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:
94,007 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Fiat 500 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Jul 292016


  • 1,760,000 miles


I can not get my headlights to shut off when I contact Fiat at 888-242-6342 they tell me that it is some kind of updating software called follow me 30. I know for fact that this vehicle did not have this software available for the 2012 that software was only used on vehicles in 2010 and Fiat didn't have 5 dealerships in the entire United States of America if they had one in 2010. The software follow me was only on foreign Fiat cars also I keep getting a light saying tire pressure monitoring is unavailable! when I call Fiat I get poor customer service I even had a lady call me a criminal for giving my whole VIN # she stated she needed to "make sure you didn't just walk by the vehicle and give a VIN # that you got from something else." I believe Fiat is hacking in to vehicles in an effort to get customers to bring the vehicles to ken graff Fiat 198 E 500 South salt lake city Utah 84111. I refuse to go back to this car dealership because they seem to be more concerned whith when and where I purchased the car and if I had a car note Fiat tried to pretend that they didnt have parts avalible and to get me to drive a loaner car. I own my car! I dont have a car note and it seems to be alot of funny business going on in regards ken graff and chysler Fiat aurbun hills refuses to help with the matter also the milegage seems to have slowed down a whole lot for example if I drive 20 miles it will only show 15. I want my car to work not be a danger to my child and myself my car now has 176,000 miles on it!

- Saratoga Springs, UT, USA

problem #21

Feb 162013


  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Fiat 500. While driving various speeds with the accelerator pedal depressed, the vehicle hesitated to accelerate without warning. The contact also stated that a burning plastic odor emitted from the vehicle. In addition, the contact stated that the vehicle hesitated to start. The contact mentioned that the failures recurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the clutch pedal needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The contact later 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 recall repair. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 38,000. VIN tool confirms parts not available.

- West Richland, WA, USA

problem #20

Aug 012012

500 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 15 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Fiat 500. When the ignition was turned to the on position, half of the instrument panel failed to illuminate. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the instrument panel was defective and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. When the ignition was turned to the on position, the engine revved but the vehicle failed to start. The ignition had to be turned to the off position and back on in order for the vehicle to start. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the started idle gear failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The contact also stated that the fuel gauge failed to register the fuel range. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the fuel gauge failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 15.....updated 08/29/16

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #19

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 #18

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 #17

Oct 162012


  • 952 miles
Car suddenly stops running while just driving forward. Ignition key remains in "on" position, but all accessory/warning lights come on. This has happened 3 times, the first while car had 950 miles on it in October 1012. Car was taken to dealership service department. When I received it back I was told that they had "changed the software". the second time the car ceased running (5,414 miles) while being driven forward, I had it towed to the dealership and received it back with the information that they could not find anything wrong with it. I stopped driving the vehicle except for occasionally driving it around my quiet neighborhood to keep the battery charged up. On September 26, 2015, I decided to drive the car to a nearby target (approx. 1.5 miles from my home). The car drove there perfectly but ceased running as I drove towards home. Again I had the car towed to the service department at Fiat/alfa romeo of austin. Today Fiat customer service called me and said the service facility was not able to find anything wrong with the car and was returning the car to me again without diagnosis or repair of the problem. My case number with Fiat customer service is: 278-579-22. All three of these very frightening sudden stalls occurred on city streets. There is no unusual noise or warning, the car just suddenly stops running. I was driving straight ahead each time. The engine was not hot or were there any unusual odors or sounds. I turned on my emergency flashers, turned the ignition key to the "off" position, put the shift lever in "park" and the car immediately started again and ran without further difficulty. I was very, very lucky that I was not hit from behind as the last two incidents were in busy traffic areas. I will not drive this vehicle again.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #16

Aug 032015


  • 48,000 miles


My 2012 Fiat is having starter issues. Sometimes the engine just cuts off. I took the car in and they told me that all 2012 Fiat recently serviced, are having this issue. There is no fix until Chrysler creates a code for the system. I asked how long has this been going on and he said 3 months now. So basically I have to deal with my car barley starting and possibily cutting off and there is no solution. This could be dangerous and may lead to other damages. Something needs to be done.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #15

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

problem #14

Jul 162015


  • miles
Engine light and transmition light keeps coming on along with other dash lights. My car also randomly died, everything would cut on but my car wouldn't turn over. We placed a new battery in it and the Fiat did the same thing so we put the old one back on and tried to jump start it, the car acted like it was going to turn over but never did. I took my Fiat to a Fiat dealership to be fixed they said it was the battery the whole time but the computer chiped was fried. The problem is the Fiat has only been back a week and occasionally the engine light and transmition and a couple more lights are still comming on. I haven't even had the car a year and I am already having major problems.

- Decatur, TX, USA

problem #13

Dec 182013


  • 15,000 miles
Engine light when on with 10 K miles in my engine only 1/4 oil left, the dealer performece the oil change 3 weeks latter engine light on again. Only 1/4 oil inside, they did the (cot) consumcion oil test every 500 miles for 4 times. Answer from the manufacture "every 1 K miles I have to add 1/4 oil" now I have to check it every 1 K... not include in the guarante. If the manueal says oil change every 8 K miles how is posible 1/4 every 1 K miles I think they just clean their hands...

