Are heated seats worth it?

What are heated seats? Heated car seats can be a nice-to-have feature to help keep you warm on cold winter days. Previously available mainly on luxury vehicles, you can now add heated seats to many cars, trucks, SUVs, and minivans. However, you may need to upgrade your vehicle to a top-tier trim level to utilize this feature. Whether it's worth it depends on your budget, the climate where you live, and your personal preference.

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How do heated seats work?

Heated seats have a heating coil under the seat cover. When you turn one on, electricity from the battery flows to the heating coil in the 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.

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

Benefits of heated seats in cars

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.
  • 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.

Problems with heated car seats

While heated seats can make driving in cold weather more comfortable, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. There can be problems with heated car seats. If you use your heated seats too often, for too long, it may cause skin rashes, lesions, or burns. If you leave the seat on for too long, and it gets too hot or malfunctions, it could start a fire.

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 some higher-end vehicles. If you choose a more affordable car, you'll probably need to select a pricier trim package to get heated seats.

Can I add heated seats to my car?

If your vehicle doesn't come with heated seats, you can add them later. Aftermarket heated seats cost about $300 to $500 per seat, including professional installation. Or you can buy a seat installation kit and do it yourself. However, improperly installing the seat could damage the seat belt or cause a fire. Installation typically takes about an hour per seat but can vary based on the person's experience installing it.

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