On a cold winter morning, it’s satisfying to step inside your toasty and warm car. In addition to using the heater, you can also use your seat warmers to increase your comfort. While seat warmers were once a luxury feature in higher-end vehicles, more cars are now coming with this feature as standard. In order to find out more about whether or not seat covers can be used on heated seats, read on.
How Does a Heated Seat Work?
To know more about seat covers and heated seats, it helps to know how a heated seat works. The technology is similar to an electric blanket. The heating mechanism is inside the seat to keep your legs and back warm while in the car. The mechanism is made of three different components: the thermostat, relay, and resistor. The resistor is the heating coil and it’s a long strip where the electricity flows through. The relay switch is a trigger that allows the electricity to flow from the resistor in the heated seats to the car battery. The thermostat helps prevent the system from overheating and running indefinitely. It monitors heat output and deactivates the relay when the temperature you set has been reached. When the seat cools down, it then triggers it again so you can get the seat back up to the temperature you want.
Heated Seats and Seat Covers
In order to know if you can use seat covers on heated seats, it’s best to check your owner’s manual. Some automakers do warn against replacing the seat covers on the vehicle since it may damage the warming mechanism. They may also warn you against putting anything on the seat that is going to insulate heat, such as cushions or blankets, to avoid overheating. When it comes to putting seat covers on leather seats, it’s not recommended unless the whole cover is made of fire-resistant fabrics. If you have determined that seat covers are safe for your vehicle then you need to choose covers that are designed for heated seats. These covers are usually made of fire-resistant and breathable materials that don’t absorb as much heat but still allow you to be toasty and warm. You may also want to think about getting vehicle-specific seat covers that don’t interfere with the deployment of airbags.
Finding the Right Material
In order to ensure your health and safety, finding the right material is important. A well-ventilated, porous material is recommended. Neoprene is a heavy-duty fabric that is known to withstand heat. The downside of using a thick material is that it can also affect the rate of heat transfer. Polycotton or other ballistic fabrics that are more breathable allow the seat to warm up quicker. Checking with upholstery professionals can help you find the right fabric for your needs and still be safe for your seat heater. When covering the heated seats, don’t remove the thermostat or it could cause a fire.