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Honda CR-V Headrests



  • 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 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 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 Posts: 70,264
    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, 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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  • 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 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 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 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 LAPosts: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hi,

    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 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.
  • 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 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 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.
  • I just bought a 2010 CRV and can agree the seats are poorly designed. They encourage a slouch position. The thigh bolsters are tilted too high and the head restraint has been tilted forward to improve crash test results. The restraint intrudes on a head aligned with an upper torso forcing a driver to slouch. These all conspire to make an uncomfortable driving position which can ultimately detract from safety. Honda needs to look at the design of the German car seats. My porsche seats are very light but of excellent ergonomics and have less adjustment than the CRV seats, yet provide a perfect platform from which to drive. Perhaps Honda may have overestimated the poor posture of Americans and attempted to factor that into seat design given their target market. I cannot think of a reason why the seats are like this. Even the seats in the early Pilots were of excellent design. I use this for my winter car and this is our 7th Honda but I may have to look to another vehicle(I may give this to my wife and trade her Honda for an Audi S4 next summer .... LOL). She might not notice the seats.
  • Judging by all the posts here and in other forums regarding the same "pushed head forward" position caused by these new headrests, I'd say it's more like 50% of Americans have a problem with these seats.

    Hmmm.....could it be the Pharmaceutical Co.'s have helped design these headrests, so they could sell more pain killers for all the head/neck/shoulder pain?
  • bpollenbpollen Posts: 11
    edited May 2011
    I read up a lot on this issue of the head restraints after I test drove the 2011 CRV earlier this year, and found the headrests forced my head into a downward position, as if I were looking at my lap. I test drove more than a few vehicles this year, and sat in a few more (test drove 2011 models of RAV4, Toyota Prius, Subaru Forester, VW GTI, Lexus CT200h, Ford Fiesta, and I sat in Scion xB, Scion xD, VW Jetta Sportwagen, Lexus RX350, and a few others I've forgotten). The CRV was by far the worst. That definitely was a deal breaker for me...couldn't even think of buying it.

    The head restraints were mandated to specifications by the fed govt for 2010 and later models of all cars. But Honda installed theirs earlier than other mfrs. (not sure when). The govt and the mfrs KNOW that about 13% (estimated) of the driving population will find the head restraints uncomfortable because of their EXTREMENESS OF POSITION. There was an alternate, less extreme position, but the govt went w/the extreme position. Several mfrs fought the extreme position...Ford being one of them. Honda did not fight it. Apparently Honda was okay with 13% of their customers finding them uncomfortable and possibly losing sales. (Honda wouldn't lose 13% of sales; as you can see from above posts, some people buy the car, anyway, despite being uncomfortable, and some don't realize what a problem they are until after they've bought the car.)

    What the govt said about the 13% was that basically, they can just recline their seats. Problem solved. (I'm pretty sure most of the govt panel and the mfr reps were men. You'll find out why below.)

    Who are those 13% of the driving public who'll have a problem with the extreme position of the head rests? Primarily women (and shorter people, who are mainly women). They discussed that more women tend to drive with their seats less reclined than men. So they can simply recline their seats more. Problem solved.

    What the govt did not do, and apparently the car mfrs didn't know so couldn't tell the govt, is WHY more women drive with the backs of their seats less reclined. That is because women have, proportionately, shorter arms and longer legs than men. So altho they may sit closer to the steering wheel in terms of inches, in terms of their arm length and body size, they are sitting farther away from the steering wheel. (A telescoping wheel doesn't alter the dynamics; women still have proportionately shorter arms and longer use the telescoping wheel, too.) So it's easier for your arms to rest comfortably on the steering wheel, with the seat back in a more straight position. That way, you're still able to sit far enough way from the pedals for your legs.

    Also, a poster above mentioned that it was bad posture to sit with the seat back in a less reclined position. I disagree. If you sit with your pelvis slightly angles upward (which is ergonomic), and your back fairly straight so that your spine is straight (this is not stick straight...just fairly straight), then your head will rest atop your body, and your spine, through to your neck, will be properly aligned. Your back should be supported by the seat back. That's what it's for. To sit with your back touching the seat back to mid-level, and then bending forward isn't good posture or good for your spine. Especially when you're older or have arthritis (as most middle aged people do), that's not healthy.

    I'm a 5'5" woman, of normal weight. So I'm not exactly short for a woman. Even so, the CRV headrests were murder, uncomfortable, and unhealthy for my back. My friend got in the passenger's seat, and the 1st thing she said was, "What's wrong with the headrests?" I looked at her, and her head was being forced down, as if she were looking at her lap. She's about 5'4" and normal weight.

    LAST....I think it's more than just the angle of the headrests, since the CRV was worse than others. I think it must be a combination of the shape & size of the headrests (CRVs were shaped very different from some others), with the shape and thickness of the seat back. It's the whole setup.

    Honda is very aware of this problem. They just don't care. The headrests suit most of the driving public, and it looks like quite often it's the man who makes the buying decision, so as long as the headrests suit him, Honda will still make the sale.

    I will say that I did have to take the CRV on a long test drive before I realized the extent of the problem. At first I thought I had the seat in an awkward angle, then I tried to "fix" the headrest. Until I finally realized how serious and unfixable the problem was and how much it hurt the back of my head or my neck (depending on position).

    I got a kick out of the post above, where the woman says how she ran over the headrests to straighten them out. Good idea. Something to keep in mind. But I think I'm going to try to just buy a car that doesn't have this problem in the first place. They'll all be irritating or uncomfortable to some degree, but there are cars out there where it's not as bad as the CRV. A pity. The CRV is being redesigned for 2012. I would like to think they'll make this problem less severe...but it's been this way for a few years, so.....

