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Discussion Starter #1
Let me start by saying this is my first post here. I just picked up my “new to me” 2016 CTS Premium last week. On every other GM vehicle I’ve ever owned when you press the seat warmer button, within a matter of seconds the seat gets pretty hot. When I press the seat warmer button on my CTS the level indicator lights up as expected. However after driving to the store 30 minutes Saturday morning I noticed the seat did not feel any warmer at all! So when I got home I hopped in the passenger seat and within a matter of seconds of pressing the seat warmer button the seat got very warm. This car only has 44,000 miles so I would not expect the seat warmer to be bad. My 2006 2500 HD Silverado has 230,000 miles and the seat still gets hot.
I searched the forum but had no luck finding any information. Any help on where to check without taking it to a dealership would be greatly appreciated.
 

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18 XT5 / 18 CTS 3.6 AWD
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I have a 2018, and my seat heater gets warm very slowly and never really gets as warm as any other vehicle I've owned. Dealer, who is great to me says is how it is on this one. In the winter at -30C it will take 20 minutes for me to feel the warmth. Contrary to that, my steering wheel heater gets super warm ASAP. Rather annoying about the seat, but it's one of the very few things I don't like about the car so I just live with it. Now if my passenger seat got hot quick but driver side didn't, I'd make more of a fuss to the dealer to fix driver side. But mine seem to both not be very warm.
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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Common problem with heated seats, especially the driver's (most used) seat.

The heating resistance wire, woven into the seat/back pads, gets abused and breaks, causing an open circuit.

Either disassemble the seat and find/solder the break or install new heater pads. New pads are available for my Seville; I'd guess they're available for CTS.
 

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Actually there was a recall on the heated seats in the Gen 3 CTS in the early years. Now, that being said, it is not for "defective" heaters, but because the heaters worked well and if there was a break in the wires, it could cause a fire. BUT, GM doesn't want to replace a ton of seat bottoms...

The "FIX" from GM was to reduce the heat of the drivers seat. Yes, they actually reduced performance so that they wouldn't have a class-action lawsuit of fires on their hands. They didn't want to replace thousands and thousands of seat bottoms, so they reduced the output to mitigate the risk of the problem.

If you read the service bulletin on the recall, it specifically states that the "issue" is due to pre-warming the seats during auto-start with no-one in the car. The drivers seat gets used much more than the passenger and is more susceptible to the inner wires breaking and a fire starting without anyone sitting in the seat during an unattended warm-up. Great way to make the "warmup so it is ready for you" feature pretty much worthless. I don't know about anyone else, but I would rather have a warm bottom than warm hands.

(As a side-note I will state that I had to have my drivers seat bottom replaced under warranty and my drivers seat heater works just as well as the passenger seat bottom so I wasn't part of the "fix".)

I do believe they engineered the "fix" into the later models as part of production. Just as bad as the gel-touch panel on the CUE system that will eventually crack again. That was probably done because you never know when someone will put a faulty part that was released and sitting on a shelf somewhere into a model that could cause the issue to arise and start a fire.
 

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2015 CTS Performance
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My 2015 warms slowly, probably 5 minutes until I can tell it's on. I think that's normal for this car.
The recall was due to a possible problem where a worn or damaged spot in the heater could overheat when a body isn't in the seat to absorb the heat, which is the case for the prewarm feature. So in typical GM fashion, the fix is to not fix it but avoid it in the cheapest way possible, they just turned off the prewarm feature in software. I don't think they made any change to the warmer power. I really like the idea of prewarm so wouldn't let my dealer do the fix but it's pretty useless because the seat heats so slowly that I don't notice the prewarm anyway. I own 3 GM cars so am not a snob, but this is one area GM is far behind other makers, most notably Lexus. Once you buy a GM you are pretty much on your own, they don't stand behind their products 1 day past warranty. (CUE touch screen anybody?...)
 

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2014 CTS Luxury 3.6
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My 2014 CTS seat heaters has never felt warm since I've owned the car. They certainly work. Just not that well. Very disappointing. Can barely detect any warmth at all. The steering wheel heater works perfectly.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hmm so I guess I’ll use my laser thermometer and test it. Sounds like most everyone has the same issue as me. My truck doesn’t have remote start so no pre-warm up. If I find a fix I’ll let everyone know.
 

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18 XT5 / 18 CTS 3.6 AWD
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Well all of that added info makes sense now. But at -30C in Canada it doesn't help my cold butt. I guess it's a "feature" I have to live with.
 

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2016 AWD 2.0T LUXE, 2016 C7 TBDE vert, 2012 911S Cab., 2003 Avey Z66
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My heated seats are nice and toasty...guess I'm lucky.
 

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2019 XTS Luxury AWD, 2004 SRX N* AWD (gone)
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Using remote start, my seats will be warm enough to take the cold bite off, but after getting in and starting the car, they warm up quickly.
 

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2016 CTS 2.0 AWD Luxury
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I use a towel on the driver seat in winter. Almost as comfortable as cloth seats. The recall was just another cheap GM move to send us elsewhere for the next vehicle purchase.
 
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