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Can you put seat covers on air-conditioned seats?

Can you put seat covers on air-conditioned seats?

Imagine this: It's mid-July, you're coming off a roofing job, and the sun has been relentless. But the moment you climb into your truck, that sweltering heat fades away—thanks to your air-conditioned seats. 

But here comes the hitch—what happens when you want to protect these high-tech seats? The question pops up often: "Can you put seat covers on air-conditioned seats?" The answer isn't a simple yes or no; it's more nuanced. Yes, you can certainly outfit your ventilated seats with covers, but the seat cover you choose makes a difference.

Seat covers on air-conditioned seats? Absolutely doable. However, not all seat covers are up to the task, especially when accommodating the sophisticated functionality of ventilated seats. The trick is finding the right kind that complements the seat's built-in cooling features.

How Air-Conditioned Seats Work and Why Cover Them

Quick lesson time. Air-conditioned seats are more than just a cool feature (see what we did there?); they're a sophisticated system.

At their core, these seats use small fans within the seat itself to circulate air. This system draws air through the seat's fabric, often through a mesh layer, and across your body to provide a cooling sensation. For some higher-end models, this technology goes a step further by incorporating temperature-controlled air that can either cool or warm you, depending on the setting.

So, why would anyone want to cover up such an innovative feature? Protection is the primary motivator. Like any other part of your vehicle, seats are prone to wear and tear, but they see the brunt of it. Spills, stains, and even sliding in and out will ruin your seat's material over time. Seat covers offer a protective barrier so your investment remains in top condition. And ultimately, they improve your resale value.

But the wrong cover can block airflow, making the seat's cooling function useless. By choosing wisely, you can enjoy the best of both worlds—enhanced durability and maintained comfort, all without sacrificing the cooling feature.

Choosing the Right Seat Covers for Air-Conditioned Seats

Selecting the right seat covers for your air-conditioned seats isn't just about aesthetics; it's about preserving the functionality that makes these seats a coveted feature in the first place. The goal is to add protection without sacrificing cool comfort. 

Compatibility Is Key

First and foremost, make sure the seat covers you're considering are compatible with air-conditioned seats. Manufacturers often specify if their covers allow for air to circulate.

Breathable Materials Make a Difference

The magic word here is "breathability." You need cotton, nylon, or polyester that allows the seat to breathe. Avoid leather and pleather options…for more than just one reason.

Features That Enhance Airflow

Some seat covers go the extra mile by incorporating features that enhance airflow. Look for covers with integrated perforations or vented sections that align with your seat's ventilation points. These design choices can make a significant difference in maintaining the effectiveness of your seat's cooling feature. And yes, you’ll pay more for them.

BUT…since they have perforations to help the air go out, they’ll also let all the dirt/sweat/spills in. So, they’re protection score plummets.

Things to Avoid with Seat Covers on AC Seats

When outfitting air-conditioned seats with covers, a common trap is picking materials that work against you. While upscale in appearance, leather, and faux leather are prime examples of what to steer clear of. These materials may look sleek but tend to insulate rather than ventilate, smothering the seat's ability to breathe and cool you down.

Here's another thing to avoid: foam-backed seat covers. It’s just one more layer between you and sweet, cooling relief.

Choosing the wrong seat cover can effectively cancel out the benefits of your AC seats, leaving you warmer than you'd like, regardless of the settings. So get seat covers that promote airflow and are compatible with your vehicle's specific cooling technology.

Recommended Types of Seat Covers for Air-Conditioned Seats

When it comes to keeping cool with air-conditioned seats, not just any seat cover will do. You'll want something that complements the system rather than compromises it. 

Breathable fabrics designed to allow air to circulate freely are key for maintaining the cooling effect of your seats. But keep in mind that even with these seat covers, you may not feel that breeze on your behind like you can without seat covers because the covers will act like a bit of blocker. Like if you cover your air vents with a piece of fabric, you’ll still feel the cool air, but it just won’t be so gusty. 

Specific brands that get our nod for doing it right with air-conditioned seats include:

  • Carhartt: Known for durable, high-quality products, their seat covers are no exception and offer options that don't impede your seat's cooling functions. They aren’t the most durable of the options, but they’ll get the job done.
  • Marathon: With a focus on endurance and comfort, Marathon's seat covers blend well with ventilated seats, ensuring breathability.
  • Northwest: They make a seat cover exclusively for heated and cooled seats.
  • TigerTough: Our very own seat covers are designed with the needs of hardworking folks in mind, ensuring that comfort, durability, and breathability are top priorities, making them a perfect match for air-conditioned seats.

Choosing the right seat cover means you won't have to sacrifice comfort for protection.

Compared to Heated Seats

So here’s the secret: if seat covers are okay with heated seats, they’re probably just fine with cooled seats, too. Heated and cooled seats work differently, but if you’re allowing your seats to breathe with the seat cover, you’ll get the benefits of heated and cooled seats. 

When in doubt, contact the manufacturer and ask.

So, yeah…

You can absolutely team up seat covers with your air-conditioned seats—just make sure you're picking the right partners. Remember, the goal is to pair up without compromising those cool breezes. Think about what you need from a seat cover and the features that matter most to you, then choose accordingly.

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