Nimble handling and a free-revving engine make the funky, retro-styled Fiat 500 microcar engaging to drive. Zippy around town and easy to park, this two-door subcompact seems the ideal urban runabout. Its cuteness may be undeniable, and the front cabin is surprisingly spacious, but slow acceleration, a choppy ride and a noisy interior detract from the fun.
Alerts
There are 4 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Reliability

Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how used vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system.

Overall Reliability
Most Common Trouble Spots
Common Trouble Spot
Common Trouble Spot
The 2012 Fiat 500 has been recalled 4 times by NHTSA. View Recalls
Research Years *Redesign year
Worse Better
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01
02
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04
05
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07
08
09
10
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17
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19
Overall Reliability Verdict
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Potential Trouble Spots
Engine Major
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Engine Minor
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Engine Cooling
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Transmission Major
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Transmission Minor
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Drive System
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Fuel System
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Electric System
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Climate System
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Suspension
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Brakes
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Exhaust
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Paint/Trim
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Body Integrity
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Body Hardware
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Power Equipment
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
In-car Electronics
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey for about 420,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2019 vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system. NA indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.

Learn more about car Reliability.

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2012 Fiat 500 owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Body control module

"Just quit working correctloy, only had 50,000 mile warranty"

David M., WA (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"clock runs slow. told it was in "perameters""

Anonymous, OR (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Idiot light went on without justification. Fiat dealer is 40 miles from my house so I took it to the local Dodge dealer. Dodge dealer service dept plugged their diagnostic computer into the car and cannot find a code to justify the warning light"

Danny S., WA (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"The backlighting on the cluster has gone out 3 times since I've owned this vehicle. There are no replaceable 'bulbs'; the cluster must be replaced!"

Anonymous, MI (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)
Headlights

"Headlights bulbs kept going out after a few days. FIAT said because we used after marker bulbs it fried the headlight system. Repair was about $1200.00"

Anonymous, WI (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Right headlamp burned out. Warranty"

Ernest W., TX (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Right & left brake lights need to be replaced often"

Anonymous, FL (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"License plate light went out requiring replacement of light holder"

Anonymous, NY (2012 Fiat 500 Lounge 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Moisture/water collected in rear brake light"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"The trunk/hatch light never worked on this car since it was new. I never knew there was a light! My tail lights stopped working and when the dealer fixed a break in the wiring harness the trunk/hatch light started working for the first time!"

Anonymous, MI (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)
Warning lights

"I've had multiple expensive repairs to the wiring for the electrical system. Original issue caused a lockout from the back hatch. I have periodic warning light malfunction and need assistance since I can never be sure if it's a real issue"

Anonymous, NC (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"They were consistently on even though there was no cause"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)
Keyless entry

"both OEM remotes had to be replaced as defective. Both replacement remotes have quit working properly, except at very close range. Both are now out of warranty. Keyed entry is limited. Locking car without remotes is not possible"

Edward C., IN (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"The aftermarket dealer-installed spoiler flew off the car while I was driving and landed in the middle of the road"

Anonymous, MO (2012 Fiat 500 Lounge 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Hub caps should have been a federal recall. They are defective, do not fit snugly and spin off about one a month. Dealer and FCA got mad and won't fix nor replace, so I drive with no hub caps"

David M., WA (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"I had to return the car to the dealer twice because of loose trim. In one case it was a lower side door trim and the other was a rear reflector (which actually fell off)"

Bruce S., FL (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"molding coming off"

Anonymous, MD (2012 Fiat 500 Sport Unsure)

"Rear bumper was coming loose - fixed under warranty"

Anonymous, TX (2012 Fiat 500 Lounge 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"peeling plastic on roof"

Anonymous, ON (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)
Loose interior trim or moldings

"Top of armrest fell off (not easily repaired) Gear shift cap fell off Driver seat fabric crack/tear Plastic cap on radio button fell off Driver door handle broke off (outside)"

Anonymous, CT (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"The paint peeled off of the front of the sunroof (between the edge of where the sunroof starts and where the top of the windshield starts). They had to take the entire sunroof mechanical assembly off to fix it and it took about a week"

Todd K., TX (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Paint on panel between sunroof and windshield cracked/pealed"

Rick N., CA (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Roof paint in front of sun roof peeling"

Anonymous, QC (2012 Fiat 500 Unsure 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

"TRUNK LOCKWOULD NOT OPEN"

Anonymous, TX (2012 Fiat 500 Lounge 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Driver side does not retract all the way"

Anonymous, TX (2012 Fiat 500 Lounge 1.4-L 4 Cyl)
Sunroof

"Paint on sunroof peeling off - had to replace the sun roof"

