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 5 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #16

Oct 242012

500 4-cyl

  • 200 miles


Since I purchased my 2012 Fiat 500 sport in September of 2012 I have had this issue. Occasionally (about 4 times a week), the car fails to start. When turning the key in the ignition, the car makes a noise as if it is going to start but winds down and loses power. I turn the key back, wait about 5 seconds and the car will normally start. This happens all year around. I contacted the holt Fiat of fort worth where the car was purchased and took it in to be looked at. They could not replicate the issue. It is very random but happens very often.

- Burleson, TX, USA

problem #15

Dec 022014

500 4-cyl

  • 56,000 miles
While exiting the freeway, I noticed that the clutch felt different in that there was suddenly a lot of resistance near the floor when depressing the clutch pedal. Car would not go into 1st gear at the light. Finally struggled it into 2nd and went. The clutch does not fully disengage. After searching online forums, I found that this is a recurrent problem with the vehicle, and it is most likely a pressure plate failure, since the clutch does not slip once it's in gear, but the clutch also does not fully disengage with the pedal pressed all the way down, even though previously, the clutch disengaged at half pedal height. I was able to baby the car home, and proceeded to bleed the hydraulic cylinders and observe clutch pedal action. When the clutch pedal is depressed, the actuator moves all the way on the transmission, so it is not a pedal failure. It is most definitely the pressure plate, which is obviously defective.

- Anderson, IN, USA

problem #14

Nov 122014

500 4-cyl

  • 54,000 miles
I was driving down a street by a school doing 20 mph. Went to down shift and the clutch locked up. I could not push it to the floor. Since I could not push the clutch down I could not shift gears. I have driven a clutch for over 30 years and never had to replace a clutch. There was no warning with this. Just happened with no previous slipping or any indication something was going bad with the clutch.

- Columbia, MO, USA

problem #13

Nov 072014

500 4-cyl

  • 34,500 miles


Vehicle sustained a catastrophic clutch failure while being driven at approx 25 mph resulting in an inoperable vehicle. Additionally, the vehicle could not be shifted out of 4th gear as clutch could not be engaged. Vehicle had to be turned off and emergency brake used to guide vehicle off of road. Vehicle towed to dealer. Manufacture replaced pressure plate and clutch. Vehicle displayed no signs of worn clutch prior to incident.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #12

May 082014

500 4-cyl

  • 49,800 miles
The oil pressure sensor warning light would randomly go on and off. The vehicle was taken to the dealership three times to repair the problem. On the third time, the dealership said that it was due to a damaged short block and that it would need to be replaced. This was in October 2014 and the mileage was 52,500 so my car was no longer under warranty. The dealer quoted approximately $5000 for the repair. Shouldn't the warranty cover the repair because the problem began at 49,800 miles? the Fiat dealership does not agree.

- West Hollywood, CA, USA

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problem #11

Aug 042012

500 4-cyl

  • 3,000 miles
Shortly after purchasing my vehicle I began to have issues with a soft clutch or a stuck clutch. Usually while driving at freeway speeds and attempting to downshift or come to a stop the clutch pedal will lose all pressure and either become stuck to the floor or not operate normally. Upon stopping and pumping the clutch some pressure will return and the clutch will operate abnormally for a shot time before returning to normal feel. Usually the clutch will get stuck to the floor and I will be unable to pull the car out of gear while driving 50+ mph. The fluid level in the master cylinder has never fallen below normal and 2 separate dealerships have checked it multiple times and said there was no fault to be found but I experience this problem on either a monthly, weekly or even daily basis during the worst episodes. The car is currently at about 25,000 miles now and the problem remains a constant annoyance that leaves me feeling unsafe in operating the vehicle at times because I do not know when or how bad the problem will be.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #10

Jul 252014


  • 24,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Fiat 500. The contact stated that the clutch failed. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where the technician diagnosed that the clutch was burned and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 24,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Woodland Hills , CA, USA

problem #9

Apr 282014

500 4-cyl

  • 27,000 miles
Driving home during rush hour traffic, came to a stop at a red light. Clutch failed, could not engage any gear. Was able to get vehicle out of traffic and towed to service station. Fiat claiming that it is a worn clutch after 27,000 miles. Will only support clutch for first 12,000 miles. It's good my children were not in the car or this would have been a seriously dangerous situation.

- Littleton, CO, USA

problem #8

Jul 292013

500 4-cyl

  • 13,250 miles
The vehicle "pops" out of 5th gear at highway speeds of 60mph or higher. The tachometer goes into the red and the car slows down in traffic or on a hill until placed into gear again.

