Common problems with Fiat 500

Fiat 500 problems

Fiat 500 is a city car with excellent handling, good fuel economy, iconic, retro styling, and decent reliability. However, it also has several problems that interested buyers should be ready to tackle. But what are the common problems with Fiat 500?

Common problems with Fiat 500 are faulty clutch, suspension issues, engine problems, electrical issues, steering problems, faulty driveshaft, power problems, and head gasket failure. Note that these problems are more common in some models years than others. So, pick your Fiat 500 model year wisely.

What are the common problems with Fiat 500?

Suspension problems

A good number of Fiat 500 users have reported having suspension issues. Most of the users say that the suspension issues are accompanied by clanking and clunking noises, emanating from the front of the car. Nonetheless, the issue has been linked to premature wearing of the strut mounts. So, ensure to replace the strut mounts to fix the issue.

Faulty clutch

Since many Fiat 500s have been used for driving schools, many of them come with this issue. You may notice a sweet smell while in the car. On top of that, the clutch may slip occasionally. This is a sign that you have a burnt-out clutch. Take your car to the mechanic so that they can replace the bad clutch.

Aside from the clutch being burnt out, the clutch pressure plate was prone to fracture and failure. As a result, it makes it difficult to change gears. This problem is common in the 2012 to 2016 Fiat 500 models. Replace the clutch pressure plate to fix this issue as well.

Steering issues

Fiat 500 has had several steering issues in the past. The most common steering problems are loss of steering and power steering loss. However, fixing these issues is easy and seamless. If your car has a loss of steering, you may have to replace the whole steering system. On the contrary, if it has an issue with power steering loss, you will have to replace the power steering motor.

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Fiat recalled most of the 2014 Fiat 500 models with a loss of steering power while driving. The main culprit was faulty wiring below the steering column. On the other hand, power steering loss occurs when doing maneuvers like parking or reversing the car.

Power problems

This is among the most popular problems with Fiat 500 models. Nonetheless, this issue is more common in the 2014 and 2015 models with the 1.6-liter engine. Users reported that the engines would fail to deliver the power required to effectively climb hills. The main cause for this problem was the software. So, updating the software fixes this issue.

Head gasket failure

This problem is common in Fiat 500 models made in 2008 and backward. The manufacturer issued a recall to replace the diesel head gasket, which had several problems. So, before you buy a Fiat 500 that was made in 2008, you should check the head gasket and ensure the previous owner had it replaced.

Electrical problems

Electrical issues are also a major problem for Fiat 500 users. Many users have complained about several interior accessories malfunctions in the Fiat 500. Some of the problems reported are the clock malfunctioning, panel lights flashing, doors failing to unlock with a key fob, phone system failing to work, and seats forward recline stopping to work.

You can fix this problem by having the mechanic check the software and wiring system of the car.

Engine problems

Engine problems are common in almost all Fiat models. The Fiat 500 is not an exception as it also has several engine problems. For instance, users have complained about very dark smoke coming from the exhaust pipe. The main cause of this issue is contaminated oil with fuel. To fix this problem, you will have to flush the whole oil system.

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Faulty driveshaft

This problem is common in Fiat 500 models built in the latter half of 2018. Besides, the problems take place in the right-hand driveshaft. One of the main signs of a faulty driveshaft is intense vibrations coming from below the car during driving. If you have such an issue, you should visit a mechanic to replace the bad driveshaft parts.

Quick overview of problems reported about Fiat 500

  1. Electrical Issues: Some owners have reported problems with the car’s electrical system, including issues with the power windows, central locking, and dashboard lights.
  2. Transmission Problems: Certain model years have experienced transmission issues, such as jerking or hesitation during gear changes, or even complete transmission failures.
  3. Clutch Problems: Manual transmission versions of the Fiat 500 have been known to have clutch problems, including premature wear and failure.
  4. Engine Issues: There have been reports of engine misfires, rough idling, and stalling in some Fiat 500 vehicles.
  5. Cooling System: Problems with the cooling system, including radiator leaks and overheating, have been reported in some instances.
  6. Suspension and Steering: Some owners have complained about suspension and steering problems, including noises while driving, uneven tire wear, and steering wheel alignment issues.
  7. Airbag and Safety Recalls: There have been recalls related to the airbag system and other safety-related components in certain Fiat 500 models.
  8. Oil Leaks: Oil leaks from the engine or other components have been reported by some Fiat 500 owners.
  9. Exhaust and Emission Issues: Reports of exhaust system problems and emission-related faults have also been documented in some cases.
  10. Brake System Problems: Brake-related issues, such as premature wear of brake components and brake fluid leaks, have been reported by a number of owners.
  11. Rust and Corrosion: Some owners have noticed premature rust and corrosion on various parts of the vehicle, particularly in regions with harsh winters or high humidity.
  12. Interior Quality: Complaints about the quality of interior materials, including trim pieces and seat upholstery, have been raised by a few owners.


Is Fiat 500 reliable?

When compared to most cars in its class, the Fiat 500 has slightly above reliability. Most reliability agencies give it a score of 3.5 out of 5. This is smaller compared to competitor car brands like Honda, Volkswagen, and Toyota. All in all, it is still cheaper to maintain and comes at an affordable price.

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How long does Fiat 500 last?

Fiat 500 can last between 200,000 and 300,000 miles. Nevertheless, for the car to last this long, it needs proper care and maintenance. Furthermore, proper driving habits should be exercised. Therefore, interested buyers should be ready to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance service for their car to last.

What is the high mileage of the Fiat 500?

Fiat 500 is a small but reliable and durable car. If it is well-maintained, this car can clock over 150,000 miles before having serious repairs. So, if you’re buying a used Fiat 500, consider one with less than 150,000 miles.

Is it expensive to maintain Fiat 500?

No, maintaining the Fiat 500 is way cheaper than most of its competitors. On average, it costs around $406 to maintain the Fiat 500. However, this can also increase depending on the model year you pick. Besides, Fiat 500 offers some of the most expensive spare parts in its class.

Which Fiat 500 model year has the most issues?

Fiat 500 has been in the market since 1957. Over the years, they have had both reliable and unreliable models. With that said the Fiat 500 model year with the most problems is the 2016 Fiat 500. It is followed closely by the 2014 and 2012 model years. All of these models have reported over 30 problems, which is quite high compared to other model years. The best Fiat 500 year is 2018.


Fiat 500 may have several issues as discussed above, but it is also reliable, fun to drive, easy to park, economical, and stylish. But with proper care and maintenance, the Fiat 500 can last over 200,000 miles.

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Edwin Odipo

Why do you love writing about cars? Cars make our lives easy. You can visit your distant friend, relative or even rush to the grocery store a few miles from your home with a lot of ease. Imagine how life was before the invention of cars?? To me, cars are a blessing that made life more convenient.

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