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Common problems with the Fiat 500

Charlotte Phillips, 3 months ago

5 min read

  • Advice
  • Repair
Fiat 500

WhoCanFixMyCar explores some of the common problems that drivers have reported with the Fiat 500, and how much you can expect to pay on average to get them repaired.

The Fiat 500 is a highly popular compact model, affordable to run and renowned for its retro Italian design. Whilst not having the most powerful engine, the Fiat 500 is the ideal model for the city driver, with enough space for four passengers and impressive steering and suspension. However, there are a number of problems with the Fiat 500 commonly reported by drivers. Being aware of some of these issues may help you to detect them in your own car, and fix them before they become any worse.

What problems do Fiat 500 have?

Some of the problems drivers have reported with the Fiat 500 include:

Some of these faults have led to Fiat announcing recalls on affected 500 models, which you can find in the table below.

Fiat 500 recalls

Fiat 500 clutch problems

Fiat 500 suspension problems

Fiat 500 engine overheating

Fiat 500 power steering problems

Fiat 500 head gasket problems

Is the Fiat 500 reliable?


Fiat 500 recent recalls

Affected model datesIssue
09/09/2020 – 30/06/2021The drive shafts may fail, replace the drive shafts as required
16/06/2020 – 10/08/2020The Start & Stop system may not have been set up correctly, and therefore may not comply with approval requirements
13/08/2018 – 19/12/2018The drive shaft may fail, and the right-hand drive shaft may need to be replaced
02/09/2016 – 18/10/2016The rear brake shoe lining material may not have been manufactured to the correct specification, could result in reduced brake performance
01/09/2009 – 30/11/2009A loss of steering control may be caused by the steering shaft fork not being correctly fixed on to the shaft

Fiat 500 clutch problems

A known problem with the Fiat 500 is problems with the clutch. Fiat were forced to recall almost 8,000 of their Fiat 500’s when an issue was found with the model having a bad clutch pressure plate.

This issue was caused by the clutch diaphragm spring being prone to failure, resulting in an inability for drivers to change gears. This issue is reported to typically occur at around 35,000 miles, and other symptoms include a difficulty in engaging the clutch pedal and a lack of pressure on the clutch pedal. Though some drivers have reported these symptoms with newer models, this problem was mainly linked to models between 2012-2016.

If your Fiat 500 is suffering from clutch problems, you can find a mechanic in our network to repair it for you. The average cost of a clutch repair when booked with WhoCanFixMyCar is £361.47.


Fiat 500 suspension problems

The Fiat 500 has received a number of complaints from drivers regarding its suspension system, in particular for models manufactured between 2012-2015. Drivers have reported a clunking noise coming from the front of the vehicle, more noticeably when driving over uneven surfaces and small potholes. This problem can be commonly associated with the vehicle's strut mounts becoming worn prematurely.

Suspension problems are a common issue in many vehicles, and even more so in compact city cars like the Fiat 500. The average quote for a suspension repair on the Fiat 500 is £127.72 when booked with WhoCanFixMyCar.


Fiat 500 engine overheating

Another issue drivers have reported with the Fiat 500 is an overheating engine. An overheated engine can be caused by a number of things including a coolant leak, a damaged water pump, or a clogged coolant hose.

A key indicator of this problem is white smoke coming out from your exhaust pipe, and if this happens, it’s extremely important that you pull over on the roadside and switch off your engine. Once safely pulled over, open the hood and leave your engine switched off for a minimum of 15 minutes - this will allow the heat from the engine to circulate and cool down.

If you think your car engine may be overheating, a mobile mechanic can come out to your location to troubleshoot the problem for you. The average quote for a mobile mechanic call out on a Fiat 500 is £68.13 when booked through WhoCanFixMyCar.

Fiat 500

Fiat 500 power steering problems

An issue with the power steering system has also been reported by drivers with the Fiat 500. A loss in power steering can be noticed with a slow or stiff responding steering wheel, or most commonly, a puddle of red liquid below your car indicating a power steering fluid leak. Fiat have been forced to recall a number of models due to this problem, caused by faulty wiring below the steering column which made the steering wheel difficult to control.

Power steering problems can be seriously dangerous for you and your passengers if left unrepaired. Fortunately, we have a vast number of garages and mechanics in our network who are able to carry out power steering repairs. The average quote for a mobile mechanic when booked with WhoCanFixMyCar is £68.13.


Fiat 500 head gasket problems

Another issue drivers have found with the Fiat 500 is head gasket failure. In 2008, many diesel models were widely reported to experience head gasket problems, which resulted in Fiat dealers being required to entirely replace the diesel head gasket. Possible symptoms of head gasket failure include a loss of power, engine overheating, white smoke, and a low level of engine coolant in your vehicle.

If you notice any of these signs, it could indicate issues with your head gasket and a mechanic will be able to diagnose the problem for you. The average quote for a head gasket diagnosis when booked through WhoCanFixMyCar is £64.75.


Is the Fiat 500 a reliable car?

Despite its huge commercial success, the overall reliability and customer satisfaction of the Fiat 500 is ranked somewhat below par.

Despite the Fiat 500 scoring a maximum five-star safety rating in Euro NCAP’s 2007 crash tests, the updated model when tested in 2017 fell to an alarming three out of five stars, with scores of just 66% and 49% for adult and child safety protection respectively. Similarly, CarBuyer placed the manufacturer in last place out of a possible 29 places for the best car manufacturers of 2022, further highlighting that the Fiat 500 is not well associated with being a reliable car.


Having problems with your Fiat 500? WhoCanFixMyCar can help you find a trusted local garage for the best price.