Active Headrest Overview

Some vehicles are equipped with an active headrest. These headrests are designed to move forward during a rear collision to reduce the chance of whiplash injury. Let's take a look at some of the key points when working with an active headrest and some of the resources to find information.

As always, refer to vehicle-specific service information to determine the proper repair, replacement, and reset procedures (when applicable). When inspecting a vehicle with a deployed active headrest, one of the first places to look for information is the I-CAR OEM Restraints System Part Replacement Search . The vehicle-specific search results will usually state if the active headrest can be reset, or it will identify the parts that need to be replaced.

Some active headrests are mechanical, like on the 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan. If undamaged, they "are designed with the intention of reuse."

Some active headrests may automatically reset, like on the 2010 Toyota Venza. This system uses a pressure plate in the seat back to move the headrest forward. A spring automatically returns the headrest to the original position following a rear impact.

Others use pressurized gas for activating the active headrest. A vehicle maker may have more than one type of system in their vehicle lineup. For example, the 2014 BMW 7 Series may be reset by replacing a pressurized gas cartridge (up to five times); while the active headrest on the 2014 BMW 3 Series require the complete headrest be replaced.

After a deployment, it important to determine what has to be replaced, what can be reset, what needs to be inspected, and where the repair information can be found.

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