- N Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #7

Mar 082014

500 4-cyl

  • 44,200 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Fiat 500. The contact stated that while driving 10 mph, she depressed the clutch but it became jammed and the vehicle became stuck in second gear. The vehicle was towed to a dealer, who inspected the vehicle and stated that the manual transmission clutch disc failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 44,200.

- Millville, MA, USA

problem #6

Dec 172013

500 4-cyl

  • 29,412 miles


2012 Fiat 500 clutch went out as we were nearing railroad tracks. We could not get auto into any gear and had to coast over the tracks and into our neighborhood. We had it towed to the dealer for service. They stated it was a worn clutch even though we had less than 30,000 miles. We asked them to investigate if it were faulty parts. They stated ours was the only known case. We found many other cases on the internet. We could have hurt or killed, especially if it had happened while we were in the freeway fast lane. Fiat paid for our parts, and we paid for the labor. They eventually agreed to reimburse us for the labor "as a gesture of goodwill". we are waiting for the check. We are still concerned about the safety of these parts in other cars, and about the safety of our replaced parts.

- Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #5

Jan 092014

500 4-cyl

  • 47,433 miles
Vehicle clutch failed to disengage. Dealer advised customer (me) parts not under warranty and advised Fiat that clutch is worn out. Dealer completed the repair; customer paid $940 for repair. Dealer invoice notes: "clutch pressure plate spring damage and distorted" - damaged component is not a wear-and-tear component of the clutch assembly, and has suffered catastrophic failure, not a progressive wear. Fiat refuses to review and re-evaluate the case.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #4

Dec 232013


  • 40,047 miles
I was driving home on a road flat/straight road with a 50 mph speed limit. I was shifting my gears (manual) as I noticed that the light ahead was turning from red to green. I could not get the gear to grasp 3rd. Moreover, the when I tried pressing the brake, it did not feel like it normally does. It was much more difficult to push the brake. I was really scared and almost had an accident. I was somehow able to coax my car to the side of the road. I turned the car off, and turned it back on. I fully pushed the clutch in with my left foot, but was unable to moved the gear shift from neutral into any of the gears (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or reverse). I turned the car off again, at this point I took my foot off the clutch and was able to freely more the gear shift into any of the gears. Something is tremendously wrong with this car. If this had happened to me on the highway I could have been seriously injured. The dealer has said that the clutch, bearings, and pressure plate needs to be replaced. My concern is that this may happen again to me if the dealer replaces the bad parts with new ('potentially defective') parts. A recall needs to be issued. I do not want this to happen to again to me or someone else.

- Sparks, MD, USA

problem #3

Mar 022012

500 6-cyl

  • 150 miles
When I am driving and I am start slowing down for a light before it get to a full stop the transmission down shift to quick that makes the car jerk, I stop and wait for the light to change and it downshift by itself, it feels like somebody is hitting you on the rear of the car but nobody is there.I brought the car several times to the dealer but because it does not happen all the time nothing they could do about it. One of the times that I was at the dealer it happened. I put the car in reverse, drove it for 10 feet and then shifted to forward and the transmission would not do anything for 3 to 4 seconds then a jump (shifted to 1st gear) I was with the person who makes the appointments so he told me to bring the car next day. Next day they drove it and the car would shift fine so nothing was fixed. Last week, I told then to keep the car and let the foreman to drive it home so he would feel what it was happening, he told me that it happened once but on downshift and that could be a computer program and I have to wait until Fiat develop a new program. They tried everything that they know and the final solution was the way that I drive or the computer have to adjust when I change my driving from the highway to the city I thing is a lot of bs I drive 120 miles daily to work and I am worry that the downshift will happen when I am driving on highway speed and of course they told me that the downshift will not happen on higher speed even that they said they do not know why I keep bringing the car with the same transmission problem. Please help me to resolve this problem because even the car folds on the lemon law still I have to makes the payments. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Worcester, MA, USA

problem #2

Sep 112013


  • 25,114 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Fiat 500 sport. The contact stated while driving 40 mph, the vehicle failed to shift gears. The vehicle was driven onto the emergency lane and the generic warning light was illuminated. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 25,114.

- Poolesville, MD, USA

problem #1

Aug 222013


  • 39,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Fiat 500. The contact stated that while attempting to start the vehicle, the vehicle stalled and the key become stuck in the ignition. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 39,000.

- Stafford, TX, USA

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