NHTSA — Engine Problems

2012 Fiat 500 (Page 1 of 3)

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt

CarComplaints.com 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:
72,013 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 3)

problem #51

Nov 112021


  • miles


I've had 3 different issues with the transmission- There's been 1 recall on the clutch- The transmission put me in Great danger I was driving on the freeway about 60 mph when the car just popped into neutral- I was terrified and I managed to pull to safety to put the manual transmission into gear- I didn't want it to happen again- I had to hold the gear until I got to an exit to get off the freeway- I had the Fiat towed to the dealership and fixed- then 6 months later driving again and it jumps out of gear into Neutral another scare- I put it in the shop and it cost me $4646,00 to replace the transmission, I really would like this serious safety hazzard investigated so no one gets hurt- I was Blessed to be able to think fast to save my life on a busy Highway my safety and others was put at risk because it could have caused a crash- It gives no warning at all- car is available upon request I have all receipts I can send -for some reason I was unable to download to this Site

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #50

Apr 262021


  • miles
I bought this car about a year ago, ever since I got the car the first issue started within a month it just started to shut off for no reason first at a traffic light, afterward while I was driving called the dealership who sold me the car I was told to bring it to find out they did not have a certified Fiat Mechanic that would be able to look at the car so it was towed to another dealership. I was told they fixed the issue but once again the vehicle started doing the same thing even more frequently fast forward my car has yet to be fixed I feel like I am going to get rear-ended and hurt really bad and all I get from the dealership is that they can't fix it. My question to them is why I sell me a car that you knew you could not repair or you knew you really didn't check properly as per your words you don't have a certified mechanic.

- St Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #49

Sep 012020


  • 110,000 miles
Just like everyone else that owns a 2012 it won't hold oil pressure

- Richmond, KY, USA

problem #48

Aug 142020


  • 67,466 miles


The starter motor fails to engage at random times. I have taken it to the dealership and to local mechanics and none have been able to replicate the issue. The starter motor will sometimes start right up for them, causing them to rule out a faulty starter. If the vehicle is left over night, it may start right back up. After selling the car on 2 occasions, both new owners reported within 24 hours of ownership that the vehicle would not start after having driven it for more than 10mi. I believe fca is well-aware of this relatively common issue. A google search for this problem yields pages upon pages of owners reporting similar issues. I can share youtube videos of owner's either reporting the problem or comments of others having a similar issue https://www.youtube.com/watch"V=L7soezkwut4 https://www.youtube.com/watch"V=pffvy3arsvs

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #47

Jun 162020

500 4-cyl

  • 79,250 miles
While driving home via local city surface streets, the gearbox fail light and the have transmission checked message came up on the dash cluster. I drove the car 4 more miles to a service station, stopping twice on the way. The car began running poorly. Including bucking, revving high, while staying at low speed, stalling and bucking at lights low idle or stops. The service station said other than a low number (4 times per 1000 I think...a cylinder misfire) no codes came up. When reset the car would run briefly as normal butat first stop all issues would resume in full again. I was able to drive the car home (2 blocks) but was not sure it would make it. It sits in my parking spot as we speak.

- Montgomery Village, MD, USA

problem #46

May 152018


  • 80,000 miles
Car sometimes cuts off while driving with no warning. All guages spike, car cuts off. I pull over and it starts back up. No codes were stored. This is very dangerous. Can't find the problem.

- Four Oaks, NC, USA

problem #45

Mar 122020


  • 149,000 miles


We've replaced the shifter cable on the Fiat twice on our own. Recently, Fiat replaced it under recall no. 19V817000. Fiat's replacement cable/bushing lasted three shifts. Shifted into drive to leave the dealership. Shifted into park at home. Shifted into drive on next use and the cable was detached. Fiat's solution is not an improvement. Comparing the replacement bushing with the old bushing, there isn't any difference that will prevent this issue. This is a dangerous issue. The first time it occurred we were stuck in the middle of the street from reversing out of a parking sport and the cable bushing failing when we went to put it in drive. The repaid under 19V817000 is not a corrective repair.

