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Old 20-09-2014   #1
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Fiat 500 Twin Air - NOT at all HAPPY!

We bought a brand new F500 TA in February and absolutely love it ... nippy, stylish, comfortable! Shame its back at the dealer for a THIRD time!

A few weeks after taking delivery warning lights appeared on the dashboard and the car went into engine protection mode. We managed to get it the dealer and it was fixed. Apparently there had been a problem with a sensor.

Then a few weeks later more warning lights appeared together with a message saying the stop / start functionality was not working. We were told that the manifold absolute pressure sensor had been replaced and the battery had been deep pulse charged as it wasn't holding its charge properly.

Last week the dash said "Check Engine" and the stop / start functionality stopped working.

We are now applying the "three strikes and you're out" principle. The MD of Fiat UK has been written to as has the MD of our dealer. We are insisting on a new car. Trading Standards will be involved as well if needs be.

Has anyone else had similar experiences? We will keep you informed as the saga unfolds.
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Last edited by SteveKirstyR; 20-09-2014 at 13:24.
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Old 20-09-2014   #2
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Re: Fiat 500 Twin Air - NOT at all HAPPY!

Err, I'm not sure "three strikes" is a legal standpoint... Fiat are well within their right (and the terms of the warranty) to simply repair each fault.

I'm not saying you're not due an apology, and ultimately a fixed car that is reliable, but I honestly don't think you're going to get a brand new one.
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Old 20-09-2014   #3
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Re: Fiat 500 Twin Air - NOT at all HAPPY!

Quote Originally Posted by SteveKirstyR View Post
We bought a brand new F500 TA in February and absolutely love it ... nippy, stylish, comfortable! Shame its back at the dealer for a THIRD time!

A few weeks after taking delivery warning lights appeared on the dashboard and the car went into engine protection mode. We managed to get it the dealer and it was fixed. Apparently there had been a problem with a sensor.

Then a few weeks later more warning lights appeared together with a message saying the stop / start functionality was not working. We were told that the manifold absolute pressure sensor had been replaced and the battery had been deep pulse charged as it wasn't holding its charge properly.

Last week the dash said "Check Engine" and the stop / start functionality stopped working.

We are now applying the "three strikes and you're out" principle. The MD of Fiat UK has been written to as has the MD of our dealer. We are insisting on a new car. Trading Standards will be involved as well if needs be.

Has anyone else had similar experiences? We will keep you informed as the saga unfolds.
Only the third time? Mine's been back six times in 12 months. Seems to be all part of the fun of owning a Fiat.

Any time the Stop/Start is involved the most likely culprit is the battery. Is the car's build date well before your purchase date (say, 6 months or more)? If so, the battery may have been permanently affected if it wasn't kept charged. Insist they replace the battery and see how you get on.

I've worked in warranty and, believe me, the very last thing they'll do is give you another car.
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Old 20-09-2014   #4
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Re: Fiat 500 Twin Air - NOT at all HAPPY!

I agree three strikes may not be a legal standpoint but we will push hard on that basis and see what comes of it. We view our experience as being wholly unacceptable and we're not prepared to simply accept it and put up with a vehicle that cannot be relied on. My wife uses it as part of her business so it needs to be reliable as have all the other cars we've owned over the years.

The opening shots have been fired so let's see what happens.

Interestingly, we needed the car quickly after Kirsty's previous car was rear ended and written off, so the dealer searched through available UK stock. Perhaps the car was sat around for some time before being delivered to us.
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Old 20-09-2014   #5
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Re: Fiat 500 Twin Air - NOT at all HAPPY!

Quote Originally Posted by SteveKirstyR View Post
?... and the battery had been deep pulse charged as it wasn't holding its charge properly.

.... We are insisting on a new car.

Sounds like your battery could be the root cause. Read a few threads here about battery problems. Check it's date - it is probably a lot older than the car registration date, and if so, and in view of the fact that the Dealer admits that it's not holding it's charge, you have a good claim for a replacement - battery, that is - NOT car!
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Old 20-09-2014   #6
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Re: Fiat 500 Twin Air - NOT at all HAPPY!

Hello and welcome to the forum .

I'm sorry that you're experiencing issues with your recently purchased 500 .

Quote Originally Posted by SteveKirstyR View Post
Perhaps the car was sat around for some time before being delivered to us.
This, together with the symptoms you have described, points to the battery as being the most likely cause of your troubles.

