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How to Diagnose and Fix a Heated Car Seat

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The interior of the 2016 Buick Verano features heated front seats
Heated seats are a great perk to have for chilly winter drives

If you live in a region with chilly winters, heated car seats are a welcome perk to make drives more pleasant. But, like any car part, sometimes these need some repair. Follow these steps to diagnose and fix a heated car seat that isn’t working.


Heated Seat Not Working? Schedule a service appointment here


heated seats leather seats
If your heated seat isn’t working, there are a number of reasons why it’s broken, from a blown fuse to a misplaced thermistor
Photo: pxhere

Plug

One possible factor of a broken heated seat is the plug. The plug is typically located under the seat where it plugs into the wiring harness. Inspect the plug to see if there’s any corrosion or dirt in the plug sockets. If these are clean, turn on the car’s ignition to double-check that the plug has power. Use an electrical tester to verify that both sides of the switch have at least 12 volts.

Fuse

A faulty fuse is another common culprit for a heated seat that’s no longer working. If you’re not sure where your car’s fuse box is located, check your owner’s manual. Inspect the fuse box and replace any blown fuses that you discover. Fixing a blown fuse is one of the quickest and easiest ways to repair a broken heated seat.


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Thermistor

Heated seat pads are a nifty option if your car doesn’t have built-in heated seats
Photo: Amazon

Next, find and inspect the thermistor, the gadget that keeps the heated seat at the right temperature. To locate the thermistor, carefully remove the seat cover. Look for any burned areas on the seat or the vehicle’s carpet, which could indicate that the thermistor has shifted. If the thermistor isn’t in the right place in the seat, it won’t be able to sense the correct temperature.

Heating element

If the plug, fuse, and thermistor seem to be fine, then it’s time to inspect the heating element of the seat. It’s common for the heating element to be the main reason a heated seat isn’t working, simply because the heating wire that warms the seat is delicate and tends to break. Use an electrical tester to diagnose which section of the heating element is faulty. If the heating element is partially or totally damaged, you’ll likely need to replace the entire unit.