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Old 12th December 2013, 15:25   #1
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Default VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement

Dear members, I need some inputs from some of you, for a very simple DIY work - replacing/swapping the head-restraints of the rear seat. Please help me out!

The head-restraints of the Polo’s rear seat blocks the vision from the interior rear view mirror to a large extent. As such, the small IRVM offers a very narrow view and these head-restraints add salt to the injury. Present situation is this:

VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement-img_2813.jpg

Ideally, one would expect the rear seat to have the inverted L-type design for the head-restraints which is how it is for the Polo variants sold abroad. Like this:

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Unfortunately, the Indian variants of Polo and Vento both, have the regular design for the head-restraints which are used for the front seats. I believe that replacing these will aid in removing the blockage to a good extent. An after-market clip-on mirror would improve the overall view as well but that is for a later date.

From what I figured out, swapping the head-restraints is easy provided:

1. The distance between the centers of the 2 stainless steel rods are the same. For the Polo it is 150 mm.

2. The notches are on the right stainless steel rod, if the headrest is viewed from the front or the head side.

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I have narrowed down a list of few cars which offer these inverted L-type head rests for the rear seat.

1. Honda Jazz
2. Suzuki Swift - checked with a colleague who has the pre-facelift Swift, distance between the rods is 100 mm so doesn’t fit.
3. Hyundai i10
4. I10 Grand
5. Fiat Punto
6. Chevy Beat
7. Nissan Sunny

If any one of the members own any of the cars listed above, please do me a favour - measure the distance between the 2 rods and let me know the location of the notches. A snap would greatly help in this regard. If I can find a suitable replacement, I can ask the relevant service center for a pair.

If you have any further suggestions in this regard, please let me know. Many thanks in advance!

PS: Color of the headrest is not a big concern. Can get it redone to match my car’s upholstery if the need be.
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Old 12th December 2013, 16:42   #2
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Default re: VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement

I just checked the second row seats of my Ertiga which has L type head restraint and found that to have a gap of 100mm like most of the Maruti models. I guess, that would remain the same in all of their cars.

While walking away from my car in the parking lot, I also felt most of the Hyundai cars too were 100mm but Scorpio and Xylo "appeared" to have wider distance (more than 100mm) between the headrest struts.

Unfortunately, I don't recall if anyone at work own/drives a Scorpio that I could ask for the keys and measure but this should be sufficient hint. Xylo too employs L type headrests for second and third row seats.

Additionally, and if you may want to do that, provided your upholstery fella executes a clean job, is to integrate the head restraints for the rear seats with the OE seat and then put a new cover over it.

It should be done in such a way that the block which is placed above the rear seats fit perfectly well to act as a head restraint rather than a piece of foam hanging lose. Essentially, only pasting this over the OE foam would ensure a perfect fit.

Last resort with a lot of patience would be to retain the Struts from your OE headrest for the rear seats, open it up, isolate the struts and ask your upholstery fellow to design a L-shaped head restraint and simply integrate the OE struts to the DIY Head restraints.

That way you need not worry about width, notches on a particular side and can get a shape and size of your choice the way you cut the foam.

Attaching a few pics on how the head restraints struts appear when opened.

(All images from google search and owned by respective sites)

VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement-headrest_01.jpg

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Last edited by paragsachania : 12th December 2013 at 16:46.
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Old 12th December 2013, 20:13   #3
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Default re: VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement

Thanks for the inputs Parag. Much appreciated.

I do not have any connections with the local upholstery guys here but that's okay I can always ask around and find some. But as of now, I do not want to get the stock headrests modified to the L-type. The car is barely 2 months old! Moreover, it appears that the L-type headrests require a special frame over which the foam is enclosed. Such as this one:

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Old 12th December 2013, 20:24   #4
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Default re: VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement

I am also convinced with paragsachania. Even if you get the head restraint of xylo or Scorpio, you will still have do some modifications. Then why not do it with the existing ones. Moreover, if you are able to find a right guy, the fitting will be more neat. You can do some research in the local market which manufactures seat covers and I am sure you will be able to get this done.
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Old 12th December 2013, 20:41   #5
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Default re: VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement

Buy one set of Polo rear seat restraints from VW itself and work on it either by yourself if you are particular for a DIY job or get it done at any competent car accessory/upholstery shop.
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Old 12th December 2013, 21:04   #6
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Default re: VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement

Gannu, did a quick check on my Punto.

Good news is, the distance between the two rods is about 150mm. But bad news is, they do not have those notches on the right (when viewed from the front), probably because they are not removable like the front head rests. The front one had the notches. I guess this would be the case with most cars you have listed.
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Old 12th December 2013, 22:13   #7
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Default re: VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement

No expert in these situations, but another option you could explore are folding head rests. The Kizashi comes with those in the back seat and they are a huge boon.
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Old 13th December 2013, 11:01   #8
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Default re: VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement

While the height adjusting rear head rests seem to be a good idea, is it really practical to keep on asking the rear occupants to push the headrests back to the lowest setting every time?

So it is assumed that for the height adjustable head rests to give proper rear visibility it should be more or less at its lowest setting.

Would not it be much simpler to get an upholstery guy to design an integrated head rest and put some custom seat covers over it?

