts: 1
    I just test drove the 08 CR-V EX-L and I loved the vehicle with one big problem - the headrest. It was pushing my head forward and after a short (about 5 min) test drive I had one heck of a headache. I am encouraged that it can be turned around. I am 5'0" tall and it is totally uncomfortable. I am also encouraged that others are having a similar reaction - maybe Honda will make a change for 09.
  • aslguyaslguy Member Posts: 6
    I nominate those of you who flip it for the sake of comfort for a Darwin Award!
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    for the sake of comfort for a Darwin Award!

    Sorry, that won't qualify for a Darwin Award since no one is in jeopardy of removing themselves from the human genome as a result of such action. :P

    Perhaps you have a constructive suggestion?

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • dtstofdtstof Member Posts: 61
    unless the seat is reclined a lot, I'd just raise it, moving it away from the head. If you reverse it, as others have said, you've removed the safety feature. I can't even come near it in the reverse position, and it no longer locks.
  • emehollinemehollin Member Posts: 2
    My wife (5'1") is looking at buying a 2008 CR-V. She loves everything about the car except the headrest forces her head forward, regardless of the adjusted height of the headrest. She sits comfortably in my 2004 Accord so we pulled the headrest from the Accord and tried it in the CR-V. It fit but the problem remained as far as forcing her head forward. As others in the forum have noted, reversing or removing the headrest is not an option. My thought would be to somehow bend the two rods to change the angle enough to allow her head to be in a more comfortable position. This solution should retain the safety feature and improve comfort.

    I can understand that the dealer might be reluctant to make any modifications but do the members have any thoughts or suggestions? This issue is a deal breaker on the purchase.
  • lpkaylpkay Member Posts: 4
    This is the only cushion on the market (that I have seen) that works with the active head restraint that can push your head forward. By the way, NHTSA knows all about the comfort complaints that have been lodged against many makes and models.

    link title

  • emehollinemehollin Member Posts: 2
    Thanks. Cool looking pillow. Autosportcatalog.com has a couple, too. We found that if she reclined the seat a little more than she was used to, it was more comfortable. We bought the car and she quickly got used to the slightly more reclined seat position and all is well.

    Thanks again for your response.
  • deefdeef Member Posts: 1
    hi -- my cr-v's book says not to strap or hang anything onto headrest or the safety feature will be interfered with ... thoughts? I don't think i can drive w/out leaning back onto this (as some have written it's not really to be leaned upon) -- so the pillow seems a good option ...
    this is driving me batty. thanks
  • novice_i_amnovice_i_am Member Posts: 3
    The head restraint was very uncomfortable for my wife. She got a cushion about 3/4" thick and put it behind her back to move her whole body slightly forward. Restraint is now tolerable; this solution seems superior to reversing head restraint.
  • willyb1willyb1 Member Posts: 1
    I realise that these are for safety but surely they should not cause discomfort and pain to the user.
    Has anybody tried swapping the headrest from the back seat with the uncomfortable ones in the front?
  • dtstofdtstof Member Posts: 61
    For the people having trouble with the head rests, does your arm rest sit flat, slightly pointed down, or slightly up? Mine is slightly up, and I don't touch the headrest. Maybe the seat back can be adjusted back to clear. I do, however, raise the headrest.
  • ebroadedebroaded Member Posts: 12
    I am 5 ft tall and the headrest is an issue for me as well. I want to buy a CRV, but not until I can find a comfortable seat/headrest position. Reclining the seat does relieve the pressure on my head some, but it makes my lower back hurt. Has anyone tried that neck pillow that was posted? Or bending the bars as suggested? I have used a back cushion before, but it slips around and is inconvenient for getting in and out of the car. I have noticed that taller people have a space between their head and the headrest, but there is negative clearance for short people. Thanks for any other solutions to this problem.
  • cinglemomcinglemom Member Posts: 49
    It's funny. I'm 4'11 and i don't have any issues with my headrest. It only bothers me when i have a pony tail. You might want to try the neck pillow or just roll up a towel and place it in the empty space . I hope you work this out because the Honda CRV isn't the best of SUV's but it's a great one. I hate the material they used in the LX though. It's rough and can cause skin irritations. Good Luck
  • tabby2tabby2 Member Posts: 1
    I purchased a CR-V last week and by the time I got it home, I had a aching and stiff neck and a headache. When I called the Honda place the next day, the salesman just chuckled and said he'd heard that before. He suggested reclining the seat some. Well, I've tried reclining the seat, changing seat heights, and changing head restraint height. Nothing worked.

    Reclining the seat just promotes poor posture as it makes you lean forward, curving your back. That's not going to be good. I wonder how long this issue has been going on. My opinion about Honda has really changed due to this simple problem.

    And about safety, it's not safe to drive in an ergonomically incorrect position as this can cause serious and painful muscular problems.

