The Most Common Fiat Problems

Uneven or unpredictable braking is one of the most common Fiat problems, but look out for faulty warning lights, high transmission repairs, and missing safety features.
Written by Elizabeth Sandberg
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Braking issues are one of the more common problems seen in Fiats, along with faulty or inconsistent warning lights, high transmission repairs in some models, and common safety features only offered as options or not offered at all.  
Does the perfect car exist? Even the most reputable auto manufacturers have designed cars that exhibit the same problems consistently. Consumers want to avoid purchasing a vehicle that is known to have issues. 
If you are looking to own a Fiat,
Jerry
—the
super app
for
car insurance
—has created this guide to all the mechanical issues you should be aware of before purchasing a Fiat. 
Since
saving drivers money on car expenses
is what we do best, stick around till the end—we will show you how to find the lowest
Fiat car insurance costs
.

What are the most common Fiat problems?

An Italian automotive manufacturer, Fiat was founded in 1899. For over the past 120 years, Fiat has worked hard to be a consistently reliable and durable brand. However, that doesn’t mean that Fiats are without problems. Here are some of the most common problems with Fiat’s current models
  • Acceleration lag 
  • Uncomfortable headrests 
  • Interior cabin electrical issues
  • Faulty clutch or pressure plate
Overall, the 2012 Fiat 500 has the most problems, with four major recalls and 368 complaints to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
. By comparison, the Fiat 500C reports the least number of problems.
For a complete breakdown of the most common Fiat problems in the new and used models on the market in the US, check out the table below.
Model
Starting price
JD Power reliability rating
Most common problems
Years to avoid
500
$17,540
76/100
Suspension issues, Bad clutch/pressure plate, premature ball joint deterioration
2012, 2013
500C
$21,290 (2019)
N/A
Steering pulls, fuel economy, crowded interior, poor visibility
2014, 2015
500L
$23,995 (2020)
N/A
Rough ride, overheating, safety features offered as options, faulty power windows and door locks
2014
500X
$28,120 (2022)
N/A
Faulty service engine light, electrical issues, brake issues
2016, 2020
124 Spider
$26,885
N/A
Suspension issues, transmission/gear shift issues, visibility
2017, 2018
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Most common Fiat 500 problems

Average annual repair cost: $406 
CarComplaints.com complaints: 81 
Perhaps the most concerning issue that occurs with the
Fiat 500
is faulty pressure plates. However, Fiat has yet to issue a recall to repair this issue. 
Other common issues involve interior electronicsclocks running fast, keys getting stuck in the ignition, blinking odometers, faulty door locks and seat controls, and defective phone systems
In the 2013 Fiat 500, steering problems are among the most reported as many owners described odd noises from the car when making turns. Many 2013 Fiat 500 owners also experienced issues with wiring in the steering column. The faulty wiring could cause electrical failure, increasing the risk of road accidents. 
Owners have also experienced various engine problems. Some report that the check engine light activates after an oil change or illuminates when driving 65 mph. Several owners report engine exhaust or low oil pressure warning lights, even though the oil level is good. 
The suspension system caused problems for Fiat drivers with the 2015 Fiat 500 2015 model. 

Most common Fiat 500C problems

Average annual repair cost: $250 
CarComplaints.com complaints: 2
The Fiat 500C reports very few problems, the main one being that the steering pulls to the left. Replacing the steering system can help alleviate this issue, although not completely resolve it.  

Most common Fiat 500L problems 

Average annual repair cost: $640 
CarComplaints.com complaints: 34
Common problems associated with this model include erratic power windows and door locks. If left sitting for extended periods, the engine may fail to turn over
The
Fiat 500L
was rated as one of the most unreliable cars in 2014, according to Consumer Reports. One reason is that the infotainment system exhibits malfunctioning multi-use controllers, unresponsive touchscreens, and phones that can’t pair with the car’s Bluetooth.

Most common Fiat 500X problems 

Average annual repair cost: $503
CarComplaints.com complaints: 16
Poor ride quality is often a complaint among owners of the
Fiat 500X
, with reports of stiff handling and excessive road and engine noise
Other issues include lackluster gear shifting, uneven braking, reduced visibility due to dashboard positioning, uncomfortable seats, tight rear legroom, questionable emission levels for the diesel version, and expensive high option versions.
The 2020 500X specifically exhibits stiff transmission when shifting through gears, grabby or uneven braking, and poor visibility due to dashboard placement and a small rear window. 

Most common Fiat 124 Spider problems 

Average annual repair cost: $283 
CarComplaints.com complaints: 6
One concerning complaint by owners is that the
124 Spider
can jump out of gear unexpectedly at higher highway speeds. Owners state that the gearshift periodically springs out of fourth gear, and they must force the shifter to remain in place to prevent it from slipping. For this reason, the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider was recalled to replace the transmission. 
Other reported issues with the 2019 Fiat Spider are suspension problems and visibility. Owners report that the position of the instrument panel can cause a glare on the front windshield, reducing visibility and causing safety concerns. 

Are Fiat cars reliable?

According to Repair Pal, Fiat gets above-average marks for reliability, with an average of 3.5 out of 5, making it 18 out of 32 for all car brands. Fiats average 0.2 visits per year to the repair shop, with a 17% probability that the necessary repair will be ranked severe. 
According to Repair Pal, the average repair cost across all Fiat models is $538 per year, which is slightly above the national average for annual repair costs. 

The least reliable Fiat model: 2012 Fiat 500

Most common problem: Clutch pedal and pressure plate
NHTSA complaints: 368 
The Fiat 500 was first produced in 2012. Perhaps not so coincidentally, 2012 is also the year the Fiat 500 had the most consumer complaints, with a whopping 368 issues reported to the NHTSA. By 2019—the Fiat 500’s last year in production—there were zero complaints.  
Some consumers of the 2012 Fiat 500 have reported issues with their car’s interior accessories. These problems include fast-running clocks that keep inaccurate time, keys getting stuck in the ignition, blinking odometers, and a faulty phone system. 
Many drivers have also reported faulty seat controls, power door locks, clutch pedal, and pressure plate. Just as with the issues with the interior accessories, Fiat has not issued any recalls to resolve the problems with the pressure plates. 

The most reliable Fiat model: 2020 Fiat 124 Spider

Most common problem: Separated driveshaft
NHTSA complaints: 0
A two-door convertible with two seats, Fiat’s possibly most exciting model is also its most reliable. Starting at just $26,885, Kelley Blue Book has rated the 2020 Spider as the best sports car in their annual “5-Year Cost to Own” ratings. It also ranks high in reliability. 
The 2020 124 Spider’s four-cylinder can pour on some power. Accelerating from zero to 60 mph in just seven seconds, it provides plenty of pep for weekend joy riding or your daily commute. 

How to buy hassle-free car insurance

Fiat ownership can mean its share of headaches, but shopping for car insurance can be painless! Download the
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As a licensed broker and the
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And talk about savings! Jerry customers save an average of $800 a year on their
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“I’m a young adult in college. I paid overpriced insurance regularly, until
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FAQs

With proper maintenance, Fiats can last up to 17 years or 250,000 miles.
Reliability isn’t just about the number of problems a car might experience—affordability also needs to be considered. The average cost of repairs across all Fiat models is $538 annually, so keep that in mind when shopping for your next vehicle.
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