When things go wrong with our 500s.
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Thread: When things go wrong with our 500s.

  1. #1
    Senior Member ghostdog's Avatar
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    When things go wrong with our 500s.

    I was initially extremely reluctant to buy a Fiat. Although I had never owned a Fiat before I did remember their reputation, at least in the US, and in combination with Chrysler, it almost sounded like some sort of automotive joke. It was as if a bunch of gazillionaires got together with nothing better to do and said "Let's make a car under the names of two of the most historically shaky car manufacturers, make it irresistibly good looking, and see if anyone will buy it. He he he."

    When I went for a test drive I was fairly insulated about actually buying one. I knew I loved the appearance and the historical link, but with a dealership that was an hour away (which is a lot better than some of us have it) combined with the whole Fiat/Chrysler lovechild scenario, I was ready to, almost looking forward to, disliking the car in a big way. Well that didn't happen. Two blocks away on the test drive with the sales guy in the backseat, I was looking at my wife in a slight panic. My resistance was crumbling by the second. I was unable to recall any of my inner dialog about the whole Fiat/Chrysler thingy. I just wanted the car. Me want car. Grok love little car. Me take car home now. Jeez.

    So here we all are, driving cars that we all know have questionable parents, and perhaps that is part of our sensitivity to things going wrong. To some extent we may expect things to go wrong, as if we are driving a kind of ticking time bomb of trips to an equally shaky service department, at least that is how I see it.

    Whenever I have purchased a Honda, or Toyota, or Mazda, I had the expectation of their reliability and brand reputation. I never worried about how they would hold up, and if repairs were necessary, well, reputation is reputation. Looking objectively at my experience with these brands I admit that there were problems, like the time Honda performed a scheduled maintenance that resulted in what sounded like water sloshing side to side every time I went around a corner. A lot of water, like there was a 40 gallon aquarium in the backseat. It took five trips to the service department before they discovered the problem. It made some sort of entry into the annals of the Honda service manual, but it was a Honda, a HONDA, so it got a pass in my mind, as did all of the head and taillight lenses filling with water and the spare tire well filling with water. Note the word filling. I could have put guppies in the headlight cases. It would have looked cool, and maybe turtles in the spare tire well. Honda fixed the light and hatch gaskets instantly, so they got another pass.

    Do we expect problems with a Fiat more than we might with another brand? Is there some sort of built in obligatory mistrust that we carry around just waiting to be fulfilled because we told ourselves so? Does it makes us hypercritical, or suspicious?

    Nothing has gone wrong with my beloved mouse (credit for "mouse" goes to amacento). It is my little treasure on wheels, but honestly, I do worry a little, very little actually, about what might happen down the road more than I might have with new a Honda. I suppose this is a result of nothing more than perception, but it can be a nagging perception. I look forward to being proved wrong.
    Last edited by ghostdog; 12-24-2012 at 10:14 AM.

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  4. #2
    Senior Member smark's Avatar
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    Things have changed since the 70's. Fiat has changed too. Not a prefect Japanese car out there. I owned plenty.

    Not going to worry about it. Any real trouble, I'll just sell her. Got me a 4 year warranty, one more then a Honda.

    Planning on buying a 500 L in spring too. 15 months of Fiat fun so far.

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    Senior Member sjmst's Avatar
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    Good post. What we get here on the forums, good or bad, is purely anecdotal. The real test is the stats. Consumers Union shows the FIAT 500 to be of average quality. That's for a brand new (to US) product. Not bad (literally). Other reviews show the car to have above average reliability. So, yes, if you are the owner of a car that has problems, to you that’s all that matters. But the fact is the 500’s are good cars. Can you imagine if FIATS suffered from the so called “unintended acceleration” problem that Toyota had? Game over. Yet, people cut Toyotas slack because of their otherwise perfect reputation. Conversely, FIAT gets no slack. Minor problems are seen as evidence of the bad old days. As we can see, this is simply not the case.
    - Sam
    Board Member FIAT Club America
    2012 FIAT 500, Abarth
    1981 FIAT Spider, Original Owner
    'Not putting miles on your FIAT is like not having sex with your Girlfriend so she'll be more desirable to her next Boyfriend.'

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    Senior Member cerebrix's Avatar
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    i had big problems with mine. but fiat took care of me. those are very loving parents we have.

    although id prefer catriel over jonathan as our lead representative.

    i hope he doesnt take that personally

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    No. Preconceived notions have nothing to do with anything.

    I don't go by anything other than recommendations from family or friends. Real world experience that I am close to because outside of that, there's bias and people who hype their cars regardless of the truth. Like one member here told me that it was unreasonable to expect a brand new car to be problem free.

    In terms of real life experience available and close to me?

    2010 Mazda 3 (girlfriend)
    2012 Honda CRV (parents)
    1998 Toyota Sienna (parents)
    2004 Honda Accord (other brother)
    2012 Mazda 2 (brother)
    2006 Honda Civic Si (friend)

    I can honestly say that no one's had any problems with the cars above. The folks' 2012 CR-V had a recall for like a door handle or something, but that's it. The other cars have all been bulletproof reliable and no one's complained about anything. This is real world data that applies to me. I wouldn't buy a Honda or a Toyota because Consumer Reports tells me that it's reliable. I would buy a Toyota or a Honda because my family and friends have had fantastic ownership experiences.

