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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,450 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 miscellaneous problems

miscellaneous problem

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2012 Fiat 500 Owner Comments

problem #11

Nov 142016


  • 131,000 miles


I have recently taken care in for engine light it was, then both head lights went out again. Theyve done this going down the road at night. Now transmission and engine light came on. Was told could be torque converter clutch was stored default and cleared may come bk, or tcm or torque converter or solenoid. I am still paying for this car had little over a year now. 131,000 mile. Ive put only 42K on it. Others complain same parts/issues. This needs to be a recall issue now. I am a traveling nurse, I have to have a car to take care of my patients please. Now it sits waits go to cary nc 11/29. Diag cost me $141 to see ? is now. Just had sparks/wires replaced two weeks ago. Please help

- Henderson, NC, USA

problem #10

Aug 022016


  • 35,250 miles
My Fiat has less than 36K miles my driver's side door handle has broken off and has been on national back order for over a month. I can not even get it fixed right now. Also my starter does not work and I have to pop start the engine at the moment because I can not order the starter to replace it. The car has less than 36K miles

- Pulaski, NY, USA

problem #9

Jul 112016


  • 51,000 miles
Fiat recall I am having problems with propulsion where the clutch will sometimes not fully release when going from one gear to the next, and I will have no power, and have to step down on the clutch again and re-engage the gear. I am afraid it is related to the recall, and that eventually it will not fix it to step on the clutch again. And now I am in a situation where because Fiat does not know yet what parts they are going to replace specifically, if I get the car repaired I will have to pay out of pocket. I already had to pay $120 for a diagnosis because Fiat would not even consider helping me if I didn't have a diagnosis. Meanwhile, if Fiat hq doesn't know the parts yet, how is the local Fiat studio supposed to know" they will almost certainly be forced to replace extra parts, which Fiat will likely not reimburse me for. How can they be allowed to have a recall wth no scheduled replacement if my car is showing symptoms of the recall... what's worse is that I no longer have use of my car and have been forced to rent one from a friend... and finally, I was planning on selling my car in early July so now Fiat is costing me additional money there as I obviously can't sell a car waiting for a recall. Don't I have some rights here"

- Huntington, NY, USA

problem #8

Jul 012016


  • 50,000 miles


I got a recall notice today. It states that there are problems with the clutch cover diaphragm spring which may fatigue or fracture causing an "inability to disengage the clutch, shift gears and the potential for a loss of motive power". this "could cause a crash without warning". it would be gross negligence on my part to drive a vehicle that could injure or kill me or someone else. I called the dealer immediately. Parts were not in stock and they did not know when they would be available. I asked for a rental car in the meantime. They denied my request. I then called fca (Fiat Chrysler automobiles) and talked to 3 people there about a rental car. They also denied my request. I do not feel it is my responsibility to pay for a rental car when the defect is the problem of the manufacturer with no information about when the parts will be available. This could cost me thousands of dollars. I am requesting a rental car immediately until my car can be repaired. Thank you.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #7

Apr 172016


  • 27,800 miles
The car was purchased on April 15, 2016. Since then, I have had to take the car in for service several times. The first issue was a problem with the brake light. The second issue was that the gears would not move and I had to use a screw driver to change the car from park to drive and vice versa, drive to reverse and vice versa, etc... the third issue was that the car rolled backwards. The recent issue was for a recall on the powertrain control. In addition, the car while driving on the freeway and local streets drifts to the right side. As a result of the drifting, I have had almost three car accidents in the past month. The service representative informed me that the drifting is a result of the roads on the freeway and locally and not an issue with the car. I no longer feel safe drive to this car and fear getting into a major accident. Today I contacted the Fiat owner assistance to file a complaint and request that the issue be addressed. Their response was that the car was safe as per the service reports and that I should get a wheel alignment at my expense. This recommendation was made by a corporate representative and not a mechanic. I am filing this complaint in hopes that the issue be addressed and that I am able to return the Fiat for another vehicle that is safe and meet the standard of quality Fiat is known for.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

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problem #6

May 072016


  • 88,000 miles
I got a flat tire on a primitive road on the way back from a hike. I thought I was prepared for this, because I had a spare tire and all the equipment to change it. However the device that deploys the spare was broken. I had to drive the last 1.5 miles on the primitive road to get to a place where a mechanic wold find my car. From the main road I still needed a stranger to drive me 7 miles uphill to get cell service. I was in a very dangerous town and it was getting dark out. But even once the mechanic arrived he was unable to access the spare. Due to the spare not releasing and having to drive an extra mile after getting a flat tire I now have a bent rim as well. I had to get rides from three strangers, and spend the night in a sketchy hotel.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #5

Oct 022015


  • 32,000 miles


My 2012 fiat500C had clutch/pressure plate failure a few weeks ago. I got into my car to run some errands and it started fine although I did feel the clutch was a bit stiff. I got up to 3rd gear and drove 2 blocks toward the intersection. As I tried to shift the gear to neutral at the red light I could not change gears. Luckily I pressed down hard enough pressing on the breaks and managed to bring the gear to neutral. I put my hazard lights on and managed to roll to the side of the road. I immediately called my Fiat service center and told them what had happened. They instructed me to call the complimentary tow service. I got a call on Monday morning saying that the pressure plate and clutch needed to be replaced and it would cost ~$1000. I asked the service advisor why it wasn't covered by the warranty and he said that it was considered a wear and tear issue. In other words, it was my fault the clutch failed at 32,000 miles. I contacted fiatcares and they said they would look into it. Their reply was that the car needed a new pressure plate and new clutch and that the technician did not believe that this was caused by a defect on the manufacturer's part and therefore they were unable to provide assistance with the repair. No clutch should wear out within 3 years and ~30K miles when it has had only one driver with experience in driving a manual transmission vehicle. It is quite clear from public accounts that 2012 Fiat 500's exhibit premature clutch wear problems. In addition to the clutch issue, I've encountered problems with my car almost from the very beginning, when it only had a few hundred miles on it. I've had numerous false-start issues with the ignition, I've even had a incident where my engine completely shut off while driving! luckily this occurred while driving in the city. Imagine how dangerous that would have been if I were driving 70 mph on a highway.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #4

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 #3

Jul 262015


  • 37,400 miles
While driving, I attempted to shift from 3rd to 4th gear and the clutch would not depress and I was not able to shift. The car has always shifted well and was shifting fine until the moment that the clutch pedal could not not be depressed. There was no warning that clutch was about to fail. I was able to coast off the road to a safe location, but this could have been very dangerous if it would have happened during rush hour.

- Olive Branch, MS, USA

problem #2

Jan 192012


  • 500 miles
Within several weeks after purchase of Fiat 500 we encountered a problem starting the engine. Upon turning the ignition key the engine responded with an electrical motor whine but did not start. After several repeated attempts the engine would start and function normally. Gas mileage has never been as high was represented in sales information. The vehicle has been returned to the dealer multiple times for correction but the dealer has been unable to diagnose the problem. A complaint has been lodged with both the dealer and Fiat usa.

- The Villages, FL, USA

problem #1

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

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