Auto Heated and Auto Heated/Ventilated Seats Diagnostic Tips

The 2016 ATS, CT6, CTS, Escalade models, SRX, and XTS feature available automatic heated seats. The 2017 XT5 features available automatic heated and ventilated seats. These models are also equipped with automatic climate controls. (Fig. 17)


F17 heated seats CT6

Fig 17


In order to properly diagnose these seat features, it’s important to understand how they operate.


The auto thermal seat function activates the heating or ventilation based on outside air temperature and the cabin air temperature control error, which is the difference between the cabin air target temperature and actual cabin air temperature. If the cabin is very cold, a high seat heating level is activated. When the cabin warms up, the seat heating level is automatically decreased. The functionality is the same for a cool-down scenario. When the heating or cooling is completed, the seats stay on at a minimum level.


The auto thermal seat function initializes when the ignition is turned on. The system is given some time to stabilize — 30 seconds for 2016 models and increased to 10 minutes for 2017 models. After the stabilization period, seat levels are only allowed to decrease.


If the temperature set points are changed by the seat occupants or if the outside air temperature changes, automatic seat levels will not be increased.


If the seats were turned off automatically and conditions change, the automatic function will not be turned back on.


An automatic activation can be overridden by an occupant at any time by pressing the seat heating or cooling button. In this case, the automatic operation is suspended until the next ignition cycle. The automatic function also can be activated or deactivated through the settings customization menu, which is a separate menu entry from the remote start settings.


The passenger seat will only be triggered for automatic operation if the seat is occupied.


Auto heated seat functions are not available for the rear seats.


– Thanks to David Antal

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