An alternative you could consider is rear cameras. Have you given it a thought?
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Old 13th December 2013, 11:41   #9
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Default re: VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajeev k View Post
Buy one set of Polo rear seat restraints from VW itself and work on it either by yourself if you are particular for a DIY job or get it done at any competent car accessory/upholstery shop.
VW’s spare parts are terribly over-priced! I think the Jetta’s head rests might fit but I shudder to think of its pricing!

Moreover, Polo's rear head rests have a regular design for the frame as posted in the pics above. A simple U-frame will not cut it. We need an angled U-frame like this (quickly modeled it on Solid Edge):

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRIV3R View Post
Good news is, the distance between the two rods is about 150mm. But bad news is, they do not have those notches on the right (when viewed from the front), probably because they are not removable like the front head rests.
Thanks Adi! Appreciate the help.

Are you sure they cannot be removed from the seat? I mean there must be a way these are inserted into those slots on top of the rear seat. Could you do me one last favour and ask your service adviser if the head rests are available separately? Notches can still be made on the SS rod using an angle grinder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by revintup View Post
While the height adjusting rear head rests seem to be a good idea, is it really practical to keep on asking the rear occupants to push the headrests back to the lowest setting every time?
They do not raise it anyway so they are located at their lowest setting at all times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by revintup
An alternative you could consider is rear cameras. Have you given it a thought?
A rear cam would be an overkill. This isn't while reversing the car alone but for taking a quick glance at the IRVM before attempting to overtake or changing lanes. A rear cam helps for parking the car or reversing from a tight spot.

Moreover, I do not want to drill the rear bumper for installing the cam.
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Old 13th December 2013, 11:57   #10
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Default re: VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement

Are the rear seats occupied all the time?

Even if you get the flush fit one, you need to raise it to use it effectively. When you raise them, the same problem reoccurs.

So, simple solution is to remove them and place in the boot. Use them only on long drives, that too when there are rear passengers.

Last edited by GTO : 13th December 2013 at 17:33. Reason: Correcting language errors
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Old 13th December 2013, 11:59   #11
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Default re: VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gannu_1 View Post
Dear members, I need some inputs from some of you, for a very simple DIY work - replacing/swapping the head-restraints of the rear seat. Please help me out!
Since the headrests also aid in safety, it maybe better to confirm with the ASC, or probably have the change done by them.

Makes me wonder, how much cost they’re saving by not providing a standard rear seat with the 3 headrests and 3 three-point rear seatbelts (a standard feature in Polo abroad)?
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Old 13th December 2013, 12:02   #12
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Default re: VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement

^ I agree. When it comes to head restraints, I see no reason to compromise on that as it aids immensely during sudden acceleration or jolts providing cushion to the head and preserving the neck muscles.

Either an aftermarket Headrest that matches the requirement or a custom integrated headrest is what I think should solve the problem here.
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Old 13th December 2013, 17:31   #13
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Default re: VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement

Gannu, I would first try an after-market clip on style larger IRVM. That would mostly solve the limited rear visibility issue.

If it still persists, then why not go to Ebay (or the likes) and order online? Could be cheaper than buying directly from VW.
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Old 14th December 2013, 10:42   #14
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Default re: VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by black12rr View Post
Are the rear seats occupied all the time?
During long drives no (just me and my roomie) but during the weekly trips to work, there are 2 passengers on the rear seat but they aren't too tall so the head-restraints aren't raised.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
Makes me wonder, how much cost they’re saving by not providing a standard rear seat with the 3 headrests and 3 three-point rear seatbelts (a standard feature in Polo abroad)?
I cannot understand why VW has to make do with these cost cutting practices!

The rear seat head-restraints reduced to 2 and the same design as that of the front seats, absence of ISOFIX anchors, absence of warning beeps and indication in the instrument cluster if the driver seatbelt is unfastened, absence of height adjustments for the front seat-belts, ORVMs lack turn indicators, the MFD in the instrument cluster is a cramped one compared to the ones that retail abroad. There could be more!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swanand Inamdar View Post
Gannu, I would first try an after-market clip on style larger IRVM. That would mostly solve the limited rear visibility issue.
Thank you for the suggestion. Got myself an aftermarket clip-on mirror from a local accessory shop yesterday evening. Paid Rs. 650 and looks like Amazon is retailing it for 16 USD (link). From a Japanese company (Napolex) but the mirror is Made in China as the packaging suggests. Good build quality and the clamps are rugged.

Some snaps:

VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement-wp_20131213_20_51_16_pro.jpg

VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement-wp_20131213_20_52_33_pro.jpg

VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement-wp_20131214_08_29_45_pro.jpg

Now the view is a lot more wider than I had expected. I can see my own face while driving - a bit too much!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swanand Inamdar
If it still persists, then why not go to Ebay (or the likes) and order online? Could be cheaper than buying directly from VW.
I noticed a few eBay UK links retailing these rear seat headrests for some 50 pounds! That is too much.

Let me see if I can do some DIY. We have some 8-12 mm SS316 tubes used in the ships being built here for the high pressure hydraulic piping lines. If I can manage to salvage some, I can get them bent as per the desired shape. The upholstery guy can fix some foam/cushion into that. Let me see.
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Old 14th December 2013, 13:24   #15
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Default re: VW Polo (2010 - 2013) : Rear head-restraint replacement

Strike Sunny off your list. Centre Distance is ~ 125 mm
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