When purchasing my Fiat 500, I made sure to do some research on how long I could expect my new vehicle to last. Making sure that I purchased a vehicle that was reliable and had a long lifespan was important.
A Fiat 500 can last anywhere between 200,000 to 250,000 miles or 13 to 17 years. To reach the maximum lifespan for your Fiat 500, you will need to ensure that it is properly maintained for the duration of its life. Fiat 500s require minimal routine maintenance to achieve this maximum lifespan, making them an extremely reliable vehicle.
This guide will focus on the different factors that can influence a Fiat 500’s lifespan and how you can avoid some of the more prevalent issues you may encounter.
How Reliable Is The Fiat 500?
The Fiat 500 is a very reliable vehicle and has positive reliability ratings across the board. There are no serious issues reported by owners of Fiat 500s and the engine and transmission used in them are high-quality and function without many serious problems.
That being said, the 2012 model Fiat 500 has been reported to have some issues with the engine and transmission. You should avoid this model if you are considering purchasing a used Fiat 500. The Fiat 500 has a reliability rating of 3.5/5 and ranks 18th out of 21 other similar compact vehicles.
The annual maintenance cost for the Fiat 500 is typically around $500, which is around the average you can expect for other vehicles of similar makes and models. Overall, you can expect your Fiat 500 to be a very reliable vehicle that needs minimal maintenance during its lifespan.
So what exactly is the lifespan of a Fiat 500? This will be detailed in the section below.
What Is The Lifespan Of A Fiat 500?
Fiat 500s have a lifespan of between 13 to 17 years or 200,000 to 250,000 miles. This lifespan is considered better than average though to reach to upper limits of the lifespan, more regular maintenance will be required.
There are several other factors that will come into play when determining exactly how long your Fiat 500 will last. These factors include driving styles, road conditions in your area, and how well you have maintained your vehicle.
If you are a careful driver and do not use your Fiat 500 for long commutes, you can expect to get closer to the maximum lifespan of your vehicle. Fiat 500s do not have any serious issues reported, with the exception of the 2012 model.
This means the likelihood of needing serious repairs early on in your vehicle’s life is relatively low. Newer models of Fiat 500s have been designed to extend the maximum lifespan and avoid issues, so you can expect a longer lifespan out of newer models when compared to previous ones.
It may be helpful to understand how milage affects the lifespan of your Fiat 500. This will be discussed in the section below.
How Many Miles Can A Fiat 500 Travel?
A Fiat 500 can last up to 250,000 miles if it has been maintained properly. That being said, the lifespan you get out of your Fiat 500 will vary depending on a variety of factors. These factors include proper maintenance, frequency of use, and driving style.
Fiat 500s overall have a very good lifespan and are typically regarded as extremely reliable vehicles. Keep in mind that the further you get passed the 200,000-mile mark, the more likely the chances of major components of your vehicle needing to be replaced.
In some cases, these components like the engine or transmission could wind up costing more than the car is worth. When this happens, it is time to get a new vehicle. I have seen many people driving mini-coopers with well over 150,000 miles on them who do not report any major issues.
Many used Fiat 500s that you will find available for purchase have over 150,000 miles on them, while still having enough lifespan left in them to make them a reasonable purchase.
It is also important to understand that to reach the maximum lifespan of your Fiat 500 you will have to stay on top of regular maintenance. The cost of maintaining a Fiat 500 is relatively low, so you should have no issue getting the most out of your vehicle.
Now that you know how long you can expect your Fiat 500 to last, you can dive into the best and worst Fiat 500 models you can currently purchase.
Worst Fiat 500 Models
The 2012 Fiat 500 is the worst model currently released. This model received several more complaints on average than other models citing increased repair costs and several serious issues. These issues include electrical failings, transmission and engine problems, and clutch issues.
The most common complaint is in regard to interior appliances and accessories. Because of this, it is recommended that you avoid the 2012 Fiat 500 models. Since the Fiat 500 has only had one generation, this makes it easier to pinpoint which years to avoid when choosing a used Fiat 500.
Now that you are aware of which Fiat 500 models to avoid, you can explore the best Fiat 500 models currently available.