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #12

Jun 042012

500 4-cyl

  • 11,000 miles


My car had problems shifting gears and the high coolant temperature light went on. The warning said stop and turn car off immediately. I pulled into my driveway and had the car towed to stateline Fiat where I purchased the car. They topped off the coolant and said the car was ready to be picked up. I got in the car and it started to shake when I turned the ignition. They said it was a loose cap and tightened it. I drove back home and within 3 months the same thing happened again. The car was towed to a new local Fiat. Over the past 2 and a half years, I have had to pull off on the side of the road multiple times and have the car towed. No one can seem to find the exact issue with the car, but they keep telling me it is fixed. The bottom line is I do not feel safe driving this car. I feel my safety and the safety of other drivers is in jeopardy when this vehicle is on the road.

- Lexington, SC, USA

problem #11

Jan 052015


  • 53,000 miles
Car diagnosed with transmission cooler failure. Warmed car up in the morning for 5 minutes(cold morning, low below zero). Noticed after getting in the car that it was still cold inside. On the way to work after 8 miles or so and the heater still blowing cold air, the high temperature/turn of engine warning message appeared and the digital temp gauge was at max. Stopped car and had it towed to Fiat dealer for service. They diagnosed it as a transmission cooler failure. Thinking is that the engine coolant froze, damaging the transmission cooler and causing it to mix trans fluid and engine coolant. There were no warning signs this was about to happen, car acted normal previous day of driving. This happened 3000 miles past the warranty expiring.

- Carpentersville, IL, USA

problem #10

Sep 262012

500 4-cyl

  • 200 miles
Anytime sport mode is engaged, car does not decrease in speed properly. Even with brake applied, the car lunges forward as I'm trying to slow down. When driving using sport mode, I have to stay very far away from other vehicles in case of sudden braking because the vehicle will not slow down properly. My husband drove my car in sport mode not knowing that it lunged forward when braking and wound up an inch away from someone's bumper after attempting to slow down from a speed of about 20mph. This is extremely unsafe for the driver and other's around.

- Burleson, TX, USA

problem #9

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 #8

Nov 112014

500 4-cyl

  • 35,400 miles
I was driving to work on dallas North tollway cruising at normal highway speed. I was in 5th gear in the far left lane driving at consistent speed. I heard a pop sound and then a sound as if something were dragging. It was as if I had run over a block of styrofoam in a shopping cart. Immediately my car lost power followed by messages on the hud: Low oil pressure; no oil pressure; see handbook. I immediately let my foot off the pedals and cruised to the shoulder. I saw oil or some other fluid had covered the rear of my car and was covering the ground underneath. The fluid had a reddish tinge to it. A piece of metal appeared to be hanging from underneath the car. Oil was everywhere. [xxx], the general manager of Fiat of mckinney, told me that the engine needed to be replaced but that it would not be covered by the warranty because the maximum engine "over-rev" reached a value of 7300 a total of 26 times. Fiat vehicles are equipped with engine safety features which limit RPM to acceptable values. I have never reached that RPM in that vehicle. I received a copy of the Fiat 500 diagnostics captured using a witech and it shows 3 pieces of data: Total over rev counter = 26, max engine over rev RPM = 7320, total time exceeding max engine RPM 0.0 seconds. There are no times associated with the overrev instances so that one could deduce that an overrev caused the engine failure. If it says that the total time over max engine RPM is 0.0 seconds, how is this possible if it indicated 26 times? since this is valued in total seconds, if the times added up to 0.0444 - which would be the maximum value possible before rounding up to 0.1, that means each of the 26 over rev instances would have lasted 0.0017 seconds. Even if going at 7320 RPM, the Fiat 500 engine can only go $12.44 revolutions in 0.0017 seconds. There is no way that it could be measured this accurately.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #7

Jul 012012

500 4-cyl

  • 500 miles
I was driving on the highway when the vehicle shut off and dropped speed quickly, was advised by the dealer that it was an electrical shortage to the battery as the car was brand new. Took the vehicle back in for repair, and it has happened three more times since that over the past two years. Two of those times were also on the highway. The most recent was last month (September 13, 2014) while making a U-turn at a light in front of moving traffic the car completely shut off right after my turn. Luckily, I was able to coast to the side and the car behind me saw me in time to stop.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #6

Sep 122012


  • miles
This occurred about 6 times already. When making a left or right turn the vehicle shuts off and coasts until you stop to shut it off and turn back on. The battery and oil pressure lights come on during the coasting. Came very close to being hit twice due to this problem, but the dealer say they haven't heard anything like this before.

- Fort Meade, FL, USA

problem #5

Aug 012014


  • miles
2012 Fiat 500. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle "generic warning light" illuminated.

- Sparta, GA, USA

problem #4

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 #3

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

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