Hot Pants: Installing Massaging Seat Heaters
There are all kinds of new gadgets you can get as options on a new car these days. Mirror de-fog, tire pressure monitors, you almost don’t even have to work at it anymore. In the old days, when the weather turned cold, you had to run out to the car and crank on it for a few minutes to get it to start, fire up the defrost and go back inside for twenty minutes. Eventually, the car would warm up enough to loosen the ice frozen to the windshield, allowing your plastic scraper to chip off enough for you see. It was not uncommon to see high schoolers driving down the road at 7 a.m. Ace Ventura-style (head hanging out of the window) because they were late. And yes, that is a personal anecdote. With new cars, all you have to do is grab your keys and hit the remote start. The great thing about all this new technology is that you can always add it to your older car through the aftermarket. One such technology are seat heaters.
They may not be brand-new technology, but seat heaters have not traditionally been an easy retrofit. The Check Corporation, the only OEM supplier to offer aftermarket seat-heat solutions, is changing that. Using traditional resistive-wire heaters and the newly-released PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) heaters, you can retrofit any seat with fast-acting heaters. Vintage Mustangs are not the most comfortable in terms of fighting the cold, but throw in a set of seat heaters, and you will be nice and toasty on demand. We installed a set of resistive-wire heaters into a 2005 Mustang GT under the stock seat covers. You might be surprised at just how easy it is.
Check Corporation products, unlike most everything else on the market, are USA made, so you get top quality and are supporting US workers. These are the same heaters that are used in many of the OEM cars, including all 2012 and up Cadillac models, which get the new PTC design. Because each order is custom made, you can get heaters for anything from an early muscle car to a motorcycle seat. Each heater has separate controls, in 4 levels, to adjust for your comfort. Within a few minutes of installing the seats, the surface temperature raises 10 degrees. It can take up to 5 minutes for the full increase to soak through the padding and leather. We also added Check’s massage option. The massagers are basically 4 separate motors that, when energized, vibrate with 4 levels (4 hi, 4 lo, lower on, upper on) to massage your back after a hard day’s work. They work great to ease the tension when stuck in drive-time traffic.
It took us about 2 hours to install the heater/massagers into one seat and into the car. The kit comes as a direct wire, meaning it needs to be hardwired to the car, but you could easily wire it to a plug and use the accessory port, if you are lazy. The Mustang has 12-volts right there under the seat already, which is fused and can support the amperage, so we used that. The hardest part of this job are the hog rings, which are not difficult, but you do need a set of hog ring pliers.
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