Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: Considering sales numbers and data that monitors complaints-per-make, there appears to be an unusually high number of issues with the 2012 Fiat 500. Perhaps that isn't surprising -- it is the first model year of the car, and those tend to have a higher incidence rate.

Of particular concern is the number of engine and powertrain complaints submitted to NHTSA.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,017 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2012 Fiat 500 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2012 Fiat 500 Owner Comments (Page 3 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #56

Jul 042016


  • 24,300 miles


NHTSA 16V-302 recall and fca solution will not solve the problem of defective part that creates the safety issue. It is only a bandaid that disguises the problem. Fca should be required to fix the defective part that creates the safety issue. This is an inadequate non-fix. The clutch cover diaphragm spring needs to be replaced in all manual transmission vehicles. Fca needs to be held responsible for repair or needs to extend warranty for the affected assembly. No more bandaid fixes for safety issues from fca like the trailer hitch fix for Jeep that was done before.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #55

May 162016


  • miles
The contact owns a 2012 Fiat 500. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 16V302000 (power train); however, the part to do the repair was unavailable. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the repair. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure. VIN tool confirms parts not available.

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #54

Jun 012016


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Fiat 500. The contact stated that the vehicle experienced difficulty shifting out of first gear. The failure occurred without warning. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 16V302000 (power train); however, the part to do the repair was unavailable. The manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 30,000. VIN tool confirms parts not available.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #53

Apr 172016


  • 27,800 miles


The car was purchased on April 15, 2016. Since then, I have had to take the car in for service several times. The first issue was a problem with the brake light. The second issue was that the gears would not move and I had to use a screw driver to change the car from park to drive and vice versa, drive to reverse and vice versa, etc... the third issue was that the car rolled backwards. The recent issue was for a recall on the powertrain control. In addition, the car while driving on the freeway and local streets drifts to the right side. As a result of the drifting, I have had almost three car accidents in the past month. The service representative informed me that the drifting is a result of the roads on the freeway and locally and not an issue with the car. I no longer feel safe drive to this car and fear getting into a major accident. Today I contacted the Fiat owner assistance to file a complaint and request that the issue be addressed. Their response was that the car was safe as per the service reports and that I should get a wheel alignment at my expense. This recommendation was made by a corporate representative and not a mechanic. I am filing this complaint in hopes that the issue be addressed and that I am able to return the Fiat for another vehicle that is safe and meet the standard of quality Fiat is known for.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #52

May 192016


  • 7 miles
57,560 mileage, vehicle wont shift again, manual trasnmision in on my garage

- Hayward, CA, USA

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problem #51

Jul 282014

500 4-cyl

  • 7 miles
Mileage 33,245 manual transmission wont shift, clutch has failed, found belville spring on pressure plate has broke date 28/Jul/2014. Mileage 57,560 again 19/may/2016 need to recall im have al document.

- Hayward, CA, USA

problem #50

Jun 012016


  • 56,400 miles


I was driving on the highway and attempted to downshift while approaching an exit. My clutch became stiff and not responsive. I was unable to depress the clutch to change gears. While struggling to maintain control of the vehicle, I was able to get the vehicle out of gear and coast to the side of highway at the base of the exit ramp. I turned the car off to calm down, since I luckily avoided any major accident. A police car drove by and stopped to ask me if I was ok and I said I was fine. I was unable to get my car into gear after that and had to have the car towed to a garage. The mechanic at the garage said the clutch had failed. A quick check showed that this make and model were subject to an upcoming recall, so I had the car towed from the garage to a Fiat dealer for repair. The dealer told me that the clutch diaphragm spring failed and damaged the clutch. Repair bills attached. Repeated attempts to get a clear answer on the scope of the recall were unsuccessful.

- Cranston, RI, USA

problem #49

Jun 152014


  • 70,000 miles
Warning says airbag malfunction, all the time.brakes wear every 1000 miles.wheel bearings went out at 70,000 miles..these malfunctions happen when moving...

- Warsaw, IN, USA

problem #48

Apr 272016


  • 46,383 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Fiat 500. While pulling into a store parking lot, the contact heard an abnormal noise. After an attempt to shift the vehicle out of gear, it would not shift. The contact applied the emergency brake and restarted the vehicle in neutral. The vehicle was able to be shifted into the correct gear. Once the vehicle was shifted into drive, the vehicle was not able to be shifted. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the pressure plate was defective and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign number: 16V302000 (power train); however, the VIN was not included. The failure mileage was approximately 46,383.

- Bernardsville, NJ, USA

problem #47

May 282016


  • 26,000 miles
This vehicle is 4 years old, manual transmission, with approximately 26,000 miles. It has had regular service for oil changes and maintenance. I had been driving the car without incident. While exiting the highway there was resistance on the clutch when I put the car in neutral. At the bottom of the exit ramp I was unable to engage the clutch and could not get the car in gear. I was able to avoid other vehicles, and had a green light. I was able to make the left hand turn while coasting and stopped the car under the highway overpass where I waited for a tow truck. This is a fairly high-traffic area and other cars were unable to see my car until after making the left hand turn off of the exit ramp. The dealership states that the car needs a flywheel, clutch bearing and pressure disc plate. I understand that there have been similar complaints with fiat500S with manual transmissions. To date, there is still no recall attached to the VIN number and Fiat customer service has not been responsive to requests for assistance. Any additional NHTSA attention to these apparent manufacturing defects would be appreciated. Thank you.

