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:
27,740 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 4 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

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

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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

problem #36

Nov 202015


  • 17,500 miles
Clutch would not disengage, could not shift into gear from neutral, in middle of traffic, had to shut engine off, put in gear, start in gear and drove to safe location[city street] [11/20/2015] [17,500 miles on car]$1400 for clutch replacement

- Napa, CA, USA

problem #35

Dec 022015


  • 43,000 miles
The clutch failed without warning, preventing the car from shifting gears -- from second to third gear in regular, city-street traffic (lyndale ave., in minneapolis, mn). At the moment of failure, I heard/felt a distinct yet light "thump" as I pressed down on the clutch pedal. The car only has 40K miles on it.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #34

Nov 292015


  • 28,500 miles
I was driving along at about 30 mph and my clutch pedal became very difficult to push in and I could not shift. I was lucky enough to turn into a parking lot where I could not put the car into gear. Once the car was off I could move about the gears but once the car was on the pedal would not go down all the way and I could not get it into gear. There has been zero slipping or grinding of the gears and I have less than 30,000 miles. I am currently awaiting if my warranty will cover this issue. From what I have seen online the pressure plate has been cracked out warped so I plan to fight to have this covered under warranty. To think that a clutch would go out in 2.5 years and under 30,000 miles if crazy but when I spoke with Fiat dealership he made it seem that they see it all the time and customer care at first said they have seen it multiple times....updated 7/19/16

- Oregon City, OR, USA

problem #33

Nov 022015


  • 46,000 miles
The transmission nearly fell apart while meging on the freeway. I now need a new transmission on a car with 46,000 miles on it.

- Asheville, NC, USA

problem #32

Oct 312015


  • 46,000 miles
Clutch failure in traffic after leaving a stop light. No prior warning/signs that the clutch would fail (ie. No slipping). Car started in first just fine, went to shift into second and the clutch would not disengage. The pedal was completely stiff and was unable to be pressed all the way to the floor. I then drifted to the side of the road where I was able to get the car to stop, thankfully I was not going at a higher speed otherwise this problem could have potentially caused a wreck. At this point in time I tried to shift my car into gear (with the car off), but the clutch wouldn't even allow any gears to engage. I had the car towed to my home, and then Fiat had the car towed to the nearest dealer of my choice (I still had to pay for the Fiat towing). I am currently pending a call from the dealership to diagnose + fix my car, which will most likely have to be payed out of pocket. This is most likely a manufacturer defect, as has been stated in numerous other clutch failure reports for this year's make.

- Washington, PA, USA

problem #31

Jun 302015


  • 30,000 miles
I was driving down a busy thoroughfare at around 30 mph when my clutch suddenly stiffened up and became impossible to engage. I tried in vain to shift out of third gear as I neared a stoplight, but the gear stick wouldn't budge and the car ended up stalling in the middle of the road. I managed after a minute to yank the stick into neutral and coast down a small hill into an empty parking space. In the end, it was a dead clutch after only 30,000 miles. This could have easily caused an accident had it occurred on the freeway or in a busy intersection.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #30

Sep 232015


  • 46,000 miles
While driving the vehicle, and a need to shift occurs, the clutch will lockup, completely frozen, making it impossible no matter how hard you push, to depress the pedal making it impossible to shift gear. This happens every 20,000 miles and each time, dealer service dept says it's a "bent pressure plate". but Fiat classifies this a "wear & tear" item and cannot help. Dealer service wants $2000 each time (though independent repair shops likely would charge less). This has already happened twice and Fiat will not help. Hard to believe that Fiat believes this is normal expected behavior on their vehicles, for owners to have to fork out $2000 every 20,000 miles for new pressure plates. When it happens to you, it can be very dangerous depending where you happen to be at the time. Internet searches for Fiat pressure plate will show a pattern of this issue, and no official response from Fiat.

- Renton, WA, USA

problem #29

Sep 032015


  • 20,000 miles
Pulled up to a stop light, depressed clutch and shifted to neutral. When light turned green, I depressed the clutch and it locked up and would not engage allowing me to shift into a gear. Mechanic said its a bent pressure plate and the entire clutch assy. Needs replaced for ~$2,000. Obviously bending of the pressure plate is not "normal wear and tear" and its also very rare to have a clutch fail so early (20,000 miles). Unfortunately Fiat is saying this is a normal wear and tear issue and is not covered under warranty. Reading the forums, this seems to be a very common problem with manual shift Fiat and is a terrible safety hazard (think if the clutch locked up at highway speeds preventing someone from shifting out of gear). This part should be recalled and replaced on all manual transmission Fiat and costs fully covered.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #28

May 292015


  • 6,000 miles
The car got stuck with mud under the car. When we go it pulled out and took it to the dealer would have cost us 3000 to have it fixed. That way to much and they told there was problem with the engine now. They wouldn't work a deal on it. When driving home we noticed thry left a plate from under the sterling will and had rip the black peace that wrapes oround it.we to it to a tramission place in town where they fixed the transmissin, the car drive like a mess I just afraid to go lomg distance.

- Kennedale, TX, USA

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