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2012 5 Hundo Sport
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HI friends,

A month or two ago while on a run, I saw an orange 500 Sport with a for sale sign on it in the neighborhood. I have a 16 year old son who is working on weekends and going to high school part time due to COVID restrictions. My daughter is back from college and the thought occurred that it was time to perhaps look for another car for them so they're not sharing whilst both at home for the summer (and for my daughter to have a car at school as well).

We started the hunt for cars in the $5-7k price range, smaller, as they are used to driving a Scion xA hatchback.

Fast forward a few weeks and I stumbled upon a 500 Sport from 2012 with only 42k miles on it for less than $8000 (USD). Most 500s in the area are going for $9k or greater, with more miles. Pictures looked good so on Memorial Day, we took a trip down to the dealer to check it out.

Upon arrival, it was clear that the dealer was a single guy operating out of an office park. His MO is to purchase nice cars from auction and offer them at good prices. The car was parked out front and passed the eye test (for a 9 year old car). It did have some scratches here and there, some curb rash on the rims, and a rough fix job on the left rear bumper area, but beyond that, it looked solid. Inside looked great as well, save for the bent trunk cover (could they have used cheaper materials for that?).

On the road, the car drove great. Brakes were strong (and tires new!) and the engine sounded fine. Sport mode was not as much of a big deal as I thought it would be; perhaps it would be if the transmission was manual. Radio sounded excellent, as it had the BOSE soundsystem/speakers inside.

I did not buy the car that day, but left pretty impressed. The sales guy asked the old question, "what price would you need to take it home today?" He said no offer was an insult. I wasn't planning to buy, but offered $5500, hoping he'd reject it as I had no money/check on me. He said he couldn't do it but what about $7500? I said no and we left.

As the week progressed, we kept coming back to that car. I reached out and offered $7000 but he declined and we ended up meeting in the middle, $7300. We were planning on going down Saturday to get it anyway, which turned out to be a great move as my son ended up totaling the aforementioned Scion xA (RIP) on Friday night. He was pulling into his school to perform in his high school musical and got t-boned. Fortunately for him, he was ok physically, but a little banged up emotionally (he's seeing ghosts on the road now).

So on Saturday, we headed back down without my son (he had to work) to take the car on a longer drive. Me, my wife and daughter all drove the car around and really got a good feel for it. Much of the standard comments apply: seats sit tall; car feels high-centered; blind spot on driver's side is abysmal. But the more I drove it, the more I enjoyed it and thought it would be a great fit for my son. He has mentioned he likes a smaller car (he's only had his license for 3 months or so) anyway and finds my MKV Jetta to be too big.

This time at the dealership, I had done my preparation and received a loan from the bank in advance. After the test drive, we ended up meeting him at the bank and about an hour later, after all the paperwork was done, we were good to go. He ended up taking the car for a quick courtesy wash and fill up and then we were on our way home. I may never buy from a dealership again, this was so easy!

Fast forward through the weekend and it turns out most everything is fine. We are learning the ins and outs of the car, reading this site and YouTube. My daughter saw that the left front corner reflector (in front of the wheel) was broken off and missing. When we called it out at the seller's office, he thought maybe it was torn off in the car wash? Regardless, $20.00 from Amazon, no big deal. And despite checking the headlights on Saturday in broad daylight (I thought they were on), when the kids drove up last night, I noticed the driver's side headlight was out, so ordered a pair of lights to replace.

Anyway, all this is to say that I am happy with what we got. Knocking on wood that this car will survive the next 10 years without issue, and hoping that it will keep everyone safe as well. Looks like this community will chug along slowly, but I will look forward to utilizing its resources and knowledge as we move ahead.

110319


Thanks for reading!
 

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Nice car. Make sure you get the owners manual and read it. Maintenance schedule, especially oil changes are critical on this car. The cylinder head uses clean oil at high pressure to actuate the intake valves. There is only a camshaft for the exhaust valves. Don't know where you live but I'd consider full synthetic oil. If the car sits several weeks it can take a procedure to build pressure back up in the cylinder head to start the car.

Also when changing spark plugs you should also always change the o-ring on top of the valve cover (driver's side) where the AOS (air/oil separator box) attaches. Oil tends to leak across the valve cover and down into the spark plug holes eventually creating a mess and even a short.
 
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2012 5 Hundo Sport
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply and the tips! I am not mechanically inclined, but totally willing to learn and do what I can to make sure this car runs for a long time. There was no manual with the car, but I did download the PDF. Looking into if/when the dealer did any oil change. CarFax shows 7/2020 as last oil change date.

