Tips, Tricks & Trends

Do Seat Covers Affect Heated Seats’ Safety or Effectiveness?

It used to be that only luxury cars came with heated seats. But now, you can get a toasty driving experience in many mainstream vehicles too. And to protect your heated seats, you might want to invest in the most popular car accessories: seat covers. They’ll protect your car’s upholstery and keep the interior looking fresh. 

However, you might wonder if seat covers are OK to use on heated seats. Here’s what the experts have to say. 

The luxury of heated seats

RELATED: BMW Wants to Make Heated Seats a Subscription Service

Warming your seat with the push of a button is so popular that many consumers think the feature should be standard. According to Car and Driver, the design that provides that warmth is simple. A heating element with a series of resistors is embedded in the seat cushion. Switching on the warmer causes an electrical current to pass through the element. This makes the resistors heat up, warming the seat and improving your winter drive. 

This warmth seems so indulgent that some people worry it must be a waste of energy. But the truth is that heated seats might even save money because they use electricity instead of fuel. 

Protecting your investment with seat covers

Many car owners won’t sit on their seats without covers. They’re a great way to protect your car’s value by keeping the upholstery pristine. Seat covers are also an easy way to change the look of your car’s interior. 

As Road & Track points out, seat covers come in a wide range of prices, styles, and colors. There are simple covers that give you a different color option or heavy-duty waterproof varieties that stand up to the roughest uses. Many car owners consider seat covers a must for keeping their interior in top condition. 

But is it OK to use seat covers on heated seats?

RELATED: Do Deer Whistles on Cars Really Work?

In a recent episode of Consumer Reports’ video podcast, Talking Cars, co-hosts Jennifer Stockberger and Mike Quincy answered a viewer’s question. He wanted to know if using seat covers would affect his heated seats’ safety or effectiveness. 

Quincy assured the viewer there are no safety issues with putting a cover on heated seats. However, he said the layer between the occupant and the heat source might reduce the warmth. Quincy suggested using seat covers during the summer and removing them in the winter to ensure optimal heat transfer. 

Stockburger agreed they don’t pose any danger. She pointed out seat warmers “don’t light our Levi’s on fire,” so seat covers’ fabric should be perfectly safe. 

She also offered some good advice about seat covers in general. Be sure to select ones made for your car’s make and model. This ensures the right fit, with slots to provide proper access to seatbelt buckles. The proper covers will also give you peace of mind knowing they won’t interfere with your car’s safety systems, such as side airbags. 

Considering the popularity of heated seats and seat covers, it’s good news they can safely be used together. But to be sure you don’t miss a single degree of warmth, consider removing your covers in cold weather. And for safety’s sake, make sure they fit properly. Keeping those tips in mind will help make your vehicle cozy and comfortable