David J., TX (2012 Fiat 500 Lounge 1.4-L 4 Cyl)
Tailgate, hatch or trunk

"The latch on the hatch failed, which precluded use of hatch completely; no secondary access method is provided--no key, no cable-linked remote opener, no nothing. Just another in the continuing series of problems presented by this awful little car. Even my wife has stopped insisting we keep it. We plan to get rid of it"

Anonymous, PA (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Unable to open the rear hatch due to the wiring harness having broken wires. Broken where the harness comes into the hatch"

Anonymous, WI (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"tailgate won't open (off/on problem.) The latch mechanism was replaced once during warranty because of this issue, but it started happening again within the past 6 months"

Anonymous, CT (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Sometimes unable to open hatchback (trunk) door. The latch does not work"

Anonymous, QC (2012 Fiat 500 Unsure 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Bad seal"

D D., QC (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)
Heated or cooled seat controls

"Obvious electrical overload. Stopped working several times. Sent back to dealer on at least four occasions"

W D., QC (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Accessory belts or pulleys

"The car would not go into gear due to a cable being broke"

Victor T., FL (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Check engine light always come up after fueling but disappear after driving a few miles. Weird and annoying"

Francois G., FL (2012 Fiat 500 Lounge 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Annoyingly, the car would stall intermittently or fail to start... Starter was replaced, engine had numerous hose leaks, etc. Problem was never rectified"

Paul L., ON (2012 Fiat 500 Lounge 1.4-L 4 Cyl)
Oil leaks

"Continuous oil leaks even with the engine being dropped and gaskets replaced"

Victor T., FL (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"rear main seal leak. Fiat covered $1,100 of the $1,200 repair cost. No argument. Very amenable"

Robert L., AZ (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Oil leak resulted from poorly installed gaskets/seals on engine. Replaced under warranty"

Steven S., CA (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

"My wife and I have used manual transmission for decades, and we never had to replace a clutch before, even after 100,000 miles, so we were shocked when we had to pay $1,500.00 for a new clutch after 30,000 miles. I would not buy another Fiat"

Jim S., NY (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Clutch replaced due to factory recall on return spring deemed a safety hazard. No cost to me"

Anonymous, NM (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Clutch blew at 22,000 miles. Cost $2,200 including car rental, towing, and repair. I haven't even replaced the original brake pads on this car!"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Clutch failed at 24,000 miles, well within 36,000-mile warranty for drive-train components including clutch--but six weeks past the 3-year time period. Neither Fiat nor dealer would pay, or even help pay, the $1,100 replacement cost"

D H., PA (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Clutch failed at about 35,000 miles. Replaced under warranty"

David S., WI (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

"Leakage from bad seal caused failure of electronic switch that opens hatch (as well as license-plate light). No key or any other secondary way to open hatch, even in emergency. Switch replaced under warranty, but aggravation factor extremely high"

D H., PA (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"occassional rap when hitting sharp bump and slight rattle on rough roads"

Anonymous, NY (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"There is an excessive amount of audible vibration and road noise when driving"

Bruce S., FL (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Roof rattle above driver head, not able to be corrected by dealer. Rear rattle, not corrected by dealer after $500 repair to front suspension"

Roy R., ON (2012 Fiat 500 Lounge 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Squeak coming from engine at 2500 rmp dealer unable to replicate"

Michael O., CA (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

External music device interface (e.g., smart phone, MP3 player)

"Sometimes, the radio will not detect a USB-connected iPhone"

Bryan I., OH (2012 Fiat 500 Lounge 1.4-L 4 Cyl)
Phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth)

"my Verizon Windows Phone Nokia Lumia 928 refused to pair. When I replaced it with a HTC One M8, the pairing went perfectly, and the system now works as it should. go figure . . . The Nokia did work perfectly with a rental car"

Edward C., IN (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"I have yet been able to pair my phone with the onboard Bluetooth, and there should be no problems as my cell phones are high end"

Anonymous, PA (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Not been able to pair my high end cell phone to the cars bluetooth"

Anonymous, PA (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

"Battery froze this winter. (Suspected)"

Paul L., ON (2012 Fiat 500 Lounge 1.4-L 4 Cyl)
Starter

"Replaced starter two times! @ $900 each time"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Starter didn't engage"

Thomas M., KY (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)
Coil

"Engine running badly. 35mph tops"

Thomas M., KY (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Bushings

"had an issue but was repairable"

Anonymous, AL (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Clunking noise. Bushings (at least I believe it was bushings) replaced twice now"

W D., QC (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"The strut stops were replaced under warranty"

Anonymous, CT (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"Noises from steering column area. Column replaced by dealer"

Anonymous, RI (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Fuel pump

"I was unable to fill the gas tank with gasoline with out spending 15 minutes doing so"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Check engine light came on because the oxygen sensor was slow to respond"