In the manual, I saw something about a back up sensor. I haven't tested it yet, but my son said he heard a beep? Is it similar to the godawful seatbelt beeper when you first start up? And, though I'm searching, it appears there is no way to stream audio to the terrible Blue&Me system?
 

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I used something like this:

Amazon.com: ZJWD USB Bluetooth 5.0 Transmitter Adapter 3.5mm AUX Stereo Jack for Bluetooth Headphone Bluetooth Speaker TV with 3.5mm Auxiliary Cable: Electronics

I can play stored music from my phone thru the car stereo speakers. Plugs inside the glove box (left side). There are many variations of Bluetooth adapters out there. Mine was less than $10.

More important than time is mileage for oil changes. Your downloaded pdf owner's manual will spell it out for you. And the table showing when maintenance is required. (Near back of owner's manual).

I don't have a backup sensor. You would see several circles across the rear bumper the size of quarters.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have something similar to that BT device in my VW. Kids using an FM transmitter now that works for them. Thanks again.
 

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Nice car! Best colour imo:) the way I think about these cars is that it's like an old collector car but can drive everyday, is cheap in all ways, and can drive it enthusiastically if done so smoothly and respectfully. Ie. Warning up before hard on throttle, cornering slow in less slow out, all maintenance on time or early, don't slam the doors, trunk only ever need only be dropped 3 or 4 inches to close else something will bend or break - same with everything else your hands touch because if done roughly or needlessly aggressive, I think it will break. I just love the darn things. It gave me a whole new perspective of Italian design and engineering (since I was never into furniture design, leather purses, and couldn't afford Italian suits, and I thought Italian cars made you broke).
 

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On mine, I gave my daughter and wife headaches because they thought I was nuts telling them how to close the hatch, the doors, how to turn the key, not to use a bunch of keys hanging off key while in ignition, how not to pull on the seat backs until you've pulled the latch all the way and not roughly. Not to slide seat forward and back hard in its tracks or between teeth, haha. They didn't even want to be with me in the car first couple weeks. I have a very inexpensive Pop. But it isn't the cost the reason why. I enjoy being like this with this car. To me it's the fun of it. But then again, I was born a total car nut. So many enjoyable things about these cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah, the brittleness of everything makes me a little nervous, so I try not to watch the kids tear in and out of the cul-de-sac if possible. :D

I did take it for a spin the other day to run some errands. It is a fun little dude! Changed one headlight bulb last night, will do the other today, as well as cabin air and engine air filters.
 

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Imo, the cars are solid if used and looked after appropriately. I really think the designers and engineers thought about all this and knew what trade offs they were making. I think different cultures design cars with their own biases. For instance, Japanese culture is about trying not to get blamed or singled out. So their cars are made super reliable even if abused, neglected etc they hold up well (even if user an idiot). But they are a bit boring because they make trade offs in that direction. Some people believe Italian cars are "fragile" but I totally do not believe this. Except for a few rusty Fiat models, they, and old Ferrari s Lancia Alfa Romeo, are solidly built. They key, imo, is to use thoughtfully and respectfully. This doesn't mean can't drive aggressive etc but if do, do properly and well. Like, rev matching downshifts, not trying to jam into 1st at 30 mph, being rough with interior, neglecting maintenance, etc etc etc. I also believe (but I could be totally wrong but it make me feel better), Italian cars are designed more towards for the person who sometimes drives like an idiot (me) so it's needs to be enjoyable and fun and reliable and durable if used this way. Every time I step hard into the engine's (short and modest) powerband, I feel good because I think this was how the engineers envisioned me using it. When I drove my Toyota this way when I owned it, it felt like the engineers would frown on me for driving that way. Again, this isn't completely true as each model/brand etc is different it is the just the bias in how the cars were made.
 

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Lildrgn, congratulations on your new ride. Nice color. When buying brand new. I was torn about that color or the silver. My 2012 500, just turned 10 year old this June. Very few issues with that car. You didn’t say, what transmission your car is equipped with. If it’s a automatic, there is a factory recall, on the shift linkage. if your car is equipped with that. You can call any Fiat service department. Give them your Vin number. They can tell you, if it’s been fixed yet.
 

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Lildrgn, congratulations on your new ride. Nice color. When buying brand new. I was torn about that color or the silver. My 2012 500, just turned 10 year old this June. Very few issues with that car. You didn’t say, what transmission your car is equipped with. If it’s a automatic, there is a factory recall, on the shift linkage. if your car is equipped with that. You can call any Fiat service department. Give them your Vin number. They can tell you, if it’s been fixed yet.
Glad to hear 2012 been good! I was thinking that was the year and maybe 2013 (mine} would be years to avoid if all else equal. But even so, only few minor niggles even on 2012 and nothing major (afaik).
 
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