April 30, 2012
If you want to get the most for a used car, it is always best to sell it without any outstanding issues. I noticed recently that the air conditioning on our 2012 Fiat 500 stopped blowing cold air, so I took it in for repairs. The Fiat was about 600 miles away from the 16K service, but since we are selling the car, I figured I'd have that taken care of too. Lastly, the car was missing a windshield washer reservoir cap so I asked if they had one in stock.
The air conditioning system needed a recharge, which was taken care of under warranty. The last car we had with an A/C that needed recharging this soon was the Mitsubishi Outlander GT.
In addition to the oil change and tire rotation, there was an open TSB regarding a clicking noise owners heat while closing the doors. The bulletin notes say: "inspect door check strap bolts for looseness and if necessary, applying thread lock sealant to the attachment bolts and tightening them to the specified torque."
The Fiat dealer in Van Nuys was either understaffed or everyone had called in sick that day.
There was only one service advisor working. He wasn't flooded with customers, yet everything took much longer than it should have.
April 23, 2012
I can't remember the last time I had a thought about windshield washer fluid that lasted longer than the 2 minutes involved in buying a jug of it.
But our 2012 Fiat 500 Sport makes it interesting again. It turns out the filler mouth for its reservoir is about 6 inches below hood level. The upshot is that unless you've got a steady hand (I don't) and the presence of mind to brace the fluid jug against the headlight (I didn't), you're gonna need a funnel to avoid slopping it all over the engine bay.
February 14, 2012
Dear Orange Coast Fiat:
Stop calling me to bring our 2012 Fiat 500 Sport in for service. I really do loathe robo-calls, and I think I've received three in the last couple weeks alone. At least have the decency to call in person so I can tell you to put yourself on the Do Not Call list.
You may not know this about me, but the more you call the less I want to come back to your establishment. This goes double for automated calls with no actual human being on the line. I do not consider these calls a convenience. If they remind me of anything at all it's that maybe I should do the next oil change myself or go to one of your competitors.
October 27, 2011
Yesterday I needed to Refer to The Factory Manual (RTFM) contained within the glove compartment of our 2012 Fiat 500.
But it wasn't there. Must be on somebody's desk.
No problem, the owner's manual wallet was still there, and in it I found a DVD version. Hello laptop.
Common operations are demonstrated in short video clips. I was able to sit on my own couch and learn the basics of phone pairing, seat adjustment (their seat height adjuster works so much better than ours) and the proper use of the "sport" button, among other things.
Fiat is quick to point out that this Owner's Information DVD is not a substitute for the actual owner's manual, probably because it does not go on for 15 pages on the proper use of seat belts or contain myriad lawyer-generated warnings and cautions.
But it's not just that; the minutiae is not there, the stuff that tends to send us rummaging for the owner's manual in the first place. Think of it as a quick-start guide. You may still need to RTFM if you get stuck.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 9,153 miles
October 25, 2011
How do you change the oil in a 2012 Fiat 500? It's a simple four-step process.
1) Drive to your local Fiat dealer and locate the service advisor.
He'll be the one looking like the Maytag repairman, but without the hat. More than likely he's also the service manager. He could also run the parts department while he's not carrying out the duties of mayor or sheriff.
It's not that Fiat 500's are supremely reliable -- the jury is still out on that point. It's just that they have but one model to sell and none of them are so much as a year old.
2) Ask for an oil change.
3) Wait 30 or 45 minutes.
August 10, 2011
Today we picked our 2012 Fiat 500 Sport up from Stokes Tire Pros in Santa Monica. You immediately notice the new left front tire, as its edges aren't yet pounded to a partial pulp like the right front tire (no disrespect to the lagoon here, rather an inevitability when there's a small, Italian hatch in the fleet).
The replacement cost for one Continental ContiProContact, size 195/45R16 84H, was right in line with Warren's estimate -- $145.95, which came to $163.45 with tax.
August 09, 2011
The Fiat 500 is available with an optional spare tire. In U.S. models, the spare is stored not in the cargo area, but under the rear of the vehicle.
Our car has no spare, so the morning after its tangle with the black lagoon, I make arrangements to have it towed to Stokes, our go-to tire shop.