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To heat or not to heat the car seat?

Do women love heated seats? Do guys detest having warmed trousers while driving?

That was the automotive-derriere speculation on the part of our chilly-bummed hosts, this week on Car Talk. (You can hear it right here.) Is this yet another difference between Venus and Mars?

Take our poll and test Tom and Ray's automotive-gender-tuchus theory.

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Just another expensive toy.
Due to the body heat factor your seat is warm in mere minutes.
After that adding more heat is too much.
Why bother ?

I’ve never justified the need even at 10 below this winter.

I wanted to call in and share, but will post here instead.

I do enjoy the seat warmers, but could probably buy a car without them too. My husband really gets a kick out of the seat warmers. I think that I probably turn it down or off before he does. It does get the buns toasty.

However, the most amusement that we get out of the seat warmers is in the summer. A couple years ago, the air conditioner wasn’t working in my car. It wasn’t pleasant. But, why not own a situation and potentially make it worse? I turned my husbands’ seat warmer on when he wasn’t looking. We’ve been waging war on each other ever since. The air conditioner has since been fixed, but its still a fun game to play occasionally.

My father in law’s truck has a seat cooler in it. My husband had the opportunity to try that out. If we happen to buy a vehicle with either option in it, that’s fine. I probably wouldn’t make a point to get one. I don’t think that the lack of the seat gadgets would be a deal breaker for hubby either.

As I woman, my rear-end gets ice cold (we women tend to have more “plumage” there than men) when it’s cold out. Heated seats surely help with this.
My husband and I have discussed this. After being outside in the cold for snowshoeing or skiing, the rear-end/thighs could serve as an icebox. Seriously.
And that’s why I like heated seats… unfortunately I hate leather seats which seems to be the only option for heat.

I formerly had a Jeep Grand Cherokee with heated seats. It was the most enjoyable toy I ever had because the switches for both front seats were on the driver?s side near the steering wheel. Thereby I could subtly crank the passenger seat up to high in the middle of the summer. I think there was something wrong with these things because it was almost impossible to sit on them when they were on high. They would bake one?s derriere. Thus, I had a lot of fun making passengers wiggle in the seat. One of the biggest belly laughs of my life came when I cranked up the passenger seat heater on my father-in-law just after we had gone to a Mexican Restaurant. I laughed as he squirmed thinking something he ate had create an almost immediate gastrointestinal problem. I need to rewire my current vehicle to get that passenger switch back on the driver?s side! Robert

Tom, Ray, are you kidding ? I live in Alaska. Leather seats stay hard as concrete for hours w/out heated seats. I love my heated seats & would not have a truck w/out them. Plus-after golf, the heated back is perfect for relaxing those muscles I’ve strained. Even in warm temps; heating that back rest is so-o-o-o relaxing.

The answer is simple and completely biological! Men’s private parts are designed for lower temperature for the process of meiosis maximum production that occurs at lower than normal body temperature (<98.6). So guys feel uncomfortable when this in that area is heated up. To make heated seats more compatable just put the heat on the back support area or omit heathing the area of mail sensitivity.

I’m a middle-aged guy, and heated seats are great, especially with chilly leather seats and thin pants in winter.
But the main benefit is during spring and fall, when you can be perfectly comfortable with nothing other than the seat heater, shutting off the climate control completely and keeping your mileage up. This has been a discussion topic among my guy friends, and many agree on the heated-seat-only concept.

Men don’t like it because the heating elements and/or electrical thingies have a short working life. Women like comfort, wear thin clothes but mostly we are hard wired to “be prepared” for all contingencies. (Who brings the first aid kit ? and the extra underwear ? and the water ? --and no. beer does’t count as emergency gear) WE want to feel we have whatever we might need “just in case”. Men wear heavier winter clothing and don’t see the point. Add that to the fact that they will break down even before your remote battery has to be replaced. I loved my seat warmer for the one winter it worked. But I’m a woman with a cheap gene. No way I’d pay a couple hundred bucks for the 10 minutes 10 times a year my backside is chilly.
–Note: I’m in Far Western Kentucky where winter is variable. We might get iced in for 2 weeks and then its 60 degrees the next week. At worst, we have a couple months of bad winter. Where you live makes a difference in your “need” for heated seats vs. cost.

We seem to be right at the median… my wife won’t have a car without bun warmers, and I could care less. My only complaint is that if she drove last and leaves it on, my first clue is a burning sensation on my seat region…

We have one garage & I don’t mind that my husband uses it. I love my heated seats on very cold mornings. My husband never uses the heated seats when he drives my car, no matter how cold. He hates to have “mushy-tushy”, as he calls it. My heated seats just stopped working recently (2006 JeepGraCherok)& my husband insists that I get them fixed so I don’t have to suffer. I’m way to cheap to spend the money, but I appreciate his wanting to make me comfortable. That’s our story!

My wife loves 'em. A deal maker/breaker for her. My boney butt doesn’t need any more BTU’s. Go figure.

Presumed reason why females prefer heated seats: They haven’t read scientific research telling them that they’re decreasing their fertility rate by heating sex organs. Males have read that heated sex organs lead to decreased sperm count.
Real reason? I have no idea, but presumably relates to above… OR women have more painful backs and the heat feels really good… AND the heated seat heats before the car heater does in cold weather. Thanks for the always-wonderful show, which here, in DC, precedes “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” so for two hours (at least once a week) we laugh for two hours…and learn a lot about cars in the process

A friend has a car with leather seats and also an electric seat warmer. His wife loves it, but only uses it initially to take the chill off the seats in the winter. After that she supplies her own ample heat.

One reason I don’t like leather upholstery; too cold in the winter too hot in the summer. Those plastic seats of the sixties and seventies were the worst.

Airline pilots love sheepskin on their plane seats. It allows air circulation, is comfortable, and is neither hot or cold. My mother-in-law swore by them in her car.

A coarse woven fabric is best, but the sheepskin is the best on long drives.

I know it is a sensitive subject, but the largest reason we women like the heated seats is for that time of the month when you are really achy. I’m not alone in this, both my sisters-in-law and their sisters feel the same. Sometimes I’ll go for a drive in my husband’s car with the heated seats for no reason other than for the relief it brings from the achiness.

There’s a brief summary with references to the literature available about heat effects on sperm count:

Mirken, G. (1997). “Scrotal temperature and sterility.” < >

However, as far as I can find so far in brief research online, it is not proven that this factor actually does account for aversion to heated seats. Arguing that any preference that causes sterility would inevitably be bred out of a species is an appealing idea, but that may simply be what evolutionary biologists call a “just-so story” that sounds good but has no evidence to support it.

Anyway, FWIW, I detest heated seats. They feel AWFUL to me!

M. E. Kabay

Alaskan here… my husband LOVES the heated seats, I do not. I hate the “peed in my pants” feeling! They get too hot.

Venus is hotter than Mars. My wife and I both liked the heated seats and pizza would stay warmer when I went out to pick it up.

I love my heated seats and my wife has never turned hers on. We were the same way with electric blankets–mine wore out and her side was brand new and you cannot flip them. At least in the car both sides can be used over time. I think it relates to your metabolism, as I am always cold unless it is over 90 and I am laying in the sun and soaking up the heat and enjoying every minute of it. Paradoxically, I like the airconditioned seats on my son’s car and want them on my next one

 Heated seats are WONDEERFUL especially if one has arthritis involving one's hips