When the temperature starts to drop, those who decided to invest in heated seats for their vehicle are likely glad they decided to make the purchase. Typically found as an optional feature on high-end luxury vehicles, heated seats are becoming more common, especially among drivers who live in the colder states. There's nothing quite like getting to the car after walking through the cold and settling into a seat that's nice and toasty. But how exactly does this feature work?
Essentially, the technology used to make heated seats is similar to that used in heating pads, electric blankets and hair dryers. The key to these products is that they all use electricity to produce heat, which is obviously different than simply striking a match. Instead, heated seats and similar products use electric resistance in order to generate heat.
The heating element of the car is made of a material that is naturally resistant to electricity. The idea behind these devices is to send an electric current flowing through the material, which is then resisted. The confrontation between the electricity and a resistant material results in energy being produced, which is given off as heat. In a car, this material is lined underneath the seat, so that it can travel upwards to the driver.
To control this, the electric current operates on a type of switch known as a relay, much like other electrical features of the car. When the relay is closed, electricity will flow through the resistant material and heat the driver. This is why the owner of the car can control the seat heating with the flick of a switch - they're opening or closing the relay when they do so. Often, the driver will be able to hear an audible clicking noise when they press this switch. If the heated seating is not working, it's possible that the relay is at fault - if drivers no longer hear the clicking noise, they've likely located the source of the problem.
Another aspect of car seat heating systems is the thermostat. Because the process being used to generate heat is natural, there's nothing that would prevent it from getting too hot. This is why a thermostat is used to automatically turn off the relay if the temperature becomes dangerously high. If you feel that your seat is getting much hotter than it used to, or have ever felt uncomfortable due to the heat, then you may have a faulty thermometer that needs replacing - and the heat seating should not be used until you do so.