    Oh...I forgot to the govt articles I read on this, it was mentioned that the specs and angles for the head rests were designed for a driver of about 5'10" tall, but that the headrests have to have a LONGER range of being lifted up, to suit taller drivers. If you are much shorter than that, the govt and the mfrs know that the head rests will be a problem, unless you recline your seat back so that it is no longer supported by the seat back.

    Why the CRV headrests hurt the back of my head...when I was driving, the headrest actually pressed up against the back of my head. When I hit bumps, my head would jostle ever so slightly forward, so the the headrest was constantly jab-jab-jabbing the middle of the back of my head. The only thing close to a solution was to raise it ALL the way up, so that I no longer had the use of any headrest at all. I wonder how that would protect me against whiplash?

    One last thing...State Farm and other ins. cos. were involved in the hearings on this issue. I'm not intentionally being political when I say that the ins. cos. seem to have required these head restraints. Lot of whiplash claims.
  • I just purchased my 1st Honda, a CR-V. Love the car, but the headrests are an unbelieveably poor design! When I mentioned it on the test drive, my salesperson said I could recliine the seat and that did work. I purchased the car and things went from bad to worse. I then was holding myself up from the seat using the steering wheel. Finally, I read where someone had turned the headrest around. With my neck hurting, and now my back also, I also turned my headrest around. Wow! Relief! It's like a brand new car again! No more riding like a turtle, it's ridiculous! Honda should make an alternate headrest!
  • bpollenbpollen Posts: 11
    Sunshinegirl, I'm glad you solved your headrest problem. I've heard of people turning them around. In fact, the salesman mentioned that to me over the phone after he checked with his service people about the problem and called me back. Then he didn't mention it again, when I back to check out the headrest problem. I think he found out he wasn't supposed to recommend that. The problem with you doing that is it doesn't protect against whiplash, like it's supposed to. So if you ever do really get whiplash, your ins. claim might be denied, since you altered the whiplash protection. Some car mfrs fix the headrests so that they can't be removed, and certainly can't be turned around.

    Turning them around wasn't an option for me, since it would take away my ins. protection against whiplash. And that other poster who ran over hers with a car to straighten them out, she too probably wouldn't be able to make a claim for whiplash.

    Personally, I think that's the point of the headrests (cynical me): to lessen whiplash CLAIMS, not whiplash injuries.

    I just wish the govt had gone with the less extreme head restraints. They would have increased whiplash prevention without creating this problem for that 13% of drivers.

    I STILL haven't bought a new car. The # of vehicles for sale decreased...some sold out! So I'm waiting for the 2012 models to see what will be available. Maybe the headrest/seat system on the 2012 CRV will be better. Sure wish the CRV came with chrome door handles.
  • CRV 2011 NECK SHOULDER ROTATOR SKULL OUCH! I am 5'2" very fit with great posture..(i teach yoga zumba spin etc..)
    One day into driving off the Paragon Honda New York City Lot I noticed a dull pain in my neck...for the past 2 months I have in order of occurance...removed the head rest from the front seat and replaced it with the less forward angled one from the middle seat in the back row and WEDGED it into the holes. It seemed to work at first but NOPE! I am in agony. My neck is numb with shooting pain down my right side. I have adjusted the steering wheel, angle of back support etc... I placed a lift at my tailbone under my butt, I put a lumbar support at the base of my spine...I feel like a lunatic. It has made me feel like I need to ride my bike in the snow to get to work. I love to drive...btw..I enjoy I95 trips to Florida from New York...but this has really practically paralyzed me.:(
  • Ever consider that your neck pain has nothing to do with the CRV but is an injury from your other activities? That this happened the day after you bought the car is just too soon for the angle of the headrest to mess up the alignment of your vertebrae and nerves. At the outside it pressed on a point on your neck that was already injured, alerting you to the problem. Don't blame the messenger!
  • nseissnseiss Posts: 2
    I just bought a 2012 CRV and, like others, figured I could fix the uncomfortable headrest situation with a seat adjustment. Well, that didn't work, so I took it to my physical therapist who tried to help me adjust the seat to a level of comfort and safety. According to him, it doesn't exist! The headrest is tilted at such an extreme angle that if you adapt the seat inclination, you start losing the safety factor and you put stress on your shoulders to adjust to the distance from the steering wheel. And, unfortunately, you can't turn the headrests around...we tried. But we have adjusted the seat as well as we can and I can only hope nobody wants to drive my car and adjust the seats otherwise!
    So why are Honda and other car mfgrs. not paying attention? Surely the headrests in the past weren't so awful that they caused more problems. The headrest in my Tahoe was very comfortable to rest against when I needed to and never felt like it was in the way.
  • mammmamm Posts: 1
    I'm so glad to see other people are having problesms with the hedrest although it looks like there have not been any posts since 2010. I just bought a slightly used 2011 and have to choose between using the headrest or developing back pain. I need to find a solution. I also have thought of writing to honda or going to a dealership. The irony is that in the manual the picture of the correct position of the head fest is a linear vertical line from the back through the neck and head. Of course that is not the reality. What are people doing?
  • dtstofdtstof Posts: 61
    I think that some people have a misconception of the "head restraints" that come on the CRV. They are not headrests. They are made to protect your neck and head in case of an accident or sudden stop against whiplash. They are not there to rest your head on them while driving. My head does not touch them in a normal driving position. It tells you hoe to adjust them in the owners manual. They are adjusted for safety.
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