Fiat 500: 11,000 vehicles recalled in the US due to tire pressure monitoring software issue

Francesco Armenio
The pressure monitoring values for thousands of Fiat 500s were erroneously programmed during assembly.
Fiat 500

For many, it may not seem like a serious problem and not many drivers regularly check their tire pressure themselves. The recall for a considerable number of Fiat vehicles, particularly the 500 model, comes due to the lack of certain legal standards on such a detail. The Fiat 500s in question do not meet the federal safety standards established in the United States for motor vehicles. Specifically, this refers to FMVSS 138, which relates to tire pressure monitoring systems.

More than 11,000 Fiat 500s recalled in the United States for a tire pressure software issue

Fiat 500

According to documents submitted to NHTSA by FCA US LLC, the Auburn Hills-based manufacturer identified this issue as early as February 2019. At that time, the Toluca assembly plant in Mexico was informed that the reference values for pressure monitoring on Fiat 500s had been erroneously programmed during assembly.

The issue was initially identified on an engineering test vehicle. Subsequent investigations revealed a pressure of 38 psi indicated on the tire label, compared to a monitoring system activation range between 27 and 28 psi. This value, however, is slightly below the 25% requirement (which is 28.5 psi, according to U.S. law) defined by FMVSS 138, but still above the “minimum activation pressure” of 20 psi established by the safety standard.

The company’s engineering department examined the production records of Fiat 500s in February 2019. In April 2019, safety experts decided to proceed with a recall. However, by May 2019, FCA had already filed a petition with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for an exemption from the notification and remedy requirements.

Fiat 500

Due to bureaucratic reasons and various delays, the petition’s denial was recorded in the Federal Register more than five years later. Therefore, even after some time, the company is obligated to repair all potentially affected Fiat 500 units, obviously at no cost to customers. The software update resolves the issue.

Dealers and customers will be notified starting August 14, 2024. Any owner who has incurred expenses to resolve an issue that later becomes subject to a recall is entitled to reimbursement. The recall affects 11,650 vehicles, all Fiat 500s sold in the United States.