New Fiat 500 periodically getting a string of warning messages

500
fiat

#1

So a friend of mine recently leased a 2016 Fiat 500x and they’re experiencing a problem where about once a week, they’ll get a string of like 10 warning messages all in a row on the dashboard. The say something is wrong with the airbag, the power train, the electric parking brake, and too many other things to recall offhand. The thing is, nothing is actually wrong. The car works fine aside from those error messages coming up.

My friend took it into the local fiat dealership to get it looked it and they were able to pull the records of all those warning messages from the computer. They kept the car for 5 days before finally getting it back to her, but a week later she started getting the messages again. They only come up about once a week.

Anyone have experience with anything like this? It’s driving her absolutely bonkers.


#2

She needs to keep careful documentation of this, and look into the ‘lemon laws’ in her state. If they can’t fix this after 3 tries I would try to get it replaced.


#3

Advise your friend to keep all paperwork and a log of events. Then keep taking it back to the dealer. After the second visit, I’d escalate to the next level at Fiat US. That information should be in the users manual.

If they can’t fix the problem after 3 attempts, he may be eligible for a new car under the lemon laws most states have. However, they vary from state to state and you have to look it up for your state.

As to the actual problem, I’m no expert, but I’s suspect a problem with the computer. Possibly bad grounds, or the processor itself has a problem. The dealer can certainly fix those issues, if that is the problem.

edit: texases, we were both typing at the same time…


#4

Tell her to begin researching the exact details of The Lemon Law in her state, to keep taking it back to the dealership each time that it acts-up, and to make sure that she gets a copy of the documentation for each repair attempt.

In most states, they get three repair attempts before you can invoke The Lemon Law, and in other states it is four repair attempts before you can invoke it. And, the available relief varies from state to state. In NJ, you can demand a full refund–including registration fees and other fees, but in some other states you can only get a comparable new replacement vehicle. If she has the option for a full refund, I strongly suggest that she demand that relief when she gets to the magic number of failed repair attempts, and then she can shop for a vehicle that has a good reliability rating. Unfortunately, she chose a model that is–literally–at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to its reliability record!

Most of the Lemon Laws also state that the problem has to be one that “materially affects the safety or drivability” of the vehicle. I would argue that this these types of warning messages do constitute a drivability problem, simply because the Owner’s Manual directs you to NOT drive with those types of problems–even if the warnings are of a phantom nature.

Incidentally, the dealership is the responsible party for repairs, but Lemon Law claims are filed with the vehicle manufacturer, NOT with the dealership. Contact information for the manufacturer can be found in the Owner’s Manual. Be sure to send all communications via Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested.

Good luck to your friend!


#5

I’m on board with everything the other posters said. Your pal needs to get a receipt at every visit to qualify for a lemon law replacement if the dealer can’t fix it. I ALMOST had a lemon law replacement in 1987. There was a problem with the AC compressor. They tried to repair it and screwed it up even worse. I contacted Ford, and then got clearance to take it in for the Last Chance. I knew if they screwed up again I had a new car in my driveway. When the service advisor looked at the records on his computer, his eyes got as big as saucers. I guess Ford had a love note for the dealer in my records. They finally replaced the compressor and that fixed it. They should have done that the first time.

I love telling that story for two reasons. The insignificant one is that it’s fun to put it to the dealer. The important one is that lemon laws actually work


#6

Yup!
And, a reasonably literate person absolutely does NOT need to pay an attorney to intervene in a Lemon Law claim.

As long as somebody can read–and comprehend–the exact details of the Lemon Law statute in his/her state, and can craft a well-constructed Demand Letter that takes the exact verbiage of the statute into account in that Demand Letter, it is not that difficult to get a car manufacturer to give you the settlement to which you are entitled by law.


#7

You my not even need lemon laws, a lady at work bought a jeep, every other month it was in the shop for a couple of weeks at a time for crazy warning lights, after a year they offered to replace it with a new one, she was near in tears after a month the replacement car started doing the same thing. That was Sept, guess I’ll ask how things are going.


#8

Do lemon laws apply to leases? I thought with a lease you would be able to return a “problem” vehicle for another one.


#9

A neighbor of mine had a very similar problem on the same make/model. After several dealer attempts to fix it they ended up replacing the entire instrument panel and I think they had to replace the entire dashboard too. After taking it back after the instrument/dash repair to fix unrelated things that got broken in the repair process, they eventually were able to fix it. All done under warranty, but the neighbor was still a little flummoxed by the ordeal.


#10

FIAT

Acronym:

Fix It Again Tony.

Tester


#11

From what I can tell, leased cars are covered in most states. But the OP needs to check for their specific state.


#12

This problem is exactly why Fiats are at the bottom of Consumers Reports 10 worst car brands list for 2016.