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:
29,248 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

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2012 Fiat 500 Owner Comments

problem #14

May 102016


  • miles


With a low mileage (under 20K miles), the car has been in taken back to the service department for over 5 times for main seal (between engine and the transmission) leakage, engine programming recall, and repeated noise when the car is in motion that can't be identified/fixed.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #13

Jun 082016


  • miles
There is no way to adjust the rear suspension for being out of alignment. Because of this, the tire wear unevenly on the inside while having the appearance to have proper tread. New tires lasted only 18,000 miles.

- Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #12

Jun 142016


  • 48,000 miles
At 47,500 miles and 4 years, 9 months of ownership, my passenger side lower front ball joint broke. There were no signs of problems leading up to the breakage. Unfortunately Fiat no longer makes the 2012 lower front ball joints and the 2013+ ball joints require a new assembly so the entire ball joint, control arm, etc. Assembly has to be created.

- Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #11

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 #10

Nov 252014


  • 5,000 miles
My steering shaft has been making noise since the car was purchased, the part has been on back order every time the car has been in for service. It's been a year, since I've had a clunking steering shaft, and they assured me it will be fixed.... but the part is on back order... this is a common issue with these cars it seems.

- Lincolnton, NC, USA

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problem #9

Oct 272015


  • 61,500 miles
2012 Fiat 500 prima edizione. Backing out of parking lot, driver's side front wheel disconnects from the lower control arm. Car falls almost to the ground. Dealer identifies worn ball joint. Just under 62K miles. Recent alignment and tire replacement done by the dealer. All regular service done at same local dealer since new. First and only owner. Very fortunate this did not happen on the highway at speed.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #8

Oct 042015


  • 36,000 miles


Ball-joint broke off completely causing damage to tires and front wheel well panel. Vehicle only has 36K miles and tires are rotated at every oil change. 10/4/15 rust spots on back hatch panel (reported over a year ago, has been returned 2 times and they are fighting me on the 3 return)

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #7

Sep 042015


  • 54,000 miles
Lower ball joints on both sides loose and show excessive wear. Dealership performed maintence and did not notice anything while under warranty but next maintence showed excessive wear and car was just out of warranty and Fiat would not cover repair. Numerous documented incidents on 2012 Fiat 500's where ball joints have broken loose. A serious safety issue that Fiat needs to address as the ball joints are wearing within 50,000-60000 miles

- Hamilton, OH, USA

problem #6

May 232015


  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Fiat 500. While driving at approximately 70 mph, the steering seal was loose. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the failure was located at the ball joints. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 68,000.

- Rodchester, MN, USA

problem #5

Jan 262015

500 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Noticed car would 'hunt' over rutted road surfaces such as coming to a stop at a traffic light. Took in for alignment and was told driver side ball joint bad and the upper strut mount was as well. Was also informed by both a local Goodyear dealer and the Fiat dealer that the original parts were not available and that the repair would be $1400+ because multiple things had to be upgraded to a later year's specifications requiring the purchase and installation of 2013 or later cast not stamped lower control arm with new joint. Because that had to be changed, the steering knuckle, the bearings and the drive shaft would all require replacement to match the 2013 or later product. This would be very expensive as noted and is a known problem that the manufacturer is ignoring. This should be a 100% manufacturer paid replacement if they have determined the part is not safe or otherwise too defective to be sold.

- Rock Hill , SC, USA

problem #4

Aug 012014

500 4-cyl

  • 22,890 miles


Car falls front and drops on a parking lot. I was manuvering to park and the car fall because the tire, shock, transaxle, ball joint fall off. This results in damage in the body and I have photos of the car at the site on my work. No pothole, no crash, just falls and breaking apart...updated 12/02/14 updated 12/22/2015

- Lares, PR, USA

problem #3

Feb 222012

500 4-cyl

  • 0 miles
My Fiat 500 has a defective rear axle. The rear wheels are not in alignment. The axle is solid and has no adjustment, therefore it is a manufacturing defect. The rear wheels are toed in excessively which has led to premature tire wear, vibration and inferior fuel mileage. This is a common defect on many early 500's and the dealer refuses to correct the problem.

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #2

Jul 132013


  • 25,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Fiat 500. The contact stated that while the vehicle was parked, oil leaked from under the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for diagnosis where it was stated that the rear main seal needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 25,000.

- Idaho Falls, ID, USA

problem #1

Jun 012011

500 4-cyl

  • 600 miles
Axle is making cracking noises and dealer said they can't duplicate after 2 attempts. Noise is getting louder. First started at 600 miles. Safety issue.

- Glendale, CA, USA

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