Heated seats are a luxurious feature found in many vehicles today. However, putting seat covers on heated seats can damage the seat heaters if you're unaware of a few important things first. Before installing seat covers on your heated seats, you should know some key things to prevent issues down the road. Making sure you choose the right seat covers, understanding how the heaters work under the covers, and taking proper precautions will help ensure your heated seats continue to provide warmth and comfort for a long time. With the right knowledge and care, you can keep your heated seats safe and cozy even with an extra layer of cushioning.

Safety Concerns When Using Seat Covers

Some important safety considerations for heated seat covers are fire hazard risks and reduced air circulation. The temperature generated by the seat heaters could be a potential fire threat, particularly if the seat covers do not offer proper insulation. Poorly-fitted or inferior-quality seat covers may not effectively block the heaters, leading to excessive heat and causing smoking or flames. Therefore, it is advisable to select seat covers that have been specifically designed and tested for use with heated seats.

Seat covers can also restrict airflow and prevent the heaters from cooling properly. Since the heaters continue to run even when you turn off the seat setting, cooling vents and airflow around the heaters are important for avoiding damage. Seat covers that have been cut or have large, open installation seams will not block airflow adequately and could allow heat to build up to hazardous levels under the covers, reducing the long-term safety and performance of the seat heaters. Safety should be the top priority when determining how to cover your heated seats.

Compatibility with Heated Seats

For seat covers to work properly with heated seats, they must be designed and built to be compatible. Some key considerations include the seat covers' material, thickness, and heat resistance. Materials safe for heated seats typically include cotton, wool, and proprietary heat-resistant fabrics. Leather seat covers can also work well if they are rated as safe for high heat. Seat covers that are too thin may not provide enough insulation, while those that are too thick can prevent heat from reaching the seats effectively.

The seat covers should also allow heat to pass through while blocking cold. They must be porous enough for the heat to travel from the heaters to the seats but dense enough to trap heat and keep it close. Seat covers that completely seal off the seats from the heaters will not keep the seats warm. Most vehicle manufacturers or aftermarket recommend a thickness between 1/4 to 1/2 inch for the best results.

Testing the seat covers before the full installation is also a good idea. Place a few inches of the cover over a section of the heated seat to ensure it is getting adequately warm. If not, the cover may not be compatible, and another option should be chosen. You can keep your seats toasty without damage with a high-quality, properly insulated seat cover designed for heated seats.

Black Car Seat Cover

Maintaining Heating Functionality with Seat Covers

Even once compatible seat covers are installed on your heated seats, it takes additional care and maintenance to ensure the heaters operate properly underneath the covers. Some key tips for keeping your heated seats heated include:

  • Check seat cover seam seals regularly. Seam seals and stitching prevent heat from escaping and drafts from getting underneath the covers. Inspect seams for holes, tears, or loose areas and repair or reseal as needed.
  • Avoid crushing or kinking the covers. Ensure the seat covers remain as flat and uncreased as possible stretched over the heated seats. Crushed or kinked covers will prevent optimal heat transfer.
  • Never bend or fold back sections of the covers. Only install the seat covers fully extended over the entire heated seating surface. Bending parts of the covers back can trap heat against the seats and cause overheating.
  • Use cruise control or leave the climate on. Keeping heat circulation constant via the climate control system, heated elements on continuously, or cruise control engaged will help seat covers stay heated. Only adjust the heat setting if needed.
  • Check the heating function periodically. Once seat covers are installed, and the system is in use, place your hands on several spots under the covers to ensure consistent warmth. Adjust the heat settings as needed to provide an even, sufficient temperature.
  • Be aware of warning signs. Watch for potential issues like headliner drooping, the smell of scorching fabrics, or visible damage to the seat covers, which could indicate overheating. It is best to remove covers immediately if there are any signs of excess heat buildup.

Following these recommendations, you can continue enjoying the coziness and comfort of heated seats for a long time.

Cleaning & Maintenance

Establishing a regular cleaning and maintenance routine is important to keep your heated seat covers properly functioning. Some tips for cleaning and caring for heated seat covers include:

  • Vacuum the seat covers regularly. Use the upholstery attachment to vacuum both sides of the seat covers and remove dirt or debris. Wipe away any large spills with a damp cloth as well.
  • Spot clean any stains promptly. Treat any spills, stains, or messes on the seat covers as soon as possible to prevent them from setting in. Use a stain remover, water solution, white vinegar, or dish soap.
  • Clean the seat cover seams. Gently wipe down or vacuum the seams and stitching of the seat covers to remove any dirt buildup. This helps prevent seam tears and ensures proper heat insulation.
  • Steam clean removable covers. If your heated seat covers are removable, periodically steam cleaning them will refresh the material and prolong their use. Be sure to check with the manufacturer for washable machine guidelines first.
  • Check for damage and tears. Inspect your heated seat covers before and after each use for any holes, rips, snags, or other damage. Repair or replace covers as needed to prevent safety issues.
  • Treat stains from spills on leather or pleather. Apply a leather cleaner or conditioner to stains on leather or pleather heated seat covers and blot with a soft cloth. Let the cleaner absorb into the material as directed before buffing away.
  • Air out and fluff up the covers. Giving your heated seat covers time to air out and fluff up the filling in between uses will keep them fresher looking and more comfortable. Lightly brush, rake, or fluff the fibers with your hands.
  • Store heated seat covers properly when not in use. If your heated seat covers are removable, store them in a dry, dust-free environment, rolled or folded, to prevent creasing. This will keep them clean and ready for your next use.