- Sicklerville, NJ, USA

problem #46

Mar 022016


  • 34,769 miles


The pressured plate fail at 34769 K, ( was over 3 years warranty) I have to pay for a town company to move it to my mechanic. Also Y have a reamplace and cost me $ 1742.90

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #45

May 032016


  • 29,600 miles
Took car in for service with 29,600 miles on it. Was told it needed new valve cover gasket, both cv boots replaced, and both transmission output seals replaced. I had already replaced one transmission output seal at 22,000 miles. Total cost $900 all out of warranty. I've already filed a complaint about having to replace the clutch. Seems there are a lot of issues with this car.

- Fairfax, CA, USA

problem #44

Feb 272016

500 4-cyl

  • 28,488 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Fiat 500. The contact stated that while driving at 40 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the technician informed that the vehicle needed to be reset. The vehicle was repaired. The failure recurred with an abnormal sound emitting from the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 28,488.....updated 07/05/16 the consumer stated she took the vehicle to the dealer, after receiving a recall notice regarding the transmission. However, the dealer informed her, the back up device was not working. The consumer also stated there was an issue with the suspension. It felt as though the vehicle was going to turn over. Updated 07/21/16.

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #43

Feb 072016


  • 60,000 miles
Vehicle has a manual transmission. Without warning, during normal driving conditions on a city street, it became impossible to shift gears. The car had to be towed to a repair shop (Fiat dealer) where it was discovered the flywheel, clutch pressure plate, and clutch bearing were broken and had to be replaced. Cost for the repair was $1612

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #42

Mar 242016


  • 46,000 miles
I was driving in 3rd gear (manual trans) and tried to shift to 4th. The shift knob popped out of 3rd fine, but then would not go into 4th. When I tried to go back into 3rd it wouldn't engage. I ended up needing to shift into 2nd when the car lost momentum, it would not engage in this gear either, or 1st. I had to turn quickly onto a side street in order to not get hit from behind. With the car on, in neutral, and stationary, it would not shift into any gear (with the clutch pressed down). It felt like it just bounced out of gear without it ever engaging. With the car off, the shifter would engage fine - in any gear. From what I've read on multiple Fiat forums, this is a reoccurring problem for many. My car has approximately 46,000miles, and not had any major issues thus far, with the engine and body are in great condition. - ---- ----

- Murfreesboro, TN, USA

problem #41

Mar 082016


  • 43,000 miles
The clutch gave out in rush hour traffic as I was downshifting to enter a traffic circle. The clutch pedal became stiff and I was able to get the car into neutral, but could not put the car back in gear, or depress the clutch pedal fully. According to the mechanic, the pressure plate cracked due to it being manufactured with low-quality metal. The car has only 43,000 miles on it.

- Dothan, AL, USA

problem #40

Feb 112016


  • 58,249 miles
"takata recall" mechanical defect has been detected. My car was on the highway when suddenly it randomly began stating to "check transmission see handbook." I took it to a Fiat dealership in which I immediately advised them of the diagnosis code P0741 had been provided to them at drop off before any work was performed - tony (the service advisor) said that was not helpful could mean anything. (diagnosis means: Torque converter clutch circuit performance or stuck off) I was advised numbers lies and was told I needed a new transmission. Turns out there is a fault in the wiring of the system and computer which is now causing car to not stay in gear. I want to raise all awareness to this issue. Especially since the purchase of this car (only 58K in mileage) I have had to personally replace the following: Number of radiator repairs: 2 sunroof: 1 transmission: Faulty mechanical error total tune ups: 2 brake installments: 3 I was not made aware of any prior issues before purchase all issues have occurred due to manufacture negligence! no accidents have occurred. Please assist me in any way possible.

- Bear, DE, USA

problem #39

Feb 092016


  • 26,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Fiat 500 abarth. While driving approximately 55 mph, the clutch failed and prevented the transmission from shifting out of gear. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the clutch pressure plate would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 26,000.

- West Haven, CT, USA

problem #38

Jan 022016


  • 36,000 miles
At about 36,000 miles it became difficult to change gears and then shifter suddenly became impossible to control while on the road. Got off the road and car would not go into first gear, and when trying to reverse it made a horrible grinding sound. Car was immobile. Turns out that some 2012 Fiat have been reported to have faulty pressure plates installed. Dealership said it was my pressure plate and quoted a price of 1100+ as they said clutch is not covered under warranty. I fought that and Fiat Chrysler corporation ended up paying for the new clutch assembly. A photo of pressure plate were emailed by dealer with the note: As you can see here in the picture the fingers for the pressure plate are bent in 3 places causing the issue you are experiencing. The good news is I have spoken with ericka from Fiat Chrysler headquarters and this will be warrantied by them at no cost to you for the parts, labor or rental.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #37

Jan 102016


  • 60,000 miles
While in motion (1st gear) and about to shift into second the clutch became completely frozen and the shift lever was unable to move gears. This was while in traffic. The vehicle had to be shut down in order for the shifter to be put into neutral. The vehicle has 60,000 miles on it. No previous clutch issues were apparent.the service advisor told us it was a failure of the clutch pressure plate and consequently the slave cylinder. We were told that the clutch was not worn beyond normal wear and tear for the mileage so this was not caused by user error but defective pressure plate. We were told that because the transmission was out we might as well replace the clutch but it was not required. Total repair cost was $1030 including the pressure plate, slave cylinder, clutch and labor. This issue has occurred on numerous 2012 Fiat 500's based upon other owners. This is a severe safety hazard from a defective part. The new part has a new part number but I was told this has no relation to pressure plate updates even though newer 500's don't seem to have the issue. Also noticed was the cars clutch feels completely different than it did upon purchase of the vehicle in 2012 through prior to the repair. Now the clutch pedal exhibits a completely loose feeling without tension as it did the past 4 years.

- Davie, FL, USA

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