Seat Heater Question - Need owners Help PLEASE :)

Seat Heater Question - Need owners Help PLEASE :)

I started to hijack another thread, so thought I should just start one. I am seeking info with how your seat heater works in your X. Just trying to find out what is normal and abnormal. My seat heater in driver and passenger, when I put it on 3, the seat back starts to get hot first. As it gets to the nice warm feeling, the seat then starts to warm up. As the seat gets warm, the back portion shuts off and the seat portion continues to get hot and even really hot. I eventually have to turn it down. The back in the meantime does not get warm again. Maybe on a longer trip, it cycles and starts to warm up a little, but never to the nice warm stage, but quickly goes away again. I have a service appointment tomorrow (180 miles drive one way) but just want to see what everyone else is experiencing. My S does not do this - it gets nice and warm on the seat and back and stays that way. I don't have to even turn the setting down from 3.

Thanks for any input on what you are seeing.

zanegler | 9 février 2017

I have not felt that behavior. I use mine all the time, and it seems even all the time. Hope that helps.

burdogg | 9 février 2017

Thanks zanegler - that helps a lot to know that what I am experiencing is not normal behavior :)

patswin | 9 février 2017

Mine is same as yours burdogg. Looking forward to hear what the sc says. Thanks

Model_D | 9 février 2017

Mine behaves the same as burdogg and hawkeyecustom. Keep us in the loop.

burdogg | 9 février 2017

Will do - I plan on sitting in the car with service for the 5-10 minutes it takes to do it so they can see while I am there what it does, then do the same thing when they say they fixed it to make sure before I start trecking back home ;)

Saxman | 9 février 2017

As you know I've used mine a lot in the long trips I've taken. Did not notice what you're experiencing but was not really paying that much attention.

However if mine reacted like yours I probably would have noticed.

Good luck at SC.

poloX | 9 février 2017

Burdogg, mine is a bit opposit penfrom yours but not as bad. My seat is very hot while the back is not as hot. But it could simply be because I was wearing jacket. I noticed the heaters cycle a bit slower than I would like them too. They get too hot and then not hot enough and then too hot again.

burdogg | 9 février 2017

poloX, I would think that is not normal - I will try to ask at the service center - my S gets warm and stays that way the whole time. The X cycles and I don't think it is supposed to do that.

poloX | 9 février 2017

Burdogg, heaters must cycle. Your S cycles at smaller intervals so you feel like it stays warm. My X cycle at bigger intervals so I feel it gets hot and back to cold and hot..again.

campusden | 9 février 2017

When it got down to 46 degrees Fahrenheit, I turned on my seat heater. 3 was too hot in less than 3 minutes. 2 was too hot as well, 1 was warm enough. 5 minutes later, I made it home. The heat seemed uniform.

Rocky_H | 10 février 2017

Have you tried the passenger side seat to see if it has the same behavior as the driver's side seat? That might help show if it is a wiring problem in the seat or normal behavior.

burdogg | 10 février 2017

Yes, it is both seats. It is not normal as I just drove it 180 miles to drop out off at service and on the trip, I had it set to 3 and at one point I could not get the seat to even heat up. I had to turn it off and back on to get it to heat up. Worse,I drop it off and they say we will have it ready by Monday, here is your loaner. What, I just drove 3+ goes to get here and you don't even look at it to see if it can be done today (dropped off at 11). Not to mention that the loaner is an old school 85 (no, not performance, just plain 85, no autopilot or tacc for that matter, old leather seats, not next Gen. To be honest, I would rather be in my 75D S. I was not happy obviously and I am making sure they get my X to me,I am not driving 6+ hours again to pick it up for a problem that was delivered to me this way.

burdogg | 10 février 2017

Sorry - i should at least be grateful that I got a S loaner - which I am, just a very long trip - 180 miles as stated one way. Stopped to supercharge, because thought I would be picking the car back up and have to supercharge before get to service so I can make it back to the same supercharger (can't go to service and back to the supercharge on one full charge). So spent 20-30 minutes charging - a little longer than needed to be safe, only to then have I-70 shut down on me (if I would have only charged for 10 min, I would have missed the shutdown), so have to sit on the interstate for over an hour. So, long trip in only to have them act like all along it was going to be Monday before anything would be completed (even though on the phone with them, I specifically asked about being able to do it while I was there that day, hence the early appointment, and they said they would hope so but it would depend on if they needed to order parts.) So without looking at it, what changed? grr. Ok, rant over. long driving day, hopefully this isn't how service always goes - I have heard ups and downs - lots have great service, some have crappy - me - it is mixed :) (Oh, and I had to schedule 5 weeks ago for this appointment today).

burdogg | 11 février 2017

@zanegler - Can you explain how your seat heater works? Does it stay on the whole time? I just saw my invoice and they said there were no diagnostic error codes and they tested my seat and compared to another car (don't know if X or S) and said it was operating as normal. It is far from normal, so just seeking input on what your seat heater is doing?