Replacement of the battery with a new one of the correct specification should effect a permanent cure.

IMO Fiat should do this without further argument (actually IMO they should have already done this by now) but if the experiences of others are anything to go by, this is by no means assured and you may have to fight to get it replaced.

As others have already said, rejecting any car after you've owned it for more than six months for a fault as trivial as this is, frankly, a complete non-starter, if you'll pardon the pun. You'd do better to expend your energy into getting the battery replaced.
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Old 20-09-2014   #7
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Re: Fiat 500 Twin Air - NOT at all HAPPY!

You will not get it replaced with a new one after 7 months, I guarantee it. Trading standards will laugh at you if that is what you try and drag them into it to argue that.

What you would get with a valid case for rejection is a refund with a deduction for the use you've had out of it. Trading standards will laugh at you if that is what you try and drag them into it to argue that.

Why won't you get that?

1) The faults we're talking about here aren't catastrophic and the worst that has happened is the ECU has (correctly) entered limp home mode once. The only other thing is that the stop and start system has disabled itself twice- this won't affect the rest of the car. We're not talking about a car that has thrown a rod through the block or had total brake failure.

2) The dealer can easily argue that they've had success and responded to the issues very reasonably- the initial sensor problem was fixed successfully and the battery charge/sensor change has fixed the problem for 5 months.

I would disagree with JR above that the battery should have been replaced back in March; the fact that the system has worked since then is an indication that it was a reasonable course of action (it's well established that often a good pulse charge gets things back on track). I suspect FIAT wouldn't warranty a battery unless a pulse charge has been tried and shown to not fix the problem.

I suspect what has happened here is that slightly colder/damp weather has arrived, the battery is working slightly harder and it is slightly flaky.

To be honest, it's hard to see what else the dealer could have done and why you're so upset about this. Even if FIAT say "sod off" to a new battery (and the indications are you're dealing with a reasonable dealer) it'll be far easier, cheaper and less stressful to fit a new battery yourself than trying to reject the car.

Pub lawyers FTW. Must be a dealer's nightmare.
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Last edited by zanes; 20-09-2014 at 17:18.
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Old 20-09-2014   #8
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Re: Fiat 500 Twin Air - NOT at all HAPPY!

Quote Originally Posted by zanes View Post
You will not get it replaced with a new one after 7 months, I guarantee it. Trading standards will laugh at you if that is what you try and drag them into it to argue that.

I suspect what has happened here is that slightly colder/damp weather has arrived, the battery is working slightly harder and it is slightly flaky.


Quote Originally Posted by zanes View Post
I would disagree with JR above that the battery should have been replaced back in March; the fact that the system has worked since then is an indication that it was a reasonable course of action (it's well established that often a good pulse charge gets things back on track). I suspect FIAT wouldn't warranty a battery unless a pulse charge has been tried and shown to not fix the problem.
If a battery has been deeply discharged and left in that state for any length of time, although a pulse charge might improve things for a while, it's highly likely the battery will still fail prematurely (as this one most likely has). I'd say it would be good practice (and good marketing) to replace such a battery on an almost brand new car - the customer has paid for a perfect battery, not one which has been deeply discharged and then revived.

If it had been a prereg car, I'd agree it's less clear cut.
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Last edited by jrkitching; 20-09-2014 at 17:40.
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Old 20-09-2014   #9
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Re: Fiat 500 Twin Air - NOT at all HAPPY!

Quote Originally Posted by jrkitching View Post
If a battery has been deeply discharged and left in that state for any length of time, although a pulse charge might improve things for a while, it's highly likely the battery will still fail prematurely (as this one most likely has). I'd say it would be good practice (and good marketing) to replace such a battery on an almost brand new car - the customer has paid for a perfect battery, not one which has been deeply discharged and then revived.

If it had been a prereg car, I'd agree it's less clear cut.
Fair point- assuming the battery has been discharged to a point of damage and not discharged just enough for stop and start to through a wobbly but the battery be OK.

I think you're probably right here in that this battery has been damaged, however.

But the thing is, something isn't adding up here. The OP is describing it as "absolutely love it ... nippy, stylish, comfortable" but then is having a rather spectacular moment over it and talks about rejecting it over what really amount to (from the customer's viewpoint) as minor and/or inconveniencing faults. Is there more to the story somewhere I wonder?

