Still reeling from the sticker shock of the optional heated seats in your Jeep? Here’s how to do it yourself and save a ton of money in the process.By Ben Mannino – November 16, 2015
This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-Present).
We all love driving with the top down in our Jeep Wranglers, but as we get closer to the chilly seasons, the stock heater can only help when the top is up. To stay toasty with the breeze blowing through your hair, you will need to heat your seats and it’s not as difficult as you might think. This article will show you how to install the heating elements step-by-step.
- Two WarmSeats Waterproof Seat Heaters
- Two 18-22 gauge wire tap
- Two spade connectors for 18-22 gauge wire
- Zip ties (4″ long)
- Wire cutters/strippers
- Socker wrench with 3/6″ extensions, 7 and 10mm sockets
- 10mm box wrench
- T20 and T30 Torx drivers
- Long nose pliers
- Breaker bar
- Putty knife
Step 1 – Prepare the seats
You will be installing the heating elements into both seats, and it would be a good idea to remove each seat to give you enough room to work on them one at a time.
Before doing so, check to see if you have side airbags installed. Look for the SRS tag like the one shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Look for the airbag tag.
If you don’t have a side airbag, proceed to Step 2. If you do, you will need to disconnect the battery before disconnecting the airbag wire. Use a 10mm wrench to remove the negative (black) battery connector as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2. Remove negative battery connector.
Wait at least five minutes for the system to completely discharge before removing the electrical connector shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3. The airbag connector under the seat.
Step 2 – Remove the seat
The 18mm bolts holding the seats in place are on there pretty tight. You will need the impact wrench and/or breaker bar with a 3-6 inch extension to get the bolts loose as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4. Loosen the 18mm bolts.
Remove the seat and set it down in an area where you could more easily work on the seats.
Figure 5. Give yourself some room to work.
Step 3 – Remove the bottom seat cover
The heating elements will need to be installed between the foam cushions and the seat covers, so you will need to remove the covers, starting with the base.
Flip the seat down so you can remove the retainers for the front and side covers as shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6. Remove retainers.
Next, peel back the front of the seat cover as shown in Figure 7.
Figure 7. Peel back cover.
Take note of the clips that hold the cover to the cushion. Figure 8 shows one up close.
Figure 8. Clips that fasten covers to the cushions.
Remove the five clips along the back so that you can run the heating element wire down through the cushion. Use a screwdriver to poke a hole through the seat cushion as shown in Figure 9.
Figure 9. Poke a hole through the cushion to run the wire.
Step 4 – Install the heating element
Start by routing the heating element wire through the hole in the bottom seat cushion as shown in Figure 10.
Figure 10. Run the wire.
Now lay the heating element under the seat cover.
Figure 11. Install the heating element.
Fasten the two clips in place to secure the seat cover to the back of the seat cushion, then pull the cover back over the seat and secure the retainers.
Figure 12. Pull the cover back over the seat cushion.
Step 5 – Install the back heating element
Follow similar steps to install the heating element to the back of the seat.
First, you will need to remove the levers on each side with long nose pliers as shown in Figure 13.
Figure 13. Remove the levers.
With the levers removed, peel back the cover like so:
Figure 14. Peel the back cover up.
Now slide the heating element up behind the cover and route the wire to the side that is closer to the center console.
Figure 15. Install the heating element.
Repeat Step 1 through 5 for the other seat.
Step 6 – Run the wires and install the switches
With the heating elements in place, it’s time to run the wires and install the switches. You are free of course to install them anywhere you wish, but for this tutorial they have been installed in the center console as shown in Figure 16.
Figure 16. Switch location on center console.
The wiring harness for each seat element has ground and power connections, along with the relay, switch and an inline fuse. The inline fuse is optional and was not used for this installation.
The ground connection was made to an existing ground point under the seat as shown in Figure 17. Crimp a spade connector to the white wire to tap into the existing connection.
Figure 17. Ground connector.
The power connector was tapped to a switched power point on the left side of the front console. Each heater only draws three amps, so the 20 amp fused power source could more than handle both elements.
To access this wire, remove the bottom panel of the front console as shown in Figure 18.
Use a 7mm socket to remove the two bottom screws holding the main panel in place:
Now you have access to the switched power point. Run the red wire from the harness to this tap and your heaters should now have power.
Be sure to test them thoroughly, then reattach the seats and all console covers to complete the installation.