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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #1
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Faulty Key (non elecrical issue)

My 500 is 15 months old and I've owned it for 9 months. Last week the key developed a really annoying issue. The button is pushed to release the key part that goes into the ignition but the pin/mechanism inside does not keep the key handle straight. As you drive the handle part of the key drops down 45 degrees. Also if you try to start the car with the key the wrong way round (i.e. the key can only start the car in 1 out of 2 possible positions) then the handle folds down and you can't start the car.

I took the key into my Abarth dealer at the weekend as I think it should be replaced under the warranty. They said they will speak to Abarth but it didn't sound very positive to me and they're doubtful it will be replaced under the warranty. Still waiting to hear. If they won't replace it then a new key is going to cost me 250 because of all the programming etc. Absolutely ridiculous cost when it's purely the mechanism that has failed - the remote locking etc.works perfectly.

Has anyone else had this issue with any type of Fiat they've owned previously? I sold my last Abarth in March at over 5 years old and the key was perfect - as is my mate's who owns a 10 year old Panda!
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #2
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Re: Faulty Key (non elecrical issue)

Sounds like it's an issue with the spring mechanism. If you were to purchase something like this;

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Remote-Ke...YAAOSwjVVV3CIg

it might be an inexpensive option.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #3
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Re: Faulty Key (non elecrical issue)

Thanks for the link Piccolo. It's looking more likely I will have to do something along those lines.

I heard back from my local Abarth dealer today. It turns out they haven't spoken to Abarth at all. The Service Manager of the franchise has deduced the key isn't covered under the 3 year warranty because the key has been "forced" i.e. someone has closed the key without pushing the button in. I'm livid. I certainly haven't forced the key anytime in the 9 months I've owned the car.

So 7 Fiats and 2 Abarths on, it looks highly likely this will be the last one I own. My experience with Abarth customer service (and I include the franchise garages in this) has been far from reassuring over the past 5 years. I had to replace the upper support mounts at my cost on my previous Abarth when Chelmsford Abarth claimed they couldn't find anything wrong in the last month of the 3 year warranty. My mechanic found the issue straight away, even though the fault was intermittent.

I love my Abarth but not enough to finance teething issues within the 3 year warranty myself
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #4
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Re: Faulty Key (non elecrical issue)

Sounds like typical fiat customer service, given the age of the car it shouldn't matter to the dealer as fiat would pay for warranty work, might be worth a call to fiat themself. For some reason there are still fiat dealers still have the nit-pick mentality of dodgy car dealers from the 80s, when so many things went wrong with fiats the emphasis was on paying for the absolute minimum.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #5
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Re: Faulty Key (non elecrical issue)

FIAT wouldn't necessarily pay if the dealer did a warranty repair without prior authorization. I spent some time working for an importer here in their warranty department and all claims from dealers for anything other than known issues were subject to approval (usually after the fact!). If there were doubts, the replaced parts had to be returned to us and if the head of department disagreed with their assessment they just didn't get paid. They could appeal, but mostly they just had to wear it. With difficult customers they often found themselves between the proverbial rock, etc...

That doesn't excuse the dealer in this case, who just sounds bloody-minded.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #6
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Re: Faulty Key (non elecrical issue)

I agree Piccolo. All of the warranty work that was carried out on both of our former 500's, had to get prior authorisation from Fiat assessors before the work was carried out for precisely the reasons you stated. If they didn't, they wouldn't get paid.

In this case though, a faulty key shell, I agree with AndyRKett, it's just being nit picky as hell and attempting to blame the customer without any evidence of incompetence by the customer, is quite frankly poor customer service. Take your custom elsewhere.
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