Spare a thought for someone I vaguely know who has a 100k range rover that keeps eating batteries and being dead on key turn. Oddly enough she's not rejecting it (although won't have another).

To be crystal clear, talking about rejecting a vehicle over 3 faults that have not left anyone stranded, endangered anyone or seriously impacted the vehicle is pretty farcical.
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Last edited by zanes; 20-09-2014 at 18:20.
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Old 20-09-2014   #10
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Re: Fiat 500 Twin Air - NOT at all HAPPY!

Quote Originally Posted by SteveKirstyR View Post
We bought a brand new F500 TA in February and absolutely love it ... nippy, stylish, comfortable! Shame its back at the dealer for a THIRD time!

A few weeks after taking delivery warning lights appeared on the dashboard and the car went into engine protection mode. We managed to get it the dealer and it was fixed. Apparently there had been a problem with a sensor.

Then a few weeks later more warning lights appeared together with a message saying the stop / start functionality was not working. We were told that the manifold absolute pressure sensor had been replaced and the battery had been deep pulse charged as it wasn't holding its charge properly.

Last week the dash said "Check Engine" and the stop / start functionality stopped working.

We are now applying the "three strikes and you're out" principle. The MD of Fiat UK has been written to as has the MD of our dealer. We are insisting on a new car. Trading Standards will be involved as well if needs be.

Has anyone else had similar experiences? We will keep you informed as the saga unfolds.
Are you new to Fiat ownership? Sorry to sound flippant but these are not totally unusual problems if you are a long term devotee of the brand. Some owners have very few problems, some even have none (they feature in the Guinness Book of Records). However, if are like me, you will have quite a few.
As others have said, just dig in and get the dealer to remove their finger from their back end, and get the car fixed.
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Old 20-09-2014   #11
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Re: Fiat 500 Twin Air - NOT at all HAPPY!

Should have gone Jap

Even then, three minor faults that the dealer fixes is hardly horrendous.

And I don't think the "minor niggles are endemic to FIAT ownership" thing really holds water anymore. Are they as reliable as Honda/Toyotas? Probably not (but also nowhere near as expensive). Are they any worse than VW/Audi/Vauxhall? Not significantly I expect.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The worst thing about FIAT ownership is the dealers. FIAT UK need to look at why they are worse than others (or, equivalently, why other marque dealers are so much better) and fix it.

Quote Quote:
As others have said, just dig in and get the dealer to remove their finger from their back end, and get the car fixed.
The dealer is not the one at fault here- they sound like they have been more than fair. The OP has not said what the dealer is proposing to do about this latest problem; for all we know they might well immediately agree to replacing the battery without quibble.
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Last edited by zanes; 20-09-2014 at 18:50.
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Old 20-09-2014   #12
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Re: Fiat 500 Twin Air - NOT at all HAPPY!

My Punto was made with a wonky Punto badge on a real slant would they fix it NO might name it wonky
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Old 20-09-2014   #13
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Re: Fiat 500 Twin Air - NOT at all HAPPY!

Quote Originally Posted by danny500 View Post
My Punto was made with a wonky Punto badge on a real slant would they fix it NO might name it wonky
I love my swift but one of the headlamp washers had a loose cover. The dealer fixed it without quibble at the 2000 mile check but I took some convincing not to reject it outright, camp outside the dealers with a big sign/leaflets and start legal action, I tell you.
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Re: Fiat 500 Twin Air - NOT at all HAPPY!

My point about the dealer was just a general point I would make to anyone with a problem with their car. This is perhaps just based on my very many negative experiences of them, particularly in relation to my past three Fiats. I was not suggesting that this particular dealer was not playing ball.
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Old 20-09-2014   #15
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Re: Fiat 500 Twin Air - NOT at all HAPPY!

Quote Originally Posted by zanes View Post
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The worst thing about FIAT ownership is the dealers. FIAT UK need to look at why they are worse than others (or, equivalently, why other marque dealers are so much better) and fix it.
I'd suggest they're worse than others because Fiat's policy for reimbursing dealers for in-warranty repairs is worse than other marques.

The thankfully now resolved issue of old-type 1.2 500 breather hoses is a good case in point. Fiat waited for owners to complain they'd failed before (sometimes grudgingly) replacing them under warranty; AIUI Ford (the then-current 1.2 Ka used the same hose) replaced them irrespective of condition as a matter of course during routine servicing once the redesigned part became available.
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Last edited by jrkitching; 20-09-2014 at 19:01.
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