Following these cleaning, maintenance, and care tips will help keep your heated seat covers looking and functioning like new for a long time.

A man washing car seat cover

Warranty Considerations

Using seat covers on heated seats might impact your vehicle's warranty coverage, so it's essential to consult your dealer or manufacturer first about their warranty policy. By doing so, you can ensure you're making an informed decision that won't inadvertently void any warranty protections for your vehicle's heated seats. Some things to be aware of include the following:

  • Aftermarket seat covers void some warranties. Many auto companies will void your warranty if aftermarket seat covers are found to be the cause of any issues with your heated seats or related components. OEM seat covers from your vehicle brand are typically safer in this regard.
  • Proper installation is key. Even with OEM seat covers, improper installation or damage to the heated seats during installation can void your warranty. Carefully following the included instructions is critical.
  • Check for any exclusions or limitations. Review your vehicle's warranty or owner's manual for information on coverage limitations or exclusion for things like wear and tear, damage caused by misuse or third-party products, etc. Seat covers could potentially fall under some exclusions.
  • Report any issues promptly. If problems develop with your heated seats after installing seat covers, notify your dealer or manufacturer immediately. Early reporting will make it more difficult for them to claim the issues were caused by the seat covers and void your warranty.
  • Removal of covers may be required for service. In some cases, seat covers may need to be partially or fully removed to diagnose and repair issues with the heated seats. This could potentially damage the seat covers, especially if not done properly. Be prepared for this possibility if bringing your vehicle in for service.
  • Check certified seat cover options if available. Some automakers offer certified aftermarket seat covers that will not void your warranty when installed according to instructions. These can provide peace of mind that your coverage will not be affected.

Following these warranty guidelines will help ensure you do not inadvertently void your coverage or face other issues due to using seat covers on your heated seats.

Customer Reviews, Comparisons, and Recommendations

Reading reviews from other customers who have installed heated seat covers can be very helpful when determining the best option for your vehicle. Consider reviews that mention factors like:

  • Fit and ease of installation. Look for covers that reviewers say provide an excellent, custom fit for their specific vehicle model and heated seats. Ease of installation without damage to the seats is also important.
  • Heat retention and compatibility. Reviews highlighting how well the covers retain heat and keep seats comfortably warm will be most helpful. Look for mentions that the covers do not prevent the seats from getting hot enough or cause excessive heat buildup.
  • Durability and tear resistance. If you want covers that will last for many uses without tearing, look for reviews indicating high durability, puncture, and snag resistance and mentions of the covers holding up well to daily use and not showing significant wear.
  • Water resistance. For covers that stand up to being sat on while wet from spills, snow, rain, or other moisture, look for reviews specifically citing how water-resistant and quick-drying the covers are.
  • Comparison to other options. Reviews that compare several heated seat cover options will help determine which may work the best for your needs. Compare differences in Fit, heat retention, durability and other factors. Recommendations of the highest-rated, most compatible options will be useful.

Some other recommendations to consider include the following:

  • OEM branded seat covers. Covers made by your vehicle manufacturer will typically provide the best Fit and be designed specifically for use with your heated seats. However, they tend to cost more.
  • Sheepskin or fleece covers. Natural sheepskin or faux shearling fleece covers are excellent at insulating and trapping heat. However, they may not be water-resistant.
  • Thicker covers for more heat, thinner for less. Lighter weight covers around 1/4 inch thick typically allow more heat to pass through, while thicker covers around 3/8 inch or more can retain more heat between seat heater cycles. Choose based on how much warmth you want.
  • Perforated or vented covers. Some covers have small perforations or vents to allow more heat and moisture to escape, which can help prevent overheating issues. These may be a good choice for very thick, insulating covers.
  • Removable covers. Removable, washable seat covers are more durable and comfortable in the long run. They can also allow access to underlying heated controls if ever needed.
Classical black seat cover in the car


In summary, several important things must be remembered before installing seat covers on your heated seats. Choosing high-quality, compatible covers designed specifically for use with heated seats will help ensure proper heat transfer and prevent issues. Safety, heat retention, and warranty considerations should also be evaluated.

Reading reviews from other customers, comparing options, and checking recommendations can help you find covers that provide warmth and comfort without complications. While aftermarket covers may void your warranty, OEM covers typically offer the most safety and compatibility. Higher quality, thicker covers tend to retain more heat, while perforated or vented options could improve breathability.

Removable, washable covers allow easier cleaning and access to controls if needed. Proper installation following all instructions is critical to prevent damage and keep your heaters and coverage safe and effective.

Regular maintenance like vacuuming, spot cleaning, and seam sealing will keep your heated seat covers looking and functioning their best. Attention to signs of excess heat buildup or damage can help avoid safety issues. With the right knowledge, precautions, and high-quality covers, you can stay cozy on cold days and enjoy the heated comfort of your seats for many miles to come.

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