    I believe I will try calling a car repair shop and see if they have been approached by customers with this problem. Bending the poles was originally what I had thought about, also. I just wouldn't want them to break.
  • cinglemomcinglemom Member Posts: 49
    I don't know how tall you are but I'm 4'11/5'0 and I noticed the same thing with the headrest. Funny that I never put two and two together until i purchased a seat cover. It covers the empty space that your neck needs... also a neck pillow wrapped around the headrest works. Hope these suggestion helps.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Member Posts: 2,798
    Do your seat covers have provisions for the side airbags?
  • cinglemomcinglemom Member Posts: 49
    My seat covers cover the whole entire chair/seat including the headrest. So if the airbags are in the seats... they may not be able to come out. I thought the airbags were in the doors?... I will have to check.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Member Posts: 2,798
    My seat covers cover the whole entire chair/seat including the headrest. So if the airbags are in the seats... they may not be able to come out. I thought the airbags were in the doors?... I will have to check.

    There are airbags on the sides of the seatbacks. At least they are in the 2005 model.

    Problem with the covers is that since airbags use explosives to go off, and cover may trap the charge, catch on fire, become a projectile... ect...

    Same is with placing things on the A-pillars, and dashboard, they all become projectiles when air bags go off.
  • krichterkrichter Member Posts: 1
    I test drove an '09 crv and the headrest problem is still an issue. I am just over 5' tall and the headrest pushed my head and neck forward at an extremely uncomfortable angle. I already have neck problems from two previous rear-ender accidents while I was stopped at red lights, so I don't need additional aggravation. As with others in this forum, the salesman said the headrest can be flipped, but I really questioned the safety. I like the Honda, but the head rest problem is a deal breaker. I tested the Saturn Vue and it has much more comfortable seat/headrest configuration. Also, I had to practically sign over my first born to be able to even test drive the crv. The salesman drove the car first, then stopped to let me drive. I also tested the Accord, and was told that since my driving passed approval, I could it out of the lot without the salesman first driving it. Not at all happy with the salesman. Won't buy a Honda.
  • rikrikardorikrikardo Member Posts: 23
    We have a 2008 CRV EX-L and while my wife is relatively short (5' 3") I do not notice any head contact by her with the headrest in a normal driving position. My thought on this is that the salesman in demonstrating the seats to you left the seatback inclined too far forward when you drove it. Given the obnoxious tactics of this salesman, try another dealership and take another test drive. Set the seat backrest angle yourself back until it feels right. If you are trying out one with power seats, tilt the lower seat forward a bit to compensate for lowering the backrest if you feel the seat is reclined too much.
  • g_specg_spec Member Posts: 1
    According to a technician at Honda of America, a minor revision was made to the headrest to enhance crash test rating. The only thing he suggested was to get the issue documented with Honda of America and if there is enough complaints, a recall might be issued to all the documented cases to replace the problem headrests with a headrest that is pushed/tilted slightly back. I'm sure a huge company such as Honda would act quickly to resolve an issue that is causing health and physical problems for the customers.

    Here is Honda's contact info:

    American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
    Honda Automobile Customer Service
    1919 Torrance Boulevard
    Mail Stop: 500 - 2N - 7D
    Torrance, CA 90501-2746

    Phone: 1-800-999-1009
  • motoguy128motoguy128 Member Posts: 146
    I wonder if some folks, simply sit leaned back rather than sitting upright??? The HEAD RESTRAINT (it's not a heat "rest"... that's no longer it's primary function) is about 1" behind my head that way I normally sit. Its' actually nice because I can lena my head agaisnt it on longer drivers and relax a little more.

    But then again, I'm used to also riding motorcycles with a upright sitting position, with no bakc rest or neck cushion. I'm riddne 14 hour days and my back didn't hurt. It's just a matter of training your muscles to use good posture.

    I thin also, there's a ideal range of seat angle. Too far back and you'll be inclined ot lean you head back. too far forward and hte head restraint pushes up against your head.

    A salesperson told me it's more of a problem with drivers that like a very upright seating position.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 236,374
    I think whiplash protection standards must have increased, because I'm seeing a lot more complaints about headrests than I used to.. and, not just on the CR-V.

    There is a Tiguan in my parking lot at work.... and, it's obvious they've turned the headrests around on it (definitely wouldn't recommend that).

    On my Impreza, there is a definite forward tilt to the top of the headrest, that I don't see on older cars. I keep the headrest pretty high (middle of the headrest matching up with the fat part of my head..lol), and that works for me, but if I had to put it all the way down, then seatback angle might be more important.

    My own anecdotal observations: Taller drivers have more adjustment possibilities with headrests, making it easier to find the spot where they don't bother (though not necessarily the safest spot). Shorter drivers may only be able to use the headrest in the lowest position, giving them no adjustment if it hits them in an uncomfortable spot. I see more complaints from women, than men (assuming shorter drivers, on average).

