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Fluid level checks Fiat 500 2004 - 2012 Petrol 1.2

OnDemand step-by-step maintenance & repair BETA

Fiat 500 2004 - 2012  | 1.2 Fluid level checks

  • time 5 to 30 minutes
  • difficulty 1
500 diesel engine A Engine oil level dipstick B Engine oil filler cap C Coolant expansion tank D Brake and clutch fluid reservoir E Screen washer fluid reservoir F Battery

Engine oil level

1 • Make sure that your car is on level ground
2 • Check the oil level before the car is driven, or at least 5 minutes after the engine has been switched off
HINT: If the oil is checked immediately after driving the vehicle, some of the oil will remain in the upper engine components, resulting in an inaccurate reading on the dipstick

The correct oil

3 • Modern engines place great demands on their oil. It is very important that the correct oil for your car is used
Engine oil grade:
  Petrol engines Multigrade engine oil, fully-synthetic, viscosity SAE 5W/40 or 10W/40 to ACEA A3 and API SL or better Fiat classification 9.5535-S2
  Diesel engines Multigrade engine oil, fully-synthetic, viscosity SAE 5W/30 or 5W/40 to ACEA B4 and API CF or better* Fiat classification 9.5535-S1

Car care

4 • If you have to add oil frequently, you should check whether you have any oil leaks. Place some clean paper under the car overnight, and check for stains in the morning. If there are no leaks, the engine may be burning oil, or the oil may only be leaking when the engine is running .
5 • Always maintain the level between the upper and lower dipstick marks (see photo 3). If the level is too low severe engine damage may occur. Oil seal failure may result if the engine is overfilled by adding too much oil
The dipstick is located on the right-hand side of the engine (see Underbonnet check points for exact location). Withdraw the dipstick. Using a clean rag or paper towel, remove all oil from the dipstick
Insert the clean dipstick into the tube as far as it will go, then withdraw it again. Note the oil level on the end of the dipstick, which should be between the MAX and MIN marks. If the oil level is only just above, or below, the MIN mark, topping-up is required
Oil is added through the filler cap. Unscrew the cap…
…and top‑up the level; a funnel may be useful in reducing spillage. Add the oil slowly, checking the level on the dipstick often, and allowing time for the oil to fall to the sump. Add oil until the level is just up to the MAX mark on the dipstick – don’t overfill (see Car care) If you need to renew the oil and filter, click below
- Close + Open