    I don't feel confident that my 500 will be trouble free based on the troubles that I've had. And at this point, if someone asked me if I would recommend buying the 500, I would say no.
    Last edited by Tweak; 12-24-2012 at 04:39 PM. Reason: Cleaned it up a bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerebrix View Post

    although id prefer catriel over jonathan as our lead representative.

    i hope he doesnt take that personally
    Thanks for putting him on the spot. lol. And I bet he does, though he won't admit it.

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    Senior Member DaveCM203's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjmst View Post
    Good post. What we get here on the forums, good or bad, is purely anecdotal. The real test is the stats. Consumers Union shows the FIAT 500 to be of average quality. That's for a brand new (to US) product. Not bad (literally). Other reviews show the car to have above average reliability. So, yes, if you are the owner of a car that has problems, to you that’s all that matters. But the fact is the 500’s are good cars. Can you imagine if FIATS suffered from the so called “unintended acceleration” problem that Toyota had? Game over. Yet, people cut Toyotas slack because of their otherwise perfect reputation. Conversely, FIAT gets no slack. Minor problems are seen as evidence of the bad old days. As we can see, this is simply not the case.
    I sold cars for a few years, and you are exactly right. I have seen Toyotas that had a ridiculous amount of problems. I have seen a few Toyotas that had weird problems. The customer rarely seems shaken regardless. They just assume it is an anomaly. With the other brand we sold, I have seen people get way upset and try to declare their cars lemons for very minor reasons. And they would usualy say, "I should've got a Toyota." Toyota does make reliable cars, but the are made by humans. Stuff happens. It is just that their reputation gives them a pass.

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    Senior Member sjmst's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveCM203 View Post
    I sold cars for a few years, and you are exactly right. I have seen Toyotas that had a ridiculous amount of problems. I have seen a few Toyotas that had weird problems. The customer rarely seems shaken regardless. They just assume it is an anomaly. With the other brand we sold, I have seen people get way upset and try to declare their cars lemons for very minor reasons. And they would usualy say, "I should've got a Toyota." Toyota does make reliable cars, but the are made by humans. Stuff happens. It is just that their reputation gives them a pass.

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    Yep.

    http://youarenotsosmart.com/2010/06/...irmation-bias/
    - Sam
    Board Member FIAT Club America
    2012 FIAT 500, Abarth
    1981 FIAT Spider, Original Owner
    'Not putting miles on your FIAT is like not having sex with your Girlfriend so she'll be more desirable to her next Boyfriend.'

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    Senior Member Mactography's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPsycho View Post
    I don't go by anything other than recommendations from family or friends. Real world experience that I am close to because outside of that, there's bias and morons who hype their cars regardless of the truth.
    While I typically agree with this, if everyone goes by the same logic then car reputations would be all over the scale because everyone has different experiences with different manufacturers. So much for consumer reviews.

    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPsycho View Post
    2010 Mazda 3 (girlfriend)
    2012 Honda CRV (parents)
    1998 Toyota Sienna (parents)
    2004 Honda Accord (other brother)
    2012 Mazda 2 (brother)
    2006 Honda Civic Si (friend)
    I generally agree with these makes and models being solid. But my family was purely Honda owners for about a 10 year span.

    I had an 86 Accord, 93 Accord, and 99 Accord, all of which had issues. My mom's 06 Accord has issues. Of course I expect issues to arise. Vehicles are, after all, machines.

    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPsycho View Post
    I don't feel confident that my 500 will be trouble free based on the troubles that I've had. And at this point, if someone asked me if I would recommend buying the 500, I would say no.
    And this goes full circle to your original friends and family bias. You have had numerous bad experiences with a car that (I assume) you want to like, but just can't get enjoyment out of quite as much as a majority of us here. If I had as many issues as you've had I'd personally be left with serious buyer's remorse and wouldn't recommend the car either.

    As of 1700 miles yesterday I've had no problems with this car, and 1600 on my previous Sport had no problems either. I know neither of those are high numbers but your vehicle is also new and has already had a myriad of issues.

    I give Fiat the benefit of the doubt as I would any other manufacturer mainly because I am aware I'm driving a complicated machine around and if something breaks I leave the warranty to attempt and fix it. It's part of cost of ownership.. things happen. Also, the previous incarnation of Fiat was around before my time (I'm 26). Thus, I won't pass judgement on the brand based on possible misconceptions of a past time.

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    Senior Member cerebrix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveCM203 View Post
    I sold cars for a few years, and you are exactly right. I have seen Toyotas that had a ridiculous amount of problems. I have seen a few Toyotas that had weird problems. The customer rarely seems shaken regardless. They just assume it is an anomaly. With the other brand we sold, I have seen people get way upset and try to declare their cars lemons for very minor reasons. And they would usualy say, "I should've got a Toyota." Toyota does make reliable cars, but the are made by humans. Stuff happens. It is just that their reputation gives them a pass.

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    i dont get why anyone would think a toyota is reliable. in the last 5 years theyve become synonymous with the words "massive recall".

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