    Just my $0.02

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  • ofionnachtaofionnachta Member Posts: 36
    I am glad I came to this forum! We had been thinking abt a CRV. My husb's car is a Civic & I hate the head restraints, as passenger & as driver. I am 5'3", petite build, and they hit the back of my head in the most uncomfortable way, give me a headache on long drives and turning them around, and dropping them as low as they'll go, does not help.

    If the CRVs do this, too, then I won't be buying one. It will be "my" car, so I have to be able to drive it without getting a sore neck/headache.
  • motoguy128motoguy128 Member Posts: 146
    Best of luck in you vehcile search. I'd consider changing your seating position first. You may find most vehciles are not designed this way. My wife is 5'3" but doesn't have any problem because she never had the habit of leanign back into the seat.

    Most new cars now have head restraints designed this way. It's for safety. My Nissan Versa I found to be worse than my CR-V. I'd take a extended test drive before you rule it out. Each car is a little different. Our Altima is about the same as the CR-V.
  • ebroadedebroaded Member Posts: 12
    I am 5'0" and have an issue with the head restraint pressing on the back of my head as well. When I raise the head restraint to it's highest position the bulge at the top of it is positioned higher and my head has enough clearance to be comfortable. My head still touches the lower part, but it does not push it forward creating discomfort and I still get the benefit of neck protection. Give raising the head restraint up a try. Good luck
  • ebroadedebroaded Member Posts: 12
    I just posted about raising the head restraint to make the seating more comfortable and have an added comment. That worked fine for the drivers seat (EX-L model), but did not help in the passenger seat. I have the CR-V here for an extended test drive and I can't find a comfortable position in the passenger seat using extra cushions or raising the head restraint. This is a huge problem and I suggest that you also try the passenger seat when you do a test drive. Also, please post or send me an email if you find a car or small SUV that is comfortable for you. I have felt comfortable in the Prius, but was wanting more cargo space. While the CRV is great in every other way, I also need to be able to sit in it without back or neck pain.
  • ofionnachtaofionnachta Member Posts: 36
    We haven't visited a CR-V yet (plan to do it later in the week) but we did sit in a Kia Rondo yesterday (the weather was terrible so we didn't bother to drive; will do that later). The headrest problem was even worse in it, for me, than the Honda Civic! At the lowest position, which is supposed to be the one for me, the bottom of the restraint pushed into the back of my head---the spot where my head goes out the farthest.

    I am 5'3", so raising the thing to the highest did not help me. The bulge at the bottom still nailed my head.

    My 6'2" husb found he could get the bottom of the thing to hit him in the right place by adjusting its height.

    However, we found that we could take the things all the way out & reverse them. I know that is a big no-no and I told the salesman to pretend he did not see us, but it can be done. This resulted, for me, in a restraint that did not force my chin into my neck, so I could actually drive the car, but of course it was too far back to protect me from whiplash and I couldn't lean my head back on it for a little break in long drives.

    If I did not turn it around, the Kia would not be driveable, for me. So, both Kia and Honda need to rethink the placement of these things.

    I also sat in a Hyundai Elantra Touring the other day, on a showroom floor. They did not have any outside to drive at the moment, so I said, just let me sit in the inside and look it over, etc.

    It did not have these head restraint problems at all. A bump on the center console does come very close to my right knee--and I am small--I think that may be an issue for bigger people. The Elantra Touring and Kia Rondo both have ratchets for the driver to raise the seat, so short drivers can get higher up (and yes, I had it ratcheted up when I was being nailed by the head restraint, in the Rondo).

    We are going to visit the CR-V and check it out--but if I can't drive it because my chin is on my chest, I can't buy it no matter how much we like other features!

    I will try the passenger seat, too, as you suggest! I'm glad you mentioned it!
  • sr146260211sr146260211 Member Posts: 55
    For me with the Civic and now Insight, (Later will buy an addition to my fleet the CR-V 2010 model ) I have never had an issue with the head rest. I never lean my head all the way back and I sit up straight. Some individuals like to rest their heads back on the head rest but many more do not.
  • ebroadedebroaded Member Posts: 12
    I think that this problem is hard to understand by people who it does not effect. I am not leaning my head back. I am sitting up straight and the headrest pushes into my head and pushes it forward. This is not acceptable. I love the CRV in so many ways, but will need to keep looking at other cars.
  • ebroadedebroaded Member Posts: 12
    Raising the headrest helped me with the CRV, because the part of the headrest that is the thickest and bulges is at the top and it tapers at the bottom. By raising it there is more clearance for my head, because the bulge moves up leaving the thinner part behind my head. When you check out the CRV you will see what I mean.

