Cars With Heated Seats: Should You Buy One?

Consider these tips before checking that option box at the dealership.


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Cars with heated seats can make your commute more pleasant. As its name indicates, this feature warms your car seat. Heated seats are often a paid option, but they're standard equipment on some models. This amenity is most commonly available for the front row, but some cars provide heated rear seats as well.

How Do Heated Seats Work?

Heated seats use technology similar to that found in electric blankets and hair dryers. A long strip of material called a heating element is at the heart of this device. When electricity flows through this element, it's converted to heat. This heat warms the seat and the person occupying it.

What Prevents Heated Seats From Getting Too Hot?

With heated seats, the maximum temperature varies from model to model. Carmakers list maximum temperatures ranging from 86 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cars with heated seats have thermostats that are designed to prevent this feature from getting too hot. The thermostat keeps track of the temperature in the seat cushion. When the cushion reaches a certain temperature, the thermostat sends a signal that turns off the heater. Once the cushion has cooled to a specific temperature, the thermostat sends another signal that reactivates the heat.

How Do You Clean Heated Seats?

If a car's heated seats have leather upholstery, clean them as you usually would, with one difference: Warm the seats before you begin cleaning. The warmth will soften the leather and allow the cleaning and conditioning to be more effective.

What about cars with heated seats that have cloth or vinyl upholstery? Clean those seats as you normally would. You can use tools like a brush, rag, or steamer to get the job done.

How Are Heated Seats Used?

Primarily, heated seats provide warmth in frigid weather. By delivering gentle heat to your flanks, back, and shoulders, this amenity can help you feel more comfortable on chilly days. Heated seats can be a blessing if you live in a part of the country that experiences cold winters.

Also, there's a secondary use for heated seats: They can provide temporary relaxation for back and shoulder muscles when you’re behind the wheel.

Which Cars Offer Heated Seats?

The list of cars with heated seats is extensive and diverse, and this feature appears across all vehicle categories. You'll find heated seats in mid-size sedans like the Mazda6 and sports cars like the Chevrolet Corvette. It's present in electric cars like the Chevrolet Bolt EV and hybrids like the Toyota Prius. You can even find this feature offered in some of the less expensive new models on the market; it's optional in cars like the budget-friendly Chevrolet Spark.

Should You Buy a Car With Heated Seats?

So, are heated seats a good idea?

Cars with heated seats are great if you live in a frigid part of the country, providing warmth that can make even your winter travels more pleasant. And in hotter regions where the temperature drops at night, heated seats keep you toasty when the sun goes down. Finally, this amenity is excellent if you have back or shoulder pain since the heat it provides can soothe sore muscles.

This feature is popular with consumers for good reasons—it can add moments of spa-like comfort to your daily commute. Consider your local climate and personal circumstances when deciding if heated seats are right for you.

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Warren Clarke
A car purchase is a big decision. And once you've made the purchase, you'll be faced with countless other choices that will affect your ownership experience one way or another. Throughout my career in the automotive industry, I've written everything from vehicle reviews to articles covering topics such as car insurance and leasing. My mission is to help you make the best decisions regarding your vehicle.