Heated Steering Wheel Not Working: Troubleshooting and Solutions

Heated Steering Wheel Not Working

When a heated steering wheel not working, it can be attributed to electrical issues or wiring problems, a malfunctioning control module or switch, a faulty heating element, or system overheating protection. Identifying the specific cause is essential for effective troubleshooting and resolving the problem.

A heated steering wheel can be a luxurious and comforting feature during chilly winter drives. However, it can be frustrating when this convenient feature malfunctions, leaving you without the warmth you’ve come to rely on. 

In this article, we will explore why a heated steering wheel may stop working and provide troubleshooting steps and solutions to help you get it back in working order. Welcome to SolidCarCare.

What really are Heated Steering Wheel Systems?

Before we dive into troubleshooting, let’s briefly understand how heated steering wheel systems work.

These systems utilize electrical heating elements embedded within the steering wheel to generate warmth.  When activated, a current flows through these elements, generating heat that warms up the steering wheel surface. It provides a cozy sensation, ensuring your hands remain comfortable even in freezing temperatures.

Components involved in a heated steering wheel system include a control switch, wiring, connectors, a heating element, and a power source. Issues with any of these components can result in a malfunctioning heated steering wheel.

How long does it take for a heated steering wheel to warm up?

The time it takes for a heated steering wheel to warm up can vary depending on various factors, such as the vehicle model, temperature setting, and ambient conditions. 

How long does electric steering last?

The lifespan of an electric steering system can vary depending on several factors, including the quality of the components, driving conditions, and maintenance. Generally, electric steering systems are designed to be durable and can last anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 miles or more.

What causes Heated Steering Wheel Failure?

Several factors can contribute to a heated steering wheel not working:

Electrical issues and wiring problems

Over time, the wiring harness that connects the heated steering wheel system can suffer wear and tear. This can lead to damaged wires, loose connections, or even complete wire breakage. 

When the wiring is compromised, the electrical current required to heat the steering wheel may not flow properly, resulting in the system not working. Corrosion or moisture ingress in the wiring can also contribute to electrical issues.

Malfunctioning control module or switch

The control module or switch acts as the interface between the driver and the heated steering wheel system. It allows the driver to activate or adjust the heating function. 

If the control module or switch malfunctions, it can disrupt the communication between the driver’s input and the system’s operation. Internal failures within the module or switch, such as damaged circuitry or faulty components, can prevent the system from working as intended.

Faulty heating element

The heating element is a vital component of the heated steering wheel system. It is typically a network of electrical resistors embedded within the steering wheel. When current passes through these resistors, they generate heat, which warms up the steering wheel surface. 

Over time, the heating element can degrade due to continuous usage, extreme temperatures, or manufacturing defects. A faulty heating element may fail to produce sufficient heat or stop working altogether, leading to a non-functional heated steering wheel.

System overheating protection

Some heated steering wheel systems incorporate overheating protection mechanisms to ensure user safety and prevent damage to the steering wheel or electrical components. 

These mechanisms are designed to detect excessive heat levels within the system. When the temperature reaches a certain threshold, the system automatically deactivates the heating function as a precautionary measure. This is to prevent potential overheating, which could cause damage to the steering wheel or other components.

Understanding these potential reasons for a heated steering wheel not working can help car owners and technicians diagnose the issue more effectively. 

How to troubleshoot the Heated Steering Wheel?

If you find yourself facing a non-functional heated steering wheel, follow these troubleshooting steps:

Checking the power source and fuse

Start by verifying that the power source, typically the vehicle’s battery, is in good condition. Ensure it has sufficient charge. Additionally, check the fuse dedicated to the heated steering wheel system. A blown fuse could be the culprit.

Verifying the control switch functionality

Test the control switch for the heated steering wheel. Press the button and observe if any indicators light up or if you hear a clicking sound. If there is no response, the switch might be faulty.

Inspecting the wiring and connectors

Examine the wiring and connectors associated with the heated steering wheel system. Look for any signs of damage, loose connections, or corrosion. Ensure all connections are secure and intact.

Testing the heating element

If the power source, fuse, and connections appear in good condition, the heating element may be the issue. Seek professional assistance to test and diagnose the heating element’s functionality accurately.

DIY Solutions and Maintenance Tips

Heated Steering Wheel Not Working

If the issue is minor or temporary, you may be able to resolve it on your own. Consider the following solutions and maintenance tips:

  • Resetting the system

In some cases, a simple reset can resolve the issue. Consult your vehicle’s manual to reset the heated steering wheel system.

  • Checking for loose connections

Ensure all wiring connections are secure and free from corrosion. Tighten any loose connections or clean the contacts if necessary.

  • Replacing blown fuses

If the fuse dedicated to the heated steering wheel system has blown, replace it with a new one of the same rating. This simple fix can restore functionality.

  • Cleaning the control switch and contacts

Dust, debris, or residue can accumulate on the control switch or contacts, affecting its performance. Gently clean the switch and contacts using an appropriate electrical contact cleaner.

Regular maintenance is crucial for prolonged heated steering wheel functionality. Follow manufacturer guidelines for recommended maintenance intervals and inspections.

Why is my steering wheel frozen?

A steering wheel can become frozen due to freezing temperatures and ice buildup. When the temperature drops below freezing, any moisture present on the steering wheel, such as condensation or melted snow, can freeze, creating a layer of ice. 

Additionally, if the vehicle was exposed to freezing rain or heavy snowfall, ice can accumulate on the steering wheel, making it difficult to turn or even causing it to be completely frozen. 

It is important to take precautions in cold weather, such as parking in covered areas or using a steering wheel cover, to minimize the chances of your steering wheel freezing.

How do you fix a cold steering wheel? Step by step

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to fix a cold steering wheel:

Step 1: Start the vehicle 

Start the engine of your car by turning the key or pressing the ignition button. Allow the engine to idle for a few minutes to warm up the cabin temperature, including the steering wheel.

Step 2: Adjust the climate control settings 

Locate the climate control system in your vehicle, which is usually on the center console or dashboard. Increase the temperature settings to a comfortable level, ensuring warm air is directed towards the cabin and the steering wheel area.

Step 3: Use gloves or a steering wheel cover 

Wear gloves or use a steering wheel cover made of insulating material, such as leather or fleece. This will provide a layer of insulation between your hands and the cold steering wheel surface, helping to keep your hands warm.

Step 4: Position the vents towards the steering wheel 

Adjust the airflow direction of the vehicle’s heating system to direct warm air towards the dashboard vents closest to the steering wheel. This will help in warming up the steering wheel surface more quickly.

Step 5: Park in a covered or heated area

Parish your vehicle in a covered garage or a heated parking space whenever possible. This will help maintain a warmer ambient temperature around the car, preventing the steering wheel from getting excessively cold.

Step 6: Winterize your vehicle 

Ensure that your vehicle is properly winterized by checking the antifreeze levels and performing regular maintenance. Well-maintained vehicles are more likely to have efficient heating systems that can effectively warm up the steering wheel.

By following these step-by-step instructions, you can fix a cold steering wheel and enjoy a more comfortable driving experience, especially during colder weather conditions.


A malfunctioning heated steering wheel can be a frustrating experience, especially during the cold winter months. You can identify and resolve the issue by understanding how the system works and following the troubleshooting steps outlined in this article. Remember to prioritize safety and, when necessary, seek professional assistance to ensure your heated steering wheel is functioning optimally, providing you with warmth and comfort during your drives in colder weather.

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