Best Fiat 500 Models
The best Fiat 500 models are the 2018 and 2019 models. These models have no serious issues reported and are generally considered reliable vehicles. Both the 2018 and 2019 Fiat 500 models feature turbocharged engines, backup cameras, and an enhanced braking system.
These features, along with the low number of issues reported, make the 2018 and 2019 Fiat 500 models the best choice.
Fiat 500 Complaint Table
Included below is a table containing the number of documented issues for the Fiat 500 spanning the last few years and models.
|Model Year||No. of Complaints|
|2019||0 (Best year)|
|2012||45 (Worst year)|
How Do Fiat 500s Compare To Similar Vehicles?
The section below will compare the Mini Cooper to other similar vehicles in the same size and price range.
The Fiat 500 is a popular hot-hatch model with a good reliability ranking and an average lifespan. You can expect to get similar lifespans out of both vehicles, with the Fiat 500 lasting around 200,000 to 250,000 or up to 17 years.
This is very similar to the lifespan of the Mini Cooper. As far as overall reliability ratings go, the Fiat 500 comes in at 3.5 while the Mini Cooper only has an average reliability rating of 3.0. The Fiat 500 is much cheaper to maintain with annual repair costs averaging around $500 compared to the estimated $1000 estimated repair costs of the Mini Cooper.
The Kelley Blue Book Consumer Reliability Rating for the Fiat 500 is 4.6 while the Mini Cooper comes in at 4.4. This makes them close in reliability by Kelley Blue Book standards. Both will provide an enjoyable driving experience with the Fiat being slightly smaller than the Mini Cooper. The Fiat 500 can also be purchased and maintained for cheaper than a Mini Cooper.
The Smart Fortwo is a two-seater that is considerably smaller than the Fiat 500. It has the same estimated lifespan as the Fiat 500, up to 250,000 miles or 17 years when properly maintained. Because the Smart Fortwo is so compact, it may not meet your specific needs due to the lack of size.
As far as reliability ratings go, the Smart Fortwo has a higher rating, coming in at 4/5. This is only marginally better than the 3.5/5 reliability rating given to the Fiat 500. The Smart Fortwo is a little more expensive to maintain, with an average annual maintenance cost of $800.
The Honda Fit is likely the best-selling subcompact car currently available. It is a practical and affordable vehicle that has proven to be extremely reliable. The Honda Fit can last between 250,000 and 300,000 miles or up to 20 years.
This is considerably longer than the Fiat 500, making it a more practical purchase if longevity is your main concern. The Honda Fit has a 4.5/5 reliability rating which is much higher than the Fiat 500’s score of 3.5/5.
The Honda Fit is also cheaper to maintain and has an estimated annual maintenance cost of around $380. This makes it a more cost-effective option to consider due to the low maintenance costs.
|Mini Cooper||Fiat 500||Honda Fit|
|Annual Repair Cost||$1000||$522||$390|
|KBB Consumer Rating||4.4/5||4.6/5||4.6/5|
|Lifespan(Miles)||200k – 250k||200k-250k||250k – 300k|
How Reliable Is A Fiat 500 Compared To Other Vehicles?
The table below compares the Fiat 500 with several other popular vehicles.
|Toyota Yaris||4.5 / 5.0|
|Toyota Prius C||4.5 / 5.0|
|Mazda2||4.5 / 5.0|
|Honda Fit||4.5 / 5.0|
|Hyundai Accent||4.5 / 5.0|
|Kia Rio||4.5 / 5.0|
|Mitsubishi Mirage||4.5 / 5.0|
|Mazda MX-5 Miata||4.0 / 5.0|
|Nissan Versa||4.0 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Spark||4.0 / 5.0|
|Nissan Versa Note||4.0 / 5.0|
|Honda CR-Z||4.0 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Aveo||4.0 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Sonic||4.0 / 5.0|
|Ford Fiesta||4.0 / 5.0|
|Smart Fortwo||4.0 / 5.0|
|Nissan Cube||3.5 / 5.0|
|Mini Cooper||3.5 / 5.0|
|Mini Cooper Countryman||3.5 / 5.0|
|Subaru BRZ||3.0 / 5.0|
|Fiat 500||3.0 / 5.0|
|Avg. Subcompact Car||4.0|
Most Common Fiat 500 Problems
Detailed below are some of the most common issues you can expect to experience with your Fiat 500. While these issues are rare, it is important to be aware of any potential problems that could arise.
