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Hello everybody - I have a North American Fiat 500 sport - I've noticed it's developed a crazy loud noise from the Left rear that drones at speed. Thinking it to be a wheel bearing I got down on the ground to shake/inspect before taking it to a shop to lift it, only to find that I have flat spots/diagonal wear patterns all over my rear tires. The car has never been in an accident and I've owned it since 2017 when it had about 30,000 miles on it (Now at 49,000), I rotate the tires at every oil change and they are currently at 4/32nds all the way around (Close to needing new), but it only developed this noise/wear pattern within the last 2,000 miles (Since I performed a n oil change and tire rotation) and it's steadily been getting worse ever since.

I only just finished technicians training a few months ago but then switched to sales - normally flat spotting on a tire is caused by spring/shock failure, correct? Are there any other known causes for front/rear tires flat spotting and wearing abnormally on Fiat 500's? Any direction somebody could point me in would be helpful so I know what to look for if/when I finally get a chance to take a look at it.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I should also note that it's a 2012, I didn't specify what year. Also - if the OEM/stock suspension has failed I'd love it if somebody could point me at some decent, crisp handling coil-overs for it - thanks! :D
 

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Yes, this subject came up recently. 30K miles on a set of tires is pretty good for the 500 (not sure how many you have). The first thing to do is check those bearings. 500's, especially the 2012, was sometimes known for wheel bearing problems. You can check the suspension, since it's getting older, but that seems to be less of a problem. When my former car (Neon) had a similar problem, I found the shop that lowered it had not torqued the RR wheel, and it was moving all over... tore up a tire.

The next thing to check is wheel alignment. It's not uncommon for 500's (like other brands) to leave the showroom poorly aligned. There are Mopar shims available to bring the rear axle into spec, but most Fiat dealers will tell you these are not adjustable. My dealer could not locate the part until I provided them with the part number. My 2018 was recently aligned and now all specs (except front wheel caster) are in spec.

If these are the tires the car had on it when you bought it, it's possible they are wearing out at 25K. It's certainly time to swap in a new set.
 

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What type of tires are you running on you 500 Sport. Continentals are really noisy tires, after 30K miles. My 2012, is on its 2nd set. The rear tires seem to wear quickly on the outside edge. Actual start cupping. There are some shims Map talks about to fix the rear alignment. Take a look at your rear tires outside edge. See if there cupping, like mine. My rear tires make lots a noise. I rotate every 7-8k miles too. See if there’s any feathering. The Shim axle part number for rear of the 500. 68236620AA.


 

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I acutally have factory Continental ContiPro Contacts on the rear right now - the edges aren't feathering but they have this horrible diagonal wear pattern/flat spotting over the whole surface (which sounds like the cupping you're describing) So maybe rear tires + and alignment and maybe a wheel bearing would be in order. I'll try to take a picture of the tires surface today and send to you guys and see what you think!
 

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Checking your wheel bearing should be easy,

Just jack your off the ground so that the wheel bearing you want to check is off the ground, then try to move the wheel/tire while its still mounted. You want to move it as if you were trying to add or remove camber, or trying to steer it left or right because obviously trying to roll it along its rotational axis isnt going to show you anything.

Its hard to pin point it to just the wheel bearing, and its also possible that your rear shocks are blown, which could cause cupping/ "shark fin-ing"/ "saw tooth-ing"
 

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Its your wheel bearings. The rears are easy to replace. Its very difficult to determine if your bearings are bad when they are unloaded. The 2012 year had the worst bearings. I have a 2012 and my left rear went bad so I just replace both rears. Tires only seem to last 30k mi. Also I'm on my third set of tires and they all lose air over time. Sometimes more quickly than expected. I would check tire pressure at least once a month if not more.
 

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Alright guys - so I used to be an apprentice tech so I'm pretty sure I could do wheel bearings - but I may not have tools for them so I'm guessing I'll need to get a press, which will probably suck.
 

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Thanks for all of your input so far! New tires + Rear wheel bearings and finding a spot to get the car in the shop at work and check the alignment myself seems like what I'll end up doing. Just kill hit possible cause at once. :)
 

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Alright guys - so I used to be an apprentice tech so I'm pretty sure I could do wheel bearings - but I may not have tools for them so I'm guessing I'll need to get a press, which will probably suck.
Wheel bearings are something you can do at home, for the average home mechanic. It's only slightly harder than replacing rear pads. This is the Bravo, but the same procedure. (500 vids are Youtube.)

As I recall, the axle nut is torqued to 156 ft lb... specs listed in other videos. Be sure to buy the best hub assemblies you can. The factor and Moog seem to be good. Some of the aftermarket are worse than the 2012's factory part, which could fail in 50 to 90K. (Cheap aftermarket have failed in under 15K.)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Wheel bearings are something you can do at home, for the average home mechanic. It's only slightly harder than replacing rear pads. This is the Bravo, but the same procedure. (500 vids are Youtube.)

As I recall, the axle nut is torqued to 156 ft lb... specs listed in other videos. Be sure to buy the best hub assemblies you can. The factor and Moog seem to be good. Some of the aftermarket are worse than the 2012's factory part, which could fail in 50 to 90K. (Cheap aftermarket have failed in under 15K.)
Thanks for letting me know! If I don't use OEM parts that I source from work typically I go with Moog, they make good ****! (y)
 

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Make sure you buy a new nut for each axle and torque them to 207 ft. lbs. Check out rock auto for parts. I would go with anything that has at least a 3 yr warranty.
 
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