    I went to the Toyota dealer and sat in the Prius and the Highlander. Neither of them had the headrest problem and they were comfortable. They aren't the size vehicle that I was looking for, but I will consider them. I didn't try the Rav4, because of the rear door that opens out instead of up. Loading in and out of it would not work for my situation.

    I know what you mean about the Civic being uncomfortable. I test drove one about a year ago and couldn't get out of it fast enough. Honda's seats overall seem firmer and shaped in a way that isn't very comfortable for my back. This was never an issue before, but as I age a comfortable car seat has become very important. The CRV would be perfect for me if I didn't need to sit in it.
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    Buying a wedge shaped headrest cushion. My wife had real problems with our 2002 Civic (she is 4'10"). We bought the cushion, which has an elastic strap to keep it attached to the headrest. She has been driving with it for 7 years now. I don't recall if this is the exact brand, but ours is something like this:

    Headrest cushion

    However, my wife uses it upside down - the big part is at the bottom. Works great for her.

    Just a thought for those of you who are having problems.
  • ebroadedebroaded Member Posts: 12
    Thanks! I actually bought one of those cushions to try to make it more comfortable. At this point we have decided to buy a Highlander. It is bigger and more expensive, but more comfortable for both of us so we will pay the price. Thanks again.
  • otaraziotarazi Member Posts: 1
    I am so thrilled to have found this discussion! Thank you so much, also, for posting this contact information. Now that I know I'm not alone, I'm going to call Honda and register my complaint as well.

    I am 5' 5", female, slender, and, yes, I do sit in an upright position. I have been driving a Honda Accord since 1982. I love this car. I love it so much, and have been driving it for so long, that it never occurred to me to take a test drive in our current car (a 2004) before we bought it. My husband thought I was crazy when I complained about the headrest -- he has no problem with it. (He's taller and sits very differently in the seat than I do.) Adjusting it higher or lower did not help. I've been driving with the headrest flipped for five years now. I can't bear it in the proper position for more than a few minutes. It tilts my head and neck too far forward, so that they are no longer aligned with my spine. If Honda does not fix this problem, I will never buy a Honda again. I will be looking for a car in which I can drive with the headrest in its proper position, so that it protects my neck in the event of a collision, without injuring my neck as I drive.
  • dwalsh2112dwalsh2112 Member Posts: 2

    The road noise in our CR-V is really, really bad. Any suggestions on what we can do to limit this besides turn up the radio?
  • lzclzc Member Posts: 483
    New, quieter tires is probably the one practical thing you can do. Tires with even limited off road capabilities are noisy. And Honda's OEM tire, Bridgestone's, are not highly regarded. I've read elsewhere on these boards that some people have thought the improvement was significant.
  • bratt03007bratt03007 Member Posts: 1
    I have read through all of the comments posted re the Honda CR-V head restraint for current year and prior year models. I liked the comment posted which identified that we should write to American Honda Motor with our complaint and hopefully if all of us write to them, they will eventually pay head and either provide the head rest pillow necessary to "bridge" the gap for those of us who don't reach the head restraint location!

    I will be writing to them today. I love my 2010 Honda CR-V, with that 1 exception of the head restraint not fiting my frame of 4'11".
  • sharil62sharil62 Member Posts: 1
    I just bought a 2010 Honda Accord, and like many other short people, found the headrest to be unbearably uncomfortable. I tried changing the tilt of the seat, height of the headrest, etc., to no avail.

    So I wrapped a towel around the headrest, laid a board over it, and ran over it with my car. Had to run over each one twice to get the rods flat enough, but the headrests are perfect now !

    I don't care if they won't work as well to prevent whiplash-frankly, the pain from the stupid forward angled headrest was giving me "whip lash like" pain anyway.

    If you decide to do what I did, be sure you have a friend assist you so you run over the headrests evenly and bend the rods at the correct angle. I found using a car to run over the stupid things was easier than using a vise.

    Once you get the rods straightened out, you can take the headrests to an upholstery shop and have a bit of the foam removed from the bottom if you want the headrests to be totally flush with the seats.

    I am now once again a happy Honda owner.
  • motoguy128motoguy128 Member Posts: 146
    It's amazing how many Americans have become accustomed to poor posture and leaning back into hte seat with you shoulder.

    I guess I got something useful out of marching band, swimming, cycling and running. You learn good posture because it either a requirement or it prevents injuries.

    I sit fairly reclined but my upper torso is not up against the seat.

    My wife is 5'3" but doesn;t have any problem wither and sits with the seat even furhter reclined, but again she sits with her upper body upright.

    there probably a group of about 5-10% of Americans that have this problem. I can't imagien Honda's test drivers had thsi problem. Ultimately, it was designed this way for a reason.... it reduces injuries in a crash.

    I honestly think you'd be better off adjusting your sitting position than modifying the seat. But that just the opinon of a person that doesn't have a problem with the headrest shape or location.
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