Engine oil and filter change

1 Frequent oil and filter changes are the most important preventative maintenance which can be undertaken by the DIY owner. As engine oil ages, it becomes diluted and contaminated, which leads to premature engine wear
2 Before starting this procedure, gather all the necessary tools and materials. Also make sure that you have plenty of clean rags and newspapers handy to mop-up any spills. Ideally, the engine oil should be warm, as it will drain better, and any impurities suspended in the oil will be removed with it. Take care, however, not to touch the exhaust or any other hot parts of the engine when working under the vehicle. To avoid any possibility of scalding, and to protect yourself from possible skin irritants and other harmful contaminants in used engine oils, it is advisable to wear gloves when carrying out this work. Access to the underside of the vehicle will be greatly improved if it can be raised on a lift, driven onto ramps, or jacked up and supported on axle stands. Whichever method is chosen, make sure that the vehicle remains level, or if it is at an angle, that the drain plug is at the lowest point
3 Slacken the drain plug about half a turn using a 12mm Allen key/bit (see illustration). Position the draining container under the drain plug, then remove the plug completely (see Haynes Hint)
Engine oil drain plug location
HINT: Keep the drain plug pressed into the sump while unscrewing it by hand the last couple of turns. As the plug releases, move it away sharply so that the stream of oil issuing from the sump runs into the container, not up your sleeve
4 Allow some time for the old oil to drain, noting that it may be necessary to reposition the container as the oil flow slows to a trickle
5 After all the oil has drained, wipe off the drain plug with a clean rag, then clean the area around the drain plug opening and refit the plug. Tighten the plug to 20 Nm (15 Ibf ft)
6 Move the container into position under the oil filter, which is located on the front right-hand side of the engine
7 Using an oil filter removal tool if necessary, slacken the filter initially, then unscrew it by hand the rest of the way (see illustration). Empty the oil in the old filter into the container
Use an oil filter removal tool to initially slacken the oil filter
8 Use a clean rag to remove all oil, dirt and sludge from the filter sealing area on the engine. Check the old filter to make sure that the rubber sealing ring has not stuck to the engine. If it has, carefully remove it
9 Apply a light coating of clean engine oil to the sealing ring on the new filter, then screw it into position on the engine (see illustration). Tighten the filter firmly by hand only – do not use any tools
10 Remove the old oil and all tools from under the car then lower it to the ground (if applicable)
11 Withdraw the dipstick, and remove the oil filler cap from the cylinder head cover. Fill the engine, using the correct grade and type of oil. An oil can spout or funnel may help to reduce spillage. Pour in half the specified quantity of oil first, then wait a few minutes for the oil to run to the sump. Continue adding oil a small quantity at a time until the level is up to the MAX mark on the dipstick. Refit the filler cap
Engine oil quantity:
  1.1 litre engines 3.5 litres
  1.2 litre engines 2.8 litres
Engine oil grade Multigrade engine oil, fully-synthetic, viscosity SAE 5W/40 or 10W/40 to ACEA A3 and API SL or better Fiat classification 9.5535-S2
12 Start the engine and run it for a few minutes; check for leaks around the oil filter seal and the sump drain plug. Note that there may be a delay of a few seconds before the oil pressure warning light goes out when the engine is first started, as the oil circulates through the engine oil galleries and the new oil filter before the pressure builds-up
13 Switch off the engine, and wait a few minutes for the oil to settle in the sump once more. With the new oil circulated and the filter completely full, recheck the level on the dipstick, and add more oil as necessary
14 Dispose of the used engine oil and filter safely. Do not discard the old filter with domestic household waste. The facility for waste oil disposal provided by many local council refuse tips generally has a filter receptacle alongside
- Close + Open