Saxman - a little help here - do you use your seat heaters and if so, how do they function on 3 - do they stay on the whole time? Does it heat up then back shuts down and the seat stays extremely warm? How does yours function?

Just looking for some real world usage out there - this is NOT how my S works, and if this is really how they have changed the seat heater function for the X - it makes it not as nice - the back is where I really like the heat and mine is not able to maintain any heat over time.

Thanks all for your comments on what you are facing with the seat heaters.

Triggerplz | 11 février 2017

Burdogg I never used my seat warmer but I went to the garage in PJ's and a T shirt and cut it on number 3, the back is warm but not as warm as the seat I'm sitting in it now and it's been about 8 minutes so far it's still on, even when I touch the passenger seat I can feel the seat is much warmer than the seat back, matter of fact these PJ's are heated up real nice I may have to set it on 2 while I'm sitting here as I want to wait a little while to see if it's shuts off, I think I'll leave it on 3 changing it to 2 may make the timer start over and I wanna see how long it will stay on

Triggerplz | 11 février 2017

After about 20 minutes in the car with it on 3 the seats still warmer than the seatbacks but the seatback are still warm, I also sat in the back seat same thing

Triggerplz | 11 février 2017

By the way the steering wheel is warmer than the seatbacks

burdogg | 11 février 2017

Interesting Triggerplz - thank you so much for doing that - I appreciate it. I do know that my seat gets way warmer than the back, but the back definitely cuts out on mine, and then cycles. So that helps a lot. Thanks again! (I owe you)

Triggerplz | 11 février 2017
TSammy | 13 février 2017

Is seat heating affected by 'range mode' like cooling is???

burdogg | 13 février 2017

I don't know but I don't believe i am in range mode (don't have my x with me to verify). I never use range mode, so it would have had to come with range mode set to on which is possible but would be weird.

I also don't think range mode would affect the seat heaters, as that is how you save energy, use seat heaters to stay warm and don't use the heater. I will have to look into that thought though :) Thanks Alex.sammy for commenting :)

Saxman | 13 février 2017


I just saw your request for my input...have not been ignoring you. We've had visitors here skiing and not spending much time on forum.

I have not been driving my X lately, but if memory serves, setting stays at 3 until I switch it off. | 14 février 2017

@burdogg - When you return to the service center (assuming you haven't picked up your car), why not try a Model X in the showroom and see if it acts the same or different? In my S, the heat remains until you turn it down or off, but the X may be different.

burdogg | 14 février 2017

TT - unfortunately, they don't have the showroom at the same place as the service center. We also don't plan on making the trip all the way back to pick it up - it is a 7 hour trip, so we are asking that they come our way this time, as there were some repairs done from the way it was delivered. (if anything, we will meet part way).

I talked to them again and they said they supposedly had an X in for service with similar vin and the white seats and were going to test the two to see if they did the same thing. The problem I see is, there are some on here having the same thing as I am, and there are some that are not. My S is like yours too - which is what made me wonder if it is was normal or not (as I thought the same as you, maybe they have different reasons for doing it differently on the X)

Anyway, hope to hear back today from them.

PedanticOne | 14 février 2017

The best thing about Tesla is the build consistency.

burdogg | 14 février 2017

Well - got word back that supposedly compared to two other vehicles, this is normal operation. I really have a hard time believing this, and odd to me that the only way to know if this is normal or not is to compare it to another vehicle around?? Wouldn't you think that contacting headquarters or something would be the best way to know what normal operation to expect? I mean, they designed the system and how the seat heaters should work, shouldn't they be able to tell you what is normal and what is not. This, well lets compare it to another one, makes no sense - this is what I would expect from a Nissan dealership dealing with a Ford car - they don't make Fords. We are dealing with the same company here. odd. | 14 février 2017

@burdogg - Sorry I was sitting in an X at Tesla earlier today and didn't think to test the seat heater as it's warm here today.

Another thought is the operation may change depending on the seats types. There are cloth and leather seats - and perhaps some with and without perforations. I know the Model S has at least two different seat manufacturers over time, so that might be a factor too, although I think the X seats are all from the same vendor.