Suspension issues are also common with some models of Fiat 500, most commonly the 2012 model. These suspension issues are accompanied by loud noises coming from the undercarriage of the vehicle. This issue is mainly caused by premature wearing of the strut mounts which attach the suspension strut to the vehicle.
To resolve this, you should inspect the strut mounts and replace them if you notice they are damaged or worn.
Steering problems have been reported with some models of the Fiat 500. These issues include clunking, grinding, or knocking noises while turning the steering wheel, most commonly at low speeds. While this is not an issue that will cause dangerous driving conditions, it is a minor annoyance to be aware of.
To resolve this issue, you should consider lubricating the slip joint of your vehicle’s steering shaft located directly above the brake pedal. If this does not work, you may need to replace the entire steering column.
Engine problems are another problem that Fiat 500 commonly has. This is a rare issue mainly reported with the 2012 Fiat 500. These issues include engine stalling and problems with the engine starting properly.
If your Fiat 500 is having engine issues, you will need to take your vehicle to a mechanic for servicing. They will be able to diagnose your issue and offer insight into possible solutions.
Interior Accessory Troubles
The most common complaints that the Fiat 500 has are related to the interior components. These issues have primarily been reported by owners of the 2012 models. While these issues are not a safety concern, they are a minor annoyance to be aware of.
Poor build quality regarding the interior components can manifest in several ways including:
- Door handles break easily
- Inaccurate Clock
- Ignition Sticking
- Random Noises
- Hands-Free System Not Working
- Phone System Not Working Properly.
- Panel Lights Flashing Randomly
- Door Not Unlocking With key fob
- Odometer blinking
- Seats Do Not Recline Properly
How Expensive Are Fiat 500s To Maintain?
It costs an average of $522 dollars a year to properly maintain a Fiat 500. This is an average annual maintenance cost that is not much higher than other similar vehicles. This makes the Fiat 500 an affordable car to maintain, as it does not have very many serious frequent issues reported.
The table below contains maintenance costs for several similar vehicles:
|Model||Avg. Annual Maintenance Cost||Frequency Of Unscheduled Repairs||Probability Of Major Repairs|
|Toyota Prius C||$383||0.4||7%|
|Mazda MX-5 Miata||$429||0.3||10%|
|Nissan Versa Note||$445||0.3||12%|
|Mini Cooper Countryman||$880||0.6||11%|
|Avg. Subcompact Car||$456||0.3||11%|
Knowing how long the individual components of a Fiat 500 typically last will help better estimate the overall maintenance costs you can expect.
Fiat 500 Component Lifespans
Listed below are several of the estimated lifespans of many vital components of the Fiat 500.
How Long Do The Brakes Last?
Fiat 500 brake pads have an average lifespan between 25,000 to 40,000 miles. The exact lifespan of your breaks will depend on your driving style and road conditions. If you spend a lot of time driving in close traffic, where frequent breaking is necessary, you can expect your brakes to wear out sooner.
Brake pad replacement for a Fiat 500 has an average cost between $150 and $250 per axle. This cost includes both parts and labor associated with the replacement. To make the brake pads last longer on your Fiat 500, you should avoid hard stops and any sort of sporty driving style.
How Long Do The Tires Last?
The stock tires on the Fiat 500 are reported to last up to 20,000 miles or 2 years. That being said, depending on how often you drive, they can begin to wear much sooner. To get the most out of the stock Fiat 500 tires, you should rotate them at least every 5000 miles and avoid driving on rough roads or off-roads.
How Long Do The Transmissions Last?
Fiat 500 transmissions generally last between 200,000 to 250,000 miles, or close to 15 years. The transmission will generally span the entire lifetime of the vehicle. To ensure that your transmission reaches the maximum lifespan, you should let your engine idle for up to a minute after starting your vehicle to allow the oil to properly disperse through the engine.
How Long Do The Batteries Last?