Rick N., CA (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Rotors

"We had the car sit for three weeks and the brakes had rusted and had to have a complete brake job"

Anonymous, IL (2012 Fiat 500 Lounge 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"The mechanic showed me the rotors when he had taken them off and he commented to me on how badly they were worn down. He was surprised at the deterioration of them"

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Gear selector or linkage

"Needed $1400 repair after unable to shift gears while driving to work. This was a sudden malfunction and I found out later that there is a recall repair for the issue"

Anonymous, NC (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)
Rough shifting

"Difficult to shift into reverse. Retainer came apart and was binding on shifter when putting into reverse. Replaced shift boot. Replaced clutch / brake pedal assembly under recall"

Anonymous, VA (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Automatic climate control

"Not precise, changes up and down"

Robert W., OR (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Replaced a bad A/C relay sensor---this happened twice within a 24-month period"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Engine rebuild or replacement

"The engine had to be replaced after 30,000 pampered miles. We take good care of our cars and have never replaced an engine before, so this was costly and annoying, even though the manufacturer covered most of the cost. They should have covered 100% of the cost, given me a loaner car, and apologized that their engine failed after only 30,000 miles"

Jim S., NY (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Went to get routine oil change last year and was told that there was a leak which would require total engine replacement"

Anonymous, TX (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Stability control (ESC)

"ESC/Check engine light is on; as yet unresolved"

Joe S., CA (2012 Fiat 500 Pop 1.4-L 4 Cyl)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Compare 2012 Models

No Data Available
Recalls
PROVIDED BY
POWER TRAIN:AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
Nov 15 2019
If the shifter cable detaches from the transmission, the transmission may not shift into the gear selected by the driver. Additionally, despite selecting PARK with the shifter, the vehicle may roll away. These scenarios may increase the risk of a crash.
Summary:
Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling certain 2012-2013 Fiat 500 vehicles equipped with 6-speed automatic transmissions. The shifter cable bushing may fail allowing the cable to detach from the transmission.
What should you do:
Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace the shifter cable adjuster, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin January 4, 2020. Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's number for this recall is VB4.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 19V817000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 51788
POWER TRAIN:MANUAL TRANSMISSION:FLOOR SHIFT ASSEMBLY
Jul 03 2019
If the shifter breaks while the vehicle is in motion, it can increase the risk of a crash.
Summary:
DLT, LLC. is recalling certain CravenSpeed Fiat Short Shifter shafts sold for use in 2011-2019 Fiat 500 vehicles. The Shifter Shaft may have been improperly manufactured with a through hole for the set screw rather than a blind hole, which may lead to the breakage of the Shifter Shaft.
What should you do:
DLT has notified owners, and will provide a complete replacement shifter assembly with an updated shaft, free of charge. The recall began July 24, 2019. Owners may contact DLT customer service at 1-503-505-6886.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 19E044000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 740
POWER TRAIN:MANUAL TRANSMISSION
May 16 2016
If the clutch diaphragm spring fails, the driver may not be able to shift gears or the vehicle may lose motive power, increasing the risk of a crash.
Summary:
Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling certain model year 2012-2016 Fiat 500 vehicles manufactured June 21, 2010, through January 12, 2016, equipped with a manual transmission. The clutch diaphragm spring may fracture and fail, causing an inability to switch gears.
What should you do:
The remedy for this recall will include the installation of a clutch pedal limiter and a clutch pedal switch. The recall began on November 10, 2016. Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's number for this recall is S34.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 16V302000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 39185
SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC:FLUID
Nov 10 2011
THIS COULD LEAD TO LOSS OF BRAKING ABILITY INCREASING THE RISK OF A CRASH.
Summary:
CHRYSLER IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2012 DODGE JOURNEY AND FIAT 500 VEHICLES MANUFACTURED FROM OCTOBER 24, 2011, THROUGH OCTOBER 26, 2011. SOME VEHICLES WERE ASSEMBLED WITH CONTAMINATED BRAKE FLUID AND MAY EXPERIENCE A DEGRADATION OF THE SEALING COMPONENTS WITHIN THE BRAKE SYSTEM.
What should you do:
CHRYSLER WILL NOTIFY OWNERS AND REPLACE ALL BRAKE COMPONENTS THAT COME IN CONTACT WITH HYDRAULIC BRAKE FLUID. THIS SERVICE WILL BE PERFORMED FREE OF CHARGE. THE SAFETY RECALL BEGAN ON MARCH 1, 2012. OWNERS MAY CONTACT CHRYSLER AT 1-800-853-1403.
For more information:
OWNERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO <A HREF=HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV>HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV</A> .
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 11V550000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 340
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