Are heated seats worth it?

Heated car seats can warm your body even before your vehicle's heat kicks in. They're often worth getting if you live in a cold climate and can afford them. But it ultimately depends on your budget, the car model you have or are interested in, and the climate where you live. Heated seats come standard on many vehicles, or you can opt for a higher trim level to get them. They may also be added to used cars aftermarket.

4 min to read

Explore Progressive Answers' auto editorial guidelines to find out why you can trust the car insurance information you find here.

How do heated seats work?

Heated seats have a heating coil under the seat cover. When you turn on the heated seat, electricity from the battery flows to the heating coil in the seat cushion to warm it up. Heated seats in some vehicles have thermostats built into them to prevent overheating. The thermostat works just like the one in your home. When the cushion reaches a specific temperature, it turns off, and when the seat cools down, it turns back on until it reaches the thermostat's temperature again.

If your heated seats don't have thermostats that automatically shut them off, you'll need to turn off the seat manually before it gets too hot.

What are the benefits of heated seats in cars?

Heated seats warm the body, making car rides in cold weather more comfortable. When deciding whether heated seats are worth it, here are a few benefits to consider:

  • Comfort: Heated seats make sitting in a cold car more comfortable. They heat up more quickly than the rest of the vehicle and can keep you warm while you wait for your vehicle to heat up.

  • Potential health benefits: Driving while sitting on heated seats can soothe the aches and pains of sore muscles and encourage good blood circulation.

  • Temperature control: You can control the temperature on each seat separately. If you're cold but your passenger isn't, you can turn your heated seat on while they keep theirs off.

  • Resale value: Heated seats are an optional feature in many cars and may help improve the resale value of your vehicle when you're ready to part with it, especially as they've become a standard feature.

What are the disadvantages of heated car seats?

There can be problems with heated car seats, despite the luxurious comfort they provide. Here are some of the possible drawbacks to heated car seats:

  • Skin problems: If you use your heated seats too often or for too long, it may cause skin rashes, lesions, or burns.

  • Fire danger: If you leave the seat on for too long, and it gets too hot or malfunctions, it could even start a fire.

  • Damage to upholstery: Over time, the heat can cause leather upholstery to crack and fabric seat covers to rip, which may require upholstery repair.

  • Impacts gas mileage: Heated seats also use additional engine power, which lowers fuel economy.

Do heated seats use more fuel?

Yes, heated seats use more fuel. Heated car seats, along with the radio, headlights, windshield wipers, and defrost, draw electrical power from your alternator, which gets its power by creating increased resistance on the engine, which increases gasoline use and decreases fuel economy, according to Grist. This is on top of the significant decrease in fuel economy your vehicle may experience during cold weather.

Consider these tips for improving your winter driving skills.

What cars have heated seats?

There was a time when heated seats were only available on luxury vehicles. Today they are available on a wide range of vehicles, including sedans, SUVs, minivans, and trucks. Heated seats may come standard on the base models of many mid- and higher-end vehicles. If you choose a more affordable car, you may need to select a pricier trim level to get heated seats.

If you live in a climate with harsh winters, discover the best vehicles for driving in snow and ice, some of which have heated seats as an option.

During recent automotive supply chain issues, some new vehicles were sold without the microchips that enabled heated seats to work. If that was the case with your vehicle, you may now be able to simply have a dealer install the necessary microchip so your heated seats can work. Contact a dealer that sells your vehicle make to find out if your model was affected by the microchip shortage when you purchased it.

Can you add heated seats to a used car?

You can add heated seats to a used car. There are installation kits that let you do it yourself, depending on your vehicle. Or you can take your car to a mechanic or dealer to get heated seats added to your used car.

Quote car insurance online or give us a call

Learn more about car insurance policies.