2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk: The Headrest Protest
by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on March 24, 2016
Headrests, or "head restraints" in automotive technical parlance, are great things, providing both recumbent comfort and mitigating whiplash injuries in rear-end collisions. And in this golden age of mobile distraction, they are no less important to have in place than a seatbelt needs to be buckled.
With that said, in vehicles like our 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, I fail to see the logic in making them a pain in the ass to remove when no "head-restraining" is required.
There's no doubt the Renegade's boxy greenhouse earns it some cargo-carrying street cred, as evidenced by both Frio's and Riswick's recent blogs. But there are still many instances where removing the headrests is useful and/or needed. For example, it avoids needing to shuffle the front seats around when folding down the rear seat backs (see Riswick's video at the 2:40 mark), it opens up additional storage space in the rear foot well area (see photo above), and it allows you to accommodate longer items like surfboards and boxes of unassembled IKEA furniture.
So why then must these headrests now "only be removed by qualified technicians, for service purposes only"? We're responsible enough to own and drive these vehicles, and buckle our own seatbelts, but are we so ill-equipped to manage the headrest situation? Since when has the spring-loaded pin and notch system become insufficient?
For those of you that share this frustration, there is a workaround which can be found on many forums and doesn't require the assistance of a "qualified technician." On the side of the headrest post that doesn't have the spring-loaded button, there is a square release that can be accessed with a pen or small screwdriver. Push this in as you pull the headrest up and voila ? headrest freedom!
And because you're all responsible people, we know we don't even have to remind you to reinstall these critical safety items when you plan to carry passengers again.
Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor @ 19,226 miles