- River Ridge, LA, USA

problem #44

Sep 022019


  • miles
Oil presure light comes on saying stop turn engine off low iol pressure after I drive it for about 10 mins I guess after it get hot. Then chexk engine liggt comes with it. Other people has and are going threw the same thing with 2012 Fiat 509 sports. Its all over the you tube why is this happing. I replace oil presure sensor and changed my oil same thing it didnt change anything asking for a recall on the oil pum or what is causing this. Plus it makea a sound after driving at the same time it shows up while pushing gas pedal

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #43

Jul 292019


  • 69,372 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Fiat 500. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start. An independent mechanic diagnosed that the cam shaft failed and needed to be replaced. In addition, piston number one was not compressing. The technician removed the valve cover and noticed that the relief of the elevate stick, where piston number one was located, fractured the exhaust valve. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The dealer and manufacturer were not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 69,372.

- Utuado, PR, USA

problem #42

Mar 122019


  • 65,000 miles
I bought the car 2 years ago and driven it without any issues until a few months ago when the low oil pressure light showed. Being in traffic and in the rain, I did drive my car home. I took it to a local mechanic the next day who changed the low oil pressure sensor and changed the oil and it looked like the problem went away. But after a few weeks it appeared again. I tried to research the problem on the net and most posts I found indicated that the entire engine needs to be replaced. The car has 65000 miles, seems like an unfair problem to have for such a young engine. The problem occurrs only at idle. Since I drive the car very little and in no traffic I decided to continue driving it and look out for the light and turn off the engine when it comes on. But one day my car did not start so I towed it to my mechanic which found the starter had some corroded bolts (?) which he cleaned and the car runs fine now. But he warned me that the oil pressure problem is only going to get worse and that at some point I will have to replace the engine. I tried to figure out why this problem occurred in the first place by trying to find any sensible information on the internet. It seems like there is quite a few owners out there that have the same problem, but did not find any answers on what is the cause of it. I found this information on a recall regarding the starter: Csn N15 starter motor mounting bolts 2012 (ff) Fiat 500 the starter motor mounting bolts on about 3K of vehicles may not ground the starter motor to the transaxle case properly. This could cause the electrical energy from the starter motor during cranking to take an alternate path to ground across the engine crankshaft bearings. My car is not recalled for this problem. But is it still possible that my car was affected by the same problem" and if yes, who is responsible for the damages that result form it"

- Ventura, CA, USA

problem #41

Jan 012019


  • 88,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Fiat 500. While driving various speeds, the contact smelled carbon monoxide inside the vehicle. While driving low speeds, the vehicle stalled, but was able to be restarted. The failures occurred intermittently. Also, the engine and battery warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic and the clutch was repaired; however, the failures recurred. An unknown local dealer diagnosed the vehicle and stated that the transmission needed to be repaired. The transmission had not been repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failures. The failure mileage was 88,000. The VIN was not available.

- Lexington, SC, USA

problem #40

Mar 042019


  • 24,571 miles
Car has oil leak from engine main seal.issue adviced to dealer upon sale, mechanics denied until 3rd party estimate.then dealer said to have fixed it until once again the issue came up--service done for maintenance kept. Dealership sold. New owners of dealers found same problem. New warranty denied claims and said it was a prex condition that was not taken care. Car continues to leak oil and issue is now on my bill as responsibility. Issue is a Fiat brand for the year 2012 and should be Fiat responisbilility to monitor and recall cars with these issues to fix.Fiat too needs to monitor dealerships that sell used cars with problems they deny to service prior to selling and aware of the issue before it was sold along with a recall that had not been serviced prior to the sale and old manager/prior to sale of business did not take care of although aware it was in place..

- Hialeah, FL, USA

problem #39

Jan 302019


  • 55,000 miles
An issue involving the starter motor bolts not being grounded. Caused intermittent starting. This issue is a known issue for Fiat under the following: Customer satisfaction notification N15 starter motor mounting bolts 2012 (ff) Fiat 500 note: This notification applies only to the above vehicles equipped with a manual transaxle (sales code ddf) built from March 15, 2011 through June 30, 2011 (mdh 031500 through 063023). '' however, it is not covered under my car...but it is the same problem...I see other Fiat owners reporting this issue...but there has not been a recall...this caused me to miss approx 2 days of work...pay for a tow truck...and send to a dealer to fix at a cost of 280 dollars for a known issue by Fiat....

- Bellevue, NE, USA

problem #38

Jan 092019


  • miles
Concerns that vehicle S34 recall has never been complete vehicle is now for sale at a car dealership no paper trail on the recall.

