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You know that feeling when you step inside your car from the freezing cold, fire up the engine and realise that your heated car seat has broken? So many drivers rely on the warmth of a good quality heated car seat. The heat from the seat warms your back and bottom and makes for an altogether more comfortable drive…until it breaks.

When you take your heated car seat to the garage to be repaired, you will find that the cost of repair will vary according to the type of vehicle which holds the seat and also the specific problem that you have. Often, the car seat will have to be removed to identify the issues causing it to stop working.

You can save time and money however, by performing some simple checks yourself.

Here are our top heated car seat repair tips:

The Fuse

More often than not, it’s the heater element in a car seat that prevents it from working and not the heater switch. The frustrating thing, is that in order to check the heater element, you’ll have to dig out your tools and carefully take apart the seat. There are a number of vital checks you can do in the meantime that will save time and energy, the most important check being the fuse. Often overlooked, the fuse can be the difference between a working product and something that is completely kaputt. When your heated car seat fails to work, then the first thing you should do is to check that the fuse hasn’t blown. If it has, then all you need to do is to simply replace it.

The Plug

Once you have checked the fuse to ascertain whether it has blown, the next stage is to check the electrical plug. You will find the electrical plug located underneath the seat, where it plugs into the wiring harness. The first thing that you’ll need to look out for is dirt in the plug sockets or any type of corrosion that may prevent the electrics from working. These might seem like rudimentary checks, but they may save you from expensive repair work in the long run. If the plug seems clean and free of corrosion, then you can turn the car’s ignition to “on” in order to check that there is power in the electrical plug. If the plug seems ok and has power, then unfortunately the problem is elsewhere in the seat itself.

The Electrics & Pins

You will need an electrical tester for this part of the check, where you’re testing to see if there’s continuity between the plugs. You should be able to find three pins in the wiring harness located under the seat and you should use your continuity tester to test to see if there is continuity between the pins, If there is no continuity then you can be sure that there’s an electrical problem. While you are here, you can check with your electrical tester, to see if there is the correct amount of voltage coming from both sides of the switch. There should be 12 volts coming from both sides of heated car seat switch when the switch is on. Any inconsistencies here will suggest that there is a problem with the heated car seat switch which isn’t the norm in this situation.

Related Post: Best Heated Car Seat Covers

The Thermistor

Once you have determined that the problem isn’t the fuse, plug or main electrics, it’s time to start looking a little deeper into the problem and locate the thermistor in the seat. Firstly, you’ll need to carefully remove the seat cover and find the location of the thermistor. The job of the thermistor is to keep the seat’s heat at the correct temperature, so take a look at this area for burns where the wire connection may have burned out and also smell the area too. It may seem like a strange thing to do, but if you detect a burning smell, it could locate you to the main problem. If the thermistor has shifted out of place and isn’t in its correct location, then it won’t be able to sense the correct temperature and heat the car seat properly. At this stage, you could replace the wire connected to the thermistor or solder the wire together to repair and don’t forget to place electrical tape over the joint to keep it extra secure.

If you’re unsure where the thermistor should be located, you can check your car user manual. If you don’t have this, then you could research the make and model of your vehicle online to see where the correct position should be. Don’t forget: if the thermistor is in the wrong position it may have burned out the wire and stopped the heated car seat from working. So, this is an essential thing to check.

The Heating Element

If you have checked all of the above and everything is looking ok, then it looks as though it may be the heating element causing the issues in your heated car seat. Unfortunately the source of heated car seat problems is more often than not, the heating element. This is largely due to the fact that the heating wire that actually heats the car seat is fragile and therefore susceptible to breakages.

In order to determine whether it’s just a section of the element or the entire element that is causing the root problem, then you’re going to need an ohmmeter. Remember a good healthy wire will measure resistance on the meter. If the element is broken, then it’s going to need replacing.

Fixing a heated car seat can be a simple or complicated task depending on the root source of the problem. If you’ve checked the main electrics in your car, the plug and the fuse. Then had a good look at the thermistor and the heating element and identified a problem there, then unfortunately it might be actually cheaper to replace the heated car seat.

Sources:

  1. Troubleshooting a Heated Car Seat – It Still Runs
  2. How to Repair Heated Seats – Advance Auto Parts

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