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:
95,863 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 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

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

problem #2

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 #1

Oct 012012

500 4-cyl

  • 1,400 miles
Multiple occasions, probably > 10 times in past two months. At low steady speed, such as driving in a parking lot, when I let up on gas pedal, the car does not slow down immediately. One expects the immediate, slight feeling of deceleration on the body, but it doesn't come right away. Usually it lasts about one second. It has lasted up to three seconds. Recently this happened while driving steadily at 30mph, I let up on accelerator entering a 20mph zone, and car did not slow down immediately. This was the occasion it took 3 seconds. I have been paying attention to this issue recently because it happens so much. I have not noticed this problem at high speed, such as expressway driving.

- Spokane, WA, USA

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