Newer Car? Uncomfortable Headrest?

Real Estate Agent with Associate Broker, Momentum Realty

I drive a 2010 Toyota Venza.  It replaced a 2007 Audi Q7. Both of these cars have unbelievably uncomfortable seats due to the head rests. They are certainly not designed for a gal who is 5'4".

The angle of the head rest is such that no matter what position the seat is in , the head rest
Toyota Venza HeadrestsToyota Venza Reversed headrestpushes my head forward about 15º (maybe not that much, but it sure feels like it).  Driving around town it was uncomfortable. Taking a long trip, however, it was excruciating!

After one such trip, I removed the head rest and reversed it (picture to the left).  This helps the pain, but does not provide great protection if I were to be hit from the rear and needed whiplash prevention. There is a small gap between the head rest and what would be a comfortable resting place for my head. The picture on the right (attempts to) show the difference  with the way the forward and rear facing head rests are positioned.

Today, I went on-line to see if there was some sort of custom headrest or pillow that could be ordered to fill the gap and give me something padded to lean on (the reverse side of the headrest is barely padded).

It turns out that across the board, manufacturers have changed their headrest styles. I found complaints for every major car manufacturer from Ford to Mercedes about headrests pushing forward the heads of folks in the 5'2" to 5'4" height.

If you have a newer car and are having trouble with the headrest, I encourage you to complain to the manufacturer and the NHTSA. The NHTSA has a new, and easy to use website that allows you to make a complaint. If enough people complain, maybe they will require manufacturers to fix these horrible headrests (make them adjustable). These newer headrests are apparently to comply with safety rules and regulations put out by the NHTSA.

The website is If you go under the tab for Vehicle Owners you will see File A Complaint on the left side. I used the Portable Form and it was quick and easy. You need your VIN, make and model and year in order to submit a complaint.

We spend a lot of time in our cars; we deserve to have cars that are both safe AND comfortable!

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Randy Ostrander
Lake and Lodge Realty LLC - Big Rapids, MI
Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI

Are there any aftermarket headrests available. Sometimes manufactures should drive the cars they design before selling them. Best of luck getting it fixed Holly.

Feb 15, 2011 05:55 AM #1
The Stewart Team - Abdon Stewart NMLS 213207
AmeriFirst Financial Inc NMLS 145368 AZ BK #0013635 Equal Housing Opportunity - Peoria, AZ
Real Professionals Helping Real People

Sometimes all of their "safety" features get a little uncomfortable. Glad that they are at least making some effort to make them better!

Feb 15, 2011 05:55 AM #2
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

That is frustrating.  Its so fun to get a new car and its not something you plan on replacing anytime soon.  I just got a new Lincoln MKZ and love it so far.  Hopefully I won't find something that drives me nuts.  Hopefully you can figure out a good fix.

Feb 15, 2011 06:02 AM #3
Ellie McIntire
Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate - Ellicott City, MD
Luxury service in Howard County & Catonsville

What about a phone book? That works for me in restaurants with low chairs and high tables.

Feb 15, 2011 06:23 AM #4
Holly Weatherwax
Associate Broker, Momentum Realty - Reston, VA
A Great Real Estate Experience

I just ordered a headrest that can attach to the back of the seat...don't really like the look, but I would rather be comfortable at this point!

Love the idea of the telephone books, Ellie, but not sure how professional that would look when driving clients aroudn. Ha! ha!

Feb 15, 2011 06:59 AM #5
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I have had the same problem in my Ford F150 and I turned the headrest around.  Maybe it is a stupid government standard that is driving the problem.

Feb 15, 2011 01:55 PM #6

I have the same issue with my 2014 car. It's a very nice car, but the headrest is mighty uncomfortable. I ran across this web page, it shows you what it could be done to make your car headrest more comfortable:

Feb 09, 2015 11:53 AM #7
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