The stock battery in the Fiat 500 typically lasts around three to five years, depending on your driving habits and battery type. To ensure that your Fiat 500 battery lasts as long as possible, you should ensure that the battery is installed properly and securely.
You should also avoid short trips, as they could prevent your battery from charging fully during the trip, causing excess strain on the battery. Proper storage of your vehicle can also help keep your battery working properly for longer. This means storing your Fiat 500 indoors and out of direct exposure to the elements.
Clearing any corrosion buildup will also help prolong the lifespan of your Fiat 500 battery. You can clean corrosion off the battery with a toothbrush dipped in baking soda and water.
How Long Do The Spark Plugs Last?
Fiat 500 sparkplugs will need to be replaced at least every 32,000 miles. Failing to do so can result in serious issues for your vehicle. Signs that your spark plugs are defective include a noticeable reduction in fuel efficiency, acceleration issues, hard starts, and engine misfires.
Do Fiat 500s Rust Easily?
Fiat 500 have a strong resistance to rust due to the quality and material of the components used to produce them. The paint and underbody of the car are also resistant to rust due to the materials. There have been no reports of rust issues with any models of Fiat 500s.
It will be helpful to be aware of any recent recalls that Fiat 500 may have put into place. These recalls will be covered in the section below.
Do Fiat 500s Have Any Recent Recalls?
Fiat 500 has issued a total of 20 recalls since it was first put into production in 2012. You will need to document your Fiat 500’s VIN number and check their website or the NHTSA’s recall database for more information.
If your Fiat 500 has been subject to a recall, you can have the manufacturing errors repaired at no additional cost to you. In some instances, recalls are put in place due to safety concerns. Because of this, it is important to research any recalls for your vehicle carefully and consider having the issue repaired.
Listed below are the major recalls for every model of Fiat 500 over the last several years.
- 2019: 1
- 2018: 1
- 2017: 1
- 2016: 3
- 2015: 3
- 2014: 3
- 2013: 4
- 2012: 4
You may be wondering if a Fiat 500 is worth buying used. This is a common question that I get and will be elaborated on in the next section.
Are Fiat 500s Worth Buying Used?
A used Fiat 500 can be a sound investment that can last you several years after purchase. Because of the reliability and lack of major issues, the Fiat 500 can be confidently purchased and used without having any real issues.
If you do choose to purchase a used Fiat 500, it is important that you have all of the proper pre-purchase inspections done to ensure the vehicle is in proper condition. Afterward, you will be tasked with insuring your vehicle.
Best Way To Find Insurance For Your Fiat 500?
You should contact an insurance company of your choice that offers prices close to $1100 per year to insure your Fiat 500. This averages out to around $95 a month. This is an average insurance cost for a vehicle but may vary depending on your driving history, age, and other factors.
Once you have insured your Fiat 500, it is time to explore some ways to ensure that you get the maximum lifespan out of your vehicle.
Fiat 500 Maintenance Tips To Make It Last Longer
The following tips can help you get the most out of your Fiat 500’s lifespan.
- Practice safe driving habits
- Keep a maintenance routine
- Only use quality replacement parts and fluids
- Stay on top of repairs and address them as soon as possible
- Keep your Fiat 500 clean
- Frequently check the fluid levels in your Fiat 500
- Store your Fiat 500 in a garage out of direct sunlight
- Read your owner’s manual
Following these tips will help prolong the life of your Fiat 500 and avoid some of the more frequent issues. So what do owners say about their Fiat 500? This will be covered in the next section.
What Do Owners Say About The Fiat 500?
Owners of the Fiat 500 generally report that they are satisfied with their vehicle. They report no serious issues and are happy with the low maintenance cost and affordability of the vehicle. Since the Fiat 500 models have not had any serious issues since 2012, they are regarded as extremely reliable vehicles.
A Fiat 500 can be a great and reliable vehicle as long as you maintain it properly. You can expect a properly maintained Fiat 500 to last around 200,000 up to 250,000 miles or 13 to 17 years.
It is important to be aware of the different issues that are common with Fiat 500s and understand how they can affect the reliability of the vehicle. As long as you are aware of these issues, you can proactively avoid them and ensure the longest lifespan out of your Fiat 500.