Removal of GM Headrest (i.e. Pontiac Sunfire) without Tool J 42214

Many GM vehicles have a hidden latch to remove the headrest (i.e. there is no button) – so it appears that the headrests are impossible to remove such as for the installation of sweet seat covers with skulls on them. ┬áHere is a great set of instructions if you own the Headrest removal tool (J 42214).

Note this is a 2000 Pontiac SunFire with cloth seats I am working on – that is Brent’s first car – so I am less concerned about cosmetics. If you have a 2010 Cadillac CTX with leather seats – I would go to the dealership instead of using this technique and ending up with a giant tear in your leather seats!.

Of course if you are installing aftermarket seat covers from AuoZone with skulls on them in a 2010 Cadillac CTX – it raises some questions broader than just whether or not to purchase a headrest removal tool.

But of course, I did not want to wait until a $72.00 tool was available to install $20.00 seat covers with skulls on them – so I just went after it with a screwdriver and needle nose pliers. The secret is in the image at the right (click on the image for a larger version) that shows the detail of the locking spring and how you are *supposed* to pop the spring off using the special tool.

If instead you use a screwdriver and work down the seat cover and padding about 1/2 inch you will see the clip. Using a combination of the screwdriver and pliers you can remove the clip (on both sides of the headrest support) and pop off the headrest.

The number 3 is toward the front of the car – the image suggests that you pop the spring from the back using the special tool while lifting the headrest – and if you are really good – maybe this will work for you . But what I did was used my screwdriver at (2) and pulled it towards the front of the car and then took the spring off completely with a needle nose pliers and then everything becomes easy.
It is far easier to put the spring clips back in with the headrests off since you may need to get the clip all the way back in by using a screwdriver inside the tube to push the clip outward (near 3) in order to completely seat the spring before reinstalling the headrests.

So you install your totally sweet seat covers with skulls on them, and pop the headrests back on!