- Fort Benning, GA, USA

problem #37

Jul 162018


  • 60,000 miles
I car warning lights started coming on and staying on all the time. I took the car in for an oil change and was advised I needed a new motor. The car is constantly stalling, cutting off all the time, bearly restarting and only able to drive less than 25 mph. This is the problem every time I start it up.

- Cordova, TN, USA

problem #36

Nov 032017


  • 14,693 miles
2012 Fiat pop, 14,693 miles. I am the second owner. Driving at 25 mph, the engine light came on, and a message advising that I should pull over because there was low oil, the oil light warning came on. Drove car to dealer at 1820 santa monica boulevard, santa monica Fiat. They diagnosed code P1068 which they advised is a "cylinder 2 oil supply selonoid out of range." Al at the dealer advised that it would take 5 - 6 hours to diagnose the problem, and he didn't want to spend the time to do it. He further advised that he heard a noise (which I could not hear) and that the code and noise combined indicates that the car needs a new crank shaft and that metal shavings from bearing failure could cause oil pump stress and damage to oil pump, which would cost $4,016.90 plus tax. I declined the repairs because al's advice was based on him hearing a noise, and not based on diagnosis by a hands-on mechanic. The engine light remains on. Al, at the Fiat dealer, will not take further steps to rule out other (less expensive) reasons the engine light would come on (e.g., failed gas cap, etc.). "hearing a noise" is not grounds to make a $4,000+ repair on a car with merely 14,000+ miles. The engine light combined with Fiat's lack of care to fix the problem could be a road hazard. When I complained to al that he had not actually diagnosed the problem, but rather "guessed" that the car needed a new crank shaft, he decided not to charge me. He said, "you're right, we didn't do the work to make sure you need it." He admitted it was a guess, and noted that he "would not know for sure till the vehicle has gone through a tear down." I am nervous with the engine light on, and no true diagnosis from Fiat (it could be anything from a gas cap problem to a failed engine).

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #35

Jul 282017


  • 26,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Fiat 500. While driving various speeds or while parked, the check transmission, check engine, and ESC warning indicators illuminated. The contact stated that the first time the failure occurred, the vehicle felt sluggish while driving and an unknown odor was detected in the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic, but the cause of the failure could not be determined. There were no warning indicators illuminated and no failure codes. The contact stated that the warning indicators illuminated later. The vehicle was taken to ron lewis Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat cranberry (21145 us-19, cranberry twp, pa 16066 (724) 452-4040), but the failure still could not be determined or duplicated. The third time the failure occurred, the vehicle was taken back to the dealer where a diagnosis still could not be made; however, four spark plugs and the number one coil were changed because the check engine warning indicator illuminated. The contact mentioned that the failure still occurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failures and referred the contact to NHTSA. The failure mileage was approximately 26,000.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #34

Sep 222017

500 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 31,433 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Fiat 500 being hauled by a 2006 Dodge sprinter 2500. While the Fiat was being towed, the gear independently shifted from neutral into drive. The failure caused substantial engine damage. The vehicle was included in, but the contact was not notified of NHTSA campaign number: 16V302000 (power train). The dealer (schmelz countryside Fiat, 1178 mn-36, maplewood, mn 55109, (651) 484-8441) was notified of the failure and was inspecting the vehicle to determine the cause of the failure, affecting the engine associated with the power train failure. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was currently at the dealer to be serviced. The approximate failure mileage was 31,433. Parts distribution disconnect. Consumer stated the faulty did not allow the transmission to disengage. Updated 7/20/18

- Sarona, WI, USA

problem #33

Sep 172017

500 4-cyl

  • miles
I called Fiat 800-992-1997 I asked about the recall on my vehicle for the 100th time they told me that I would need to take my VIN # [xxx] in for a diagnostic before I could get the recall fixed for my clutch I told Fiat I don't have the money to pay for a diagnostic and I would have to save up so it will take another year for me to have the recall complete so I will just keep my car here at home an choose not to drive it I will rent cars instead also the car can not be bought transferred or sold with out the completed recall! information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Saratoga Springs, UT, USA

problem #32

Jun 012012


  • 2,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Fiat 500. While driving various speeds, a knocking noise was heard coming from the engine and the check engine indicator illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer (Fiat of freemont in freemont, ca) who was unable determine the cause of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired and the failure continued. The vehicle was taken to normandin Fiat in san jose where it was diagnosed that the engine was faulty due to a failing main bearing and a crankshaft failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure, but no assistance was offered. The failure mileage was 2,000.

- San Jose, CA, USA

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