Can You Add Aftermarket Heated and Cooled Seats to Your Car?

Few things are more uncomfortable than a hot car during a heatwave. Leather seats turn sticky and searing, and even cloth can become uncomfortably warm in blazing-hot weather. Cold seats are no picnic either. During any extreme weather, riders may find themselves hoping for heated and cooled seats.

For those fortunate enough to have these features, cold or warm weather isn’t as uncomfortable. But for drivers whose cars don’t have existing cooled and heated seats, there may be a solution. 

What are heated, cooled, and ventilated seats?

A dog lies on a car's back seat. Heated and cooled seats can make riding in a car more comfortable.
Adding aftermarket heated and cooled seats can make riding in a car more comfortable | Nicolas Armer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Heated seats have been around for some time. They come pre-installed in many models with either cloth or leather upholstery. Although heated seats aren’t often pre-installed in entry-level vehicles, they are common even in some less expensive packages and trim levels. How do heated seats work? A long strip of metal runs in the seat. This metal is pumped with electricity, which makes it warm up, Bockman’s Autocare explains.

Cooled seats work differently and are fairly new. You’ll find them mostly in top-trim models and luxury cars. There are two types of cooled seats, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. The ventilated kind runs air through a series of chambers inside the seats. That air is pushed upward through little holes in the upholstery, like the perforations common in leather seating. Cooled seats work similarly. The air passes over a cooling element, such as a chilled piece of metal, before blowing through the upholstery’s holes.

Can you install aftermarket heated and cooled seats in your car? 

Installing aftermarket cooled and heated seats is possible but not exactly easy. These features can’t be installed in your car’s existing seats. But some companies that revamp cars’ interiors can install new seats with cooling and heating features. For instance, Katzkin sells seats with heating and cooling installed. According to Focus Daily News, aftermarket leather interiors actually cost less than factory-installed interiors of the same quality. 

There are other options available for aftermarket interiors that may provide heated and cooled seats. But when it comes to Katzkin, there’s more to it than utility. The company’s aftermarket interiors also allow personalization. They include two-tone options, fancy piping, and even custom embroidery. Though some customers might simply want cooled and heated seats, others may opt to add personal touches. Katzkin does both. 

Prices for upgrading to these special seats

Katzkin offers seats that provide heat only and seats with both heating and cooling elements. The company refers to its seats as “air-conditioned,” meaning these are not ventilated seats. Katzkin calls its system “Degreez” and claims it can be installed in any make or model with an updated interior. The company has technicians across the nation, but they’re not the only game in town. 

The price for installing aftermarket seating depends upon several factors, including location and the car’s make, model, and year. There’s also the design to consider. Installing aftermarket heated and/or cooled seats means getting a new interior, and some design prices run higher than others. Because of those factors, nailing down an average price can be difficult. But quotes are free and easy to request on the Katzkin website. 

However, if you want heated or cooled seats without modifying your car’s interior, special seat covers can also do the trick. These covers range from about $50 to $100 and can be found on Amazon, Sharper Image, and other online retailers.

RELATED: 3 Affordable SUVs With Ventilated Seats to Keep You From Sweating