Are Heated Car Seats Worth It?

Getting into your car on a cold winter day is often an exhilarating experience. If you live in one of the colder regions of the United States, you may have already slipped on some icy sidewalk, scraped frost from your windows, and possibly had your car door frozen shut. But even if you live in a moderate climate, unless you have heated seats, you still understand the refreshing jolt of sitting on a cold car seat to begin your commute. But are heated car seats worth it?

What is the point of heated seats?

A dialed car seat heater control is shown on max setting.
The seat heater control on the 2016 Audi TT coupe | Christopher Evans, MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

According to Progressive, there are some compelling reasons to have heated seats in your car. The primary benefit is comfort. When starting your car during cold weather, the seat elements work quicker than the car’s primary heat source and supply warmth directly to your backside. 

Some cars feature independently controlled heaters, allowing separate temperature control for passenger and driver seats. The ability to make one seat warmer than the other ensures comfort for both parties. However, some people may not enjoy the sensation. Therefore, independent controls allow either seat to remain unheated if desired. 

Increased resale value is the final benefit. This is a popular option when buying a new car, so not having them could hurt the resale value of your vehicle when you decide to sell it.

Which cars come with heated seats?

Originally, only luxury vehicles had the option of heated seats. But as the option gains popularity, it becomes available in a diverse segment of automobiles. As a result, the latest generation of new cars includes more models than ever with either an option or includes them as standard equipment. But, at least for now, you’ll likely need to choose a model higher than the base trim of most vehicles to enjoy the advantages.

Can you add heated seats to an existing vehicle? 

If your car doesn’t have heated seats, don’t despair, you can add them to your existing vehicle. However, according to Progressive, buying them aftermarket could set you back $300 to $500 per seat, including installation. One way to save money is to install them yourself. But according to D&S Automotive, unless you are mechanically skilled, it’s a process best left to professionals. 

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Should you buy a car with heated seats?

Contrary to all the benefits of heated seats, there are also some potential problems. Besides the obvious risk of broken switches, blown fuses, and busted heating elements causing your heated seat to fail, there is also the risk of a fire caused by a malfunctioning heating system. In extreme cases, overuse could result in skin rashes, lesions, or burns.

Since these risks are rare, the benefits outweigh them for most people. And considering the expense of adding aftermarket heated seats, it’s a good idea to take advantage of this option when purchasing your next car.