At this time of year it can get pretty cold. Most of us use our cars to get to work, so we find ourselves out on cold dark mornings with a spray can in one hand and a scraper in the other. We then sit in the driver’s seat with the heater blowing cold air at the windscreen while we shiver, waiting for the last bit of cloudiness to vanish before we dare to direct it onto our legs. It’s days like these that heated seats are acknowledged as one of the best inventions in automotive history. Patented in the fifties by General Motors and first added to the spec by Saab in the early seventies, many of us will never have sat in a car with heated seats. Others who have will never go back to being without. That lovely feeling as warmth seeps up through your body, while all around is frozen by skin-piercing winter winds. What are you missing out on?
Of course, car heaters are getting better all the time, but it still feels like ages before your car is truly warmed through. And by then you’re turning into the work car park. The seat warmers are right there close to your body delivering almost immediate comfort. They’re like that rear window heater that you always wished could be replicated on the front windscreen.
Sounds Like an Expensive Waste of Petrol
Not at all. The really good thing about heated seats is they’re actually cheaper and more efficient to operate than the in-car heater. This is because your heated seats run off the alternator rather than the engine, so they’re powered by electricity that has already been produced, while the heater is burning up good petrol to keep you warm.
From a health point of view, there are pros and cons to heated seats. They’re great if you have back problems or any kind of condition that is exacerbated by the cold, although if you leave them on too long they can cause burns.
Top of the Range Accessories
For a piece of kit that’s generally associated with high-end specification models, the heated seat isn’t actually that special. It works in much the same way as an electric blanket, by using a small heating element functioning as a resistor. It’s powered by a small relay switch that sends electricity from the battery, through the element and back. This means the seat will continue to get hotter indefinitely, so a thermostat is usually fitted which turns off the relay when a set temperature is reached.
While heated seats are a staple for more expensive models, they can be retrofitted to almost any model. And being such a relatively simple device, this can be done in a day with a good-as-factory-fitted finish. Would you like to find out more? Here at Autoworld Online, our qualified technicians can fit heated seats into your vehicle and provide a six-month warranty for complete peace of mind.