Saxman | 14 février 2017


I don't have any long drives planned over 15-20 minutes.
Tell me how you would like me to simulate your experience and I'll do it for you.

burdogg | 14 février 2017

@TeslaTap: Drats :)

I wonder if there is a difference in the heaters with different types of seats - as I have the white which are not true leather. So it made me wonder if they function differently than say Triggerplz who has the black leather. It would be odd though, because the seat itself gets really hot and stays that way, whereas the back starts to get hot, then stops. It may try to cycle back on, but does not last enough to even really get hot, maybe a normal 1 setting heat, before it stops again.

It is too bad because the S works like a charm, nice and warm the whole time, which helps when you are trying to not run the heater. The X is not the same which is what has had me confused - but could be different vendors for the S seats and the X. So many questions, it would be nice to be able to talk to whoever is manufacturing them and ask them what is really normal :)

Saxman | 14 février 2017

I have to believe that Tesla sets the specs for whatever manufacturer they contract with to make seat heaters.

Some design engineer at Tesla Corporate should know the answer.

burdogg | 14 février 2017

Yeah, I talked to my service rep and asked him to run it up the line but he didn't sound too hopeful on hearing anything back. You would think they would have the ability to discuss stuff with higher ups that know :) (Again, my service rep really doesn't know, just no error codes found and in "testing" with another 2 X's there, they conclude it is normal - nice and scientific right :)

So, I plan on trying to contact Tesla on my own and try to run it up some way around the service center and see if I can get an answer as to what is normal :) | 14 février 2017

Sounds like a plan. Do you have perforations or not?

Since the white seats are some kind of plastic, I wonder if you leave the heat on the vertical section it might get so hot that the plastic at the top of the heated area (where it would get hottest) loses shape or might melt? Might explain the difference others are seeing with leather seats and the Model S leather. The Model S only very recently has the White seat option, so I doubt anyone in the forum has those yet.

burdogg | 14 février 2017

No perforated - Interesting thoughts there too TeslaTap - It seems odd that it is malfunctioning as what really controls the heated seats? You would think the software so there would be some kind of error tripping it or something. It isn't like the hardware doesn't work at all - it does warm up, but then it is like blows a fuse - except it works again later, or if you turn the whole thing off, then turn it back on to 3. So it seems odd it would be something hardware, which has made me wonder if there was just a bug or if this really is how it is supposed to work with these seats. :0

Thanks for your thoughts - that helps a lot too.

burdogg | 14 février 2017

To be clear - my seats are solid - I did not get the premium upgrade package that would have given the perforated. So one solid piece :)

bigd | 14 février 2017

burdogg I'm certainly not as informed as you, but sounds like a glitch in the software. Just saying.
"You would think they would have the ability to discuss stuff with higher ups" you would think so on a 100+ grand car.

burdogg | 14 février 2017

I don't know about informed :) I don't know much about cars, so I am sure there are many more informed out there :)

Not only due to the price of the car, but you would also think that since these are not dealerships with franchises - this is all one company, no franchise etc....that there would be a way for service centers to get on the phone and phone home for things they are unsure of.

burdogg | 14 février 2017

@Saxman - Sorry, i missed your post asking what tests :) If you get the time (not a big deal if not, and you can wait until you are traveling :) this is what I am looking for:

First do you have white seats? (if not we can still test it, just would like to know what seats you have)

Turn the seat heater setting to 3 and sit there. After 5-8 minutes, the back of my seat heat disappears, but the bottom seat portion stays hot and continues to get even hotter. At about 8-10 or so, the bottom seat stays the same heat (pretty toasty). The back has cooled down and maybe at 10 minutes, tries to come back on, as I start to feel heat, but then it stops before any real amount of heat gets there. It then seems to not come on again. The bottom seat remains toasty for awhile - don't know if it cycles or not.

So the main test is at setting 3, after 7 or so minutes, do you feel the same amount of heat on the seat back as say at 4 minutes? After 15 minutes, do you have heat on the seat back still or really feeling nothing.

Thanks! and have a great evening/day tomorrow.

Saxman | 14 février 2017


OK. I need to go from Edwards to Eagle tomorrow around 2pm. Each direction takes about 25-30 minutes.

I'll get back to you afterwards.

