Going under the hood doesn’t necessarily mean hundreds of dollars down the drain and hours lost navigating hoses and gears. Instead, it can mean quite the opposite.
With regular maintenance, a car built in recent years can last up to 250,000 miles. Why? Because they’re being built better.
But you’ll never reach that mileage without giving your ride the attention it deserves.
Do you drive a Fiat? Then check out our 5 easy care tips that will keep you off the side of the road.
A Note About Fiat
Fiat was once infamous across the US as a brand that was unreliable, but it has made great strides in the past decade to regain its prestigious reputation. As early as 2005, the company began implementing new designs, engineering, and marketing strategies to overcome their damaged name.
They began focusing on how customer desires differed according to location, turning their company around by focusing on the one thing needed for its success: consumers. It led to the retro 500 becoming a best-seller.
The rich Italian designs and affordable prices have further spurred renewed faith in the brand.
5 Easy Care Tips
Like any other car, Fiats need their owner’s love and attention to continue chugging happily along. Here are five easy tips that will keep your Fiat cruising.
1. Oil Changes
An oil change is a necessity for any car. The oil acts as a lubricant, stopping any grinding or damage to the many parts of your Fiat.
Check your make and model’s required oil type before undergoing any maintenance and be sure to replace any o-rings and washers, but we promise this is an easy do-it-yourself.
First, jack up your car. Wear gloves and eye safety equipment to avoid getting oil anywhere you wouldn’t want it.
Next, locate the oil drain plug. You will need a socket to remove the drain plug. Required sizes vary, but a Fiat 500 requires the typical 13-millimeter socket.
Before loosening the drain plug, make sure you have a container to catch the oil that will come out. Let the oil drain, then wipe the area with a towel. Locate the oil filter housing and twist it counterclockwise to remove it.
Replace it with a new oil filter. Replace the housing.
You’re almost done! Pop the hood and insert a funnel into the oil cap. Pour the max quart amount for your model (don’t overfill it). Wipe everything off, replace the cap and let your car run for two minutes.
Check your oil using your car’s dipstick to make sure it has enough fluid, and you’re good to go!
2. Tire Rotations
Tire rotations ensure each tire wears at the same pace, making them last longer and keeping handling at peak performance. Since a single tire can cost over $100, this will save you lots of money further down the road.
This will be easier than eating free lobster for dinner. You will be switching the front passenger side tire to the back driver’s side. The front driver’s side tire will swap with the back passenger’s one.
Double check your car’s manual to make sure this is the correct tire pattern, as they sometimes differ.
Loosen the lug nuts with a tire iron. Jack up the car enough that the wheel is just off the ground, then remove the rest of the lug nuts. Remove the wheel.
Now, put your jack stand in place to keep the car lifted and remove the jack. You may have to lift the car a tad higher.
Do the same thing to the tire that will be swapped.
Lift the proper tire into place over its new position, matching the bolts to the holes. Replace the lug nuts and turn them slightly with your fingers. Tighten them with the tire iron.
Finally, tighten the lug nuts in a star pattern to the proper torque. Repeat with the remaining tires.
3. Air Filter
Air filters keep debris from entering your engine, so it’s also a regular and easy maintenance necessity.
Lift the hood of your car and locate the air filter.
Remove the air filter’s cover. The Fiat 500 will require an 8-millimeter ratchet for this. Take out the air filter and inspect it for accrued dirt; if you can’t see through it when it’s held to light or it appears black or brown, it’s time to replace it.
Swap in yours and screw everything back in. It’s as simple as 1-2-3.
4. Check Brake Pads
Because brake pads can be a bit tricky to replace, we recommend simply checking their thickness if you notice that nasty screeching or any pressure changes while stopping.
The great thing about this procedure is that it’s minimally invasive maintenance; you won’t have to take anything apart. Even better? You can get a decently accurate reading with a straw.
Insert a straw through the tire’s spokes until you touch the brake disc. Mark the end of the brake pad on the straw.
Cut off the section you measured and remove an additional 5 millimeters to account for the backing plate. Whatever is left is close to the width of your brake pad.
Ideally, your pads should be replaced at 4 millimeters.
Keep in mind this can only be done with an open-wheel setup, but many Fiats (especially used ones) do not have covers. If your wheels are covered, you will have to remove them.
5. Check Suspension
Again, we recommend only checking the suspension in your Fiat because replacing suspension systems can be tedious work. However, this small maintenance check can save you from one of the most complained about problems with Fiat cars.
Open your hood and locate the suspension strut mounts and shock towers. Have someone bounce the car at its fender like it is going over a bump. Inspect the parts for damage.
Next, ensure the vehicle is on a level surface. Measure the coil springs, struts or torsion bars to get an idea of ride height. Do this on both sides.
Compare your findings to the ride height in the user’s manual. If one side is higher than the other, that also means you will need to replace parts.
If you still suspect suspension issues, take it to a mechanic for closer inspection.
Your Fiat is now on its way to a much longer, healthier life. But you’ll still need some help along the way, even with these easy care tips.
Check out our service repair manuals to get the latest information on your specific Fiat. Now, your only job is to drive towards success.