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Heated Car Seats Or No Heated Seats?

By raccars Published

Are Heated Front Seats Better Than Non-Heated Seats?

We Brits love our creature comforts and that doesn’t stop when we get into our cars. Through the years, cars have, of course, become more and more comfortable, with high-tech air conditioning and heating systems placating the outside elements.

But what about heated seats? Are they worth the money? Should business buyers choose them? Is it just a hassle worth not having? We answer all of those questions and more below.

Heated Seats - What Do You Need To Know?

heated seats - Button

● Can be nice for aching backs

● High end models are expensive to repair

● Work economically in electric vehicles

● The heating element could burn out, meaning a trip to the main dealer

● Instant warmth on those chilly winter mornings

● Business drivers need to be wary of adding too many options as they are taxed on the overall value of the car

Having standard seats will certainly leave you colder in the morning, although there are other things to consider when comparing the two options that we will cover. But first of all, when did heated seats turn up in the first place?


There is some debate as to when heated seats were first introduced, but the likelihood is they were patented by Robert Ballard of General Motors between 1951 and 1955.

But it was the Swedish manufacturer, SAAB, that first fitted production cars with proper electronically-heated seats rather than heated pads and that was on the SAAB 99 in 1972. The technology has changed since then and is much more affordable, which brings us to the next question.

Are Heated Seats Expensive To Buy?

Although heated seats were initially fitted on cars at the higher end of the market, there are models from all classes that feature the system these days. You will also find it as an optional extra in a winter pack. View hundreds of used cars that have the option of heated front seats on RAC Cars.

Furthermore, used cars that have heated seats often have a number of other added extras.

So in many ways having heated seats on a used car means you could also be paying for a full package, including electric windows, satellite navigation and alloy wheels, in most instances.

Is Running Heated Seats Cheaper than Normal Heating?

Yes, the reason being is that heated seats run off of your alternator while normal car heating is powered by the engine.

Your clever alternator automatically uses electricity to warm up your nice heated seats. This means you will find that your seats are hot even without the engine fully turned on, because they use stored electricity. However, if you turn the heating up full blast then your engine is actually burning fuel to keep you warm.

Top tips

Gear stick - Top tip

Cars are becoming more complicated by the day and we, as consumers, demand all the new and exciting features, and because heated seats have been around for a number of decades they have evolved considerably over the years.

What was once an on/off switch now often has three heat settings to choose from, and on more upmarket models, seat cooling is also a possibility. Some seats can even massage your back in the more luxurious cars.

But more complicated on-board technology could mean there is more scope for faults and that can be expensive. As far as seat heaters are concerned, the fault may be simple such as a replacing a fuse, but it could run into the hundreds if upholstery needs pulling apart.


Clearly some countries experience months with freezing sub-zero temperatures and for those drivers a little seat heater warmth is an understandable necessity. But here in the UK, they are really only necessary for a few weeks of the year at most. That said; they can be wonderful on cold, chilly mornings or when you are feeling a few aches and pains. The choice really is down to the individual concerned.

Find your next used car with heated seats on RAC Cars today.

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