BTW, my seats are tan leather.

burdogg | 15 février 2017

Good to know - thanks Saxman :)

nnick01 | 15 février 2017

Just a thought. Do you have one of thos laser heat meters people use for BBQ'ing, working on cars, cooking, etc? They are not too expensive. You could test the seats (with no passenger) and create a more scientific baseline of the problem. These results would be more easy to share here and with Tesla. I know you shouldn't have to go at such lengths to have your $100k+ car work, but I know I would go this route to avoid 180m drives.

patswin | 15 février 2017

I just stopped by the sc and tested out another X with the perforated seats and it was the same way. I asked one of the techs about it and he had not heard anything about it before. He said he would check it out if I bring in my X. I might do that at some point if I have another reason to bring it in. So far it seems to be normal operation unless someone posts something different. I did notice in my Fusion Energi that it was similar. The back of seat cooled off before bottom, cycled off and then both top and bottom were even again when it kicked back on.

burdogg | 15 février 2017

hawkeyecustom - Good to know - the thing is the seat back never seems to get real warm again after the first shut off, and definitely not on par with the seat portion. The X just may be this way, just would love to have Tesla confirm as opposed to the tech saying, well we sat in two others and.... :)

nnick01 - I had thought about that - I don't have one of those, but thought it would be nice to measure the heat some way to have a scientific instead of personal feelings :)

patswin | 15 février 2017

Burdogg- I understand. Our drives are usually to short for seat heaters to go through cycle. We are taking a trip to the mountains this weekend so I will pay close attention to what happens with back of seat after first cycle. I am going to set up a service soon and I will see if I can get more 'technical" answer from the tech : )

burdogg | 15 février 2017

That would be great - thanks hawkeyecustom - What kind of seats do you have? perforated or not? Leather or the white?

patswin | 15 février 2017

I have the black textile seats

burdogg | 15 février 2017

Good - that will be interesting to see - as Triggerplz had the black leather, I have the white, and you have the black textile. Triggerplz didn't seem to have the same problem that you and I are. hmmm. | 15 février 2017

I doubt the back and bottom seat heaters are controlled separately, but it is possible. One new thought is the heater pads may have an integrated thermal cutout as a safety device. When it gets too hot, the cutout disables power to the seat. When it cools off, the seat heater is enabled again. This is not under software control.

Ok, time for a new test - turn the seat heater to "1" and see if it says warm for as long as you want. If it does, it may indicate the thermal cutout is tripping. Now I don't know it has a thermal cutout, but it makes sense from what you are seeing. The schematic doesn't show this kind of detail - just a black box for the heater control.

I'd say this could be a design error - either the seat gets too hot or the thermal cutout temperature is too low. Could be fixed in software by limiting how long "3" is allowed before automatically turning down to "2" or "1". Actually, I've asked for such as feature a few years ago - I'd really like it to be "3" for a few minutes and then cut it down to "1" automatically. For me "3" gets too hot after about 3 minutes (in a Model S).

burdogg | 15 février 2017

TeslaTap - That is exactly what I have been thinking - like it is tripping something, but don't know anything about cars or how seat heaters even work. It is interesting to note too, that the seat portion gets a lot hotter than any heat setting on the S. The S, I can stay at 3 all the time with no problem, whereas the X, the seat gets so hot, that it almost burns after long term, so have to adjust eventually.

I am getting my X back today so will test your other thoughts, I have wondered about that and was going to test it at 1 and see what kind of heat I got and if it did stay on the whole time at that setting etc...

Thanks so much for your thoughts on this - helps try to figure out what is going on etc.... :)

Saxman | 15 février 2017

Burdogg et al:

Here is what I tested :

Drove I-70 W for 20 minutes. Outside temperature was 32°. I did not have a coat on. Seat heater set to #3.
* first 10 minutes had climate set @ 61°
* second 10 minutes had climate turned off

Both Seat BACK & BOTTOM maintained approximately the same temperature. In addition to feeling heat while sitting... I also felt both sections individually with my hand, while driving.

* BOTTOM may have felt a tad warmer than BACK, but not appreciably
* #3 stayed on the entire 20 minutes, and felt like warmth was maintained

I did the same test on the return 20 minutes back home, except Climate setting was off the entire time.

I had the identical results.

I hope this is somewhat helpful.

burdogg | 15 février 2017

It is, but unfortunately just furthers my sadness that mine does not act like that :( I just got mine back. Interesting note -they had to change the whole front drivers seat out due to scratch in in at time of delivery - I had my fingers crossed that the seats were bad and that by getting a new seat, it would fix the problem - but no, it is still the same way. So the seat itself is probably not the issue, but what portion of the seat was changed out? I understand that the actual seat warmer portion would be changed out as that is part of the seat, but is there something outside of the seat itself that does not get changed that would cause the issue, or would it be the software, but that would be weird to have some act up and not others.

Also, by Saxman's staying the same temp, something is really not the same - the bottom seat of mine gets really hot. It makes me wonder if this is by design to make up for the lack of back heat because maybe some reason the white seats can't handle it? Saxman has a very similar VIN as mine so this helps a lot and gives me more to discuss with Tesla than before. Don't know if it will every be resolved though. Hopefully @hawkeyecustom has more success than me with his service tech.