BMW E36 Blog

BMW E36 Heated Seats Fixed

6th January 2009

BMW E36 Heated Seats Fixed

posted in Electrical, Interior, Technical Info, Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized |

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Hi Guys,

When I bought my car (it was like 2 years ago), I was taking it for a spin just to test-drive it when I noticed the heated seats buttons. Believe it or not, I didn’t know what these buttons were for at that time as I didn’t have much knowledge about the E36 cars like I do now. I asked the previous owner about the buttons and he said they were for heated seats and pressed them. The funny thing is that he didn’t realize at that time (and I’m sure of it) that the heated seats were not working in his car. After I bought the car, I knew that I have to invest sometime to fix my heated seats as they were not working at all. The weird thing is that the heated seats resistance was indicating that they’re running just fine (I used a multi-meter). I’ve tested the power on the plugs under the car too and they were working fine too. hmmm… that’s odd

I wrote before about Installing BMW E36 Heated Seats and the procedure is straight forward, but it needs some time to accomplish that if you could find the heating elements which everyone said they were not very easy to find. While I was looking for heating elements for my car (thinking it was the reason behind my problem), I’ve found a shop who is ready to give me the heating elements from old BMW E36 seats. I’m sure you can imagine how happy I was after hours and hours of looking.

Anyway, since the guy at the shop seemed to know what he was talking about, I asked him to replace them in my car. Of course he had to remove the seats from the car which is very easy. Then the heating elements replacement process began:

There are 2 heating elements in every seat. One for the back and one inside the seat cushion. The one in the back of the seat was very easy to expose. Simply, he pulled the back leather carefully with a flat screw driver and that was it. To my surprise, I’ve found the heating elements for the back already there and connected. they were also heating just fine. But guess what was the reason why I didn’t feel the heat? Hmmm.. I’m sure you can’t guess because it was the most stupid thing I’ve seen in my entire life. The heating elements were placed behind the sponge. That’s the heating element was heating the sponge instead of heating the leather which I’m supposed to feel. I already know that my seats leather was replaced right before I bought the car, but I didn’t imagine that it was being done by a stupid guy. Damn … stopping heated seats, what were you thinking?!!!

Anyway, the guy at the shop had to separate the leather of the back seat from the sponge and put the heating element there (between them) then make sure that everything returns to its original state.

The cushions were a little bit harder as he needed to remove the knee support part from the cushion, remove 4 screws from the bottom then remove that cushion. After removing the cushion, I was really hoping to find the heating elements in these cushions as well (as in the back), but unfortunately, they were not there. So, he used 2 of the heating elements in the cushions and that was pretty much it. Then put everything together to end up with my heated seats running again… Boy that was fabulous. If your heated seats are not working for some reason, I suggest you fix them right away, you don’t know what you’re missing.


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There are currently 6 responses to “BMW E36 Heated Seats Fixed”

Why not let us know what you think by adding your own comment! Your opinion is as valid as anyone elses, so come on... let us know what you think.

  1. 1 On January 8th, 2009, Paulicoius said:

    Interesting information. Mine still works if I leave it on high sometimes is to much could burn.

  2. 2 On January 9th, 2009, Tony Sticks said:

    @Paulicoius: I noticed that when it’s really cold out, it takes some time like 10 minutes until you start to feel the heat. Is it the same in your car? or I still have some kind of problem that needs to be checked?

  3. 3 On January 10th, 2009, Paulicoius said:

    no same on mine to

  4. 4 On January 10th, 2009, Tony Sticks said:

    @Paulicoius: I thought so. I should then leave the car to warm up with the heated seats on when it’s very cold. No problem, thanks Paulicoius 🙂

  5. 5 On May 7th, 2009, John said:

    This makes me wonder now… Mine too also only heat up the back part of the seat and not the seat cushion…and thats on both of mine…maybe some e36’s only came with 1 heating element as an option?

  6. 6 On February 10th, 2013, tommy said:

    when i turn on my heated seats lights work proprly but no heat my leather is original so thats not the issue could it be a poor connection at the plug find heard to believe all elements would be bad and would the lights come on if not getting power to seat oh my car is e36