Engine oil and filter change

1 Frequent oil and filter changes are the most important preventative maintenance which can be undertaken by the DIY owner. As engine oil ages, it becomes diluted and contaminated, which leads to premature engine wear
2 Before starting this procedure, gather all the necessary tools and materials. Also make sure that you have plenty of clean rags and newspapers handy to mop-up any spills. Ideally, the engine oil should be warm, as it will drain better, and any impurities suspended in the oil will be removed with it. Take care, however, not to touch the exhaust or any other hot parts of the engine when working under the vehicle. To avoid any possibility of scalding, and to protect yourself from possible skin irritants and other harmful contaminants in used engine oils, it is advisable to wear gloves when carrying out this work. Access to the underside of the vehicle will be greatly improved if it can be raised on a lift, driven onto ramps, or jacked up and supported on axle stands. Whichever method is chosen, make sure that the vehicle remains level, or if it is at an angle, that the drain plug is at the lowest point
3 Slacken the drain plug about half a turn using a 12mm Allen key/bit (see illustration). Position the draining container under the drain plug, then remove the plug completely (see Haynes Hint)
Engine oil drain plug location
HINT: Keep the drain plug pressed into the sump while unscrewing it by hand the last couple of turns. As the plug releases, move it away sharply so that the stream of oil issuing from the sump runs into the container, not up your sleeve
4 Allow some time for the old oil to drain, noting that it may be necessary to reposition the container as the oil flow slows to a trickle
5 After all the oil has drained, wipe off the drain plug with a clean rag, then clean the area around the drain plug opening and refit the plug. Tighten the plug to 20 Nm (15 Ibf ft)
6 Move the container into position under the oil filter, which is located on the front right-hand side of the engine
7 Using an oil filter removal tool if necessary, slacken the filter initially, then unscrew it by hand the rest of the way (see illustration). Empty the oil in the old filter into the container
Use an oil filter removal tool to initially slacken the oil filter
8 Use a clean rag to remove all oil, dirt and sludge from the filter sealing area on the engine. Check the old filter to make sure that the rubber sealing ring has not stuck to the engine. If it has, carefully remove it
9 Apply a light coating of clean engine oil to the sealing ring on the new filter, then screw it into position on the engine (see illustration). Tighten the filter firmly by hand only – do not use any tools
10 Remove the old oil and all tools from under the car then lower it to the ground (if applicable)
11 Withdraw the dipstick, and remove the oil filler cap from the cylinder head cover. Fill the engine, using the correct grade and type of oil. An oil can spout or funnel may help to reduce spillage. Pour in half the specified quantity of oil first, then wait a few minutes for the oil to run to the sump. Continue adding oil a small quantity at a time until the level is up to the MAX mark on the dipstick. Refit the filler cap
Engine oil quantity:
  1.1 litre engines 3.5 litres
  1.2 litre engines 2.8 litres
Engine oil grade Multigrade engine oil, fully-synthetic, viscosity SAE 5W/40 or 10W/40 to ACEA A3 and API SL or better Fiat classification 9.5535-S2
12 Start the engine and run it for a few minutes; check for leaks around the oil filter seal and the sump drain plug. Note that there may be a delay of a few seconds before the oil pressure warning light goes out when the engine is first started, as the oil circulates through the engine oil galleries and the new oil filter before the pressure builds-up
13 Switch off the engine, and wait a few minutes for the oil to settle in the sump once more. With the new oil circulated and the filter completely full, recheck the level on the dipstick, and add more oil as necessary
14 Dispose of the used engine oil and filter safely. Do not discard the old filter with domestic household waste. The facility for waste oil disposal provided by many local council refuse tips generally has a filter receptacle alongside

Coolant level

Warning: DO NOT attempt to remove the expansion tank pressure cap when the engine is hot, as there is a very great risk of scalding. Do not leave open containers of coolant about, as it is poisonous

Car care

6 • With a sealed-type cooling system, adding coolant on a regular basis should not be necessary. If frequent topping-up is required, it is likely there is a leak. Check the radiator, all hoses and joint faces for signs of staining or wetness, and rectify as necessary
7 • It is important that antifreeze is used in the cooling system all year round, not just during the winter months. Don’t top-up with water alone, as the antifreeze will become too diluted
The coolant level varies with the temperature of the engine, and is visible through the expansion tank. When the engine is cold, the coolant level should be between the MAX and MIN marks on the side of the reservoir. When the engine is hot, the level may rise slightly above the MAX mark
If topping-up is necessary, wait until the engine is cold. Slowly unscrew the expansion tank cap, to release any pressure present in the cooling system, and remove it
Add a mixture of water and antifreeze to the expansion tank until the coolant level is halfway between the level marks. Use only the specified antifreeze – if using Fiat antifreeze, make sure it is the same type and colour as that already in the system. Refit the cap and tighten it securely Should you need to replace the coolant, click below
- Close + Open

Coolant replacement

Warning: Wait until the engine is cold before starting this procedure. Do not allow antifreeze to come in contact with your skin, or with the painted surfaces of the vehicle. Rinse off spills immediately with plenty of water. Never leave antifreeze lying around in an open container, or in a puddle in the driveway or on the garage floor. Children and pets are attracted by its sweet smell, but antifreeze can be fatal if ingested.

Cooling system draining

1 With the engine completely cold, cover the expansion tank cap with a wad of rag, and slowly turn the cap anti-clockwise to relieve the pressure in the cooling system (a hissing sound will normally be heard). Wait until any pressure remaining in the system is released, then continue to turn the cap until it can be removed.

Panda models

2 Position a suitable container beneath the radiator bottom hose connection, then release the retaining clip and ease the hose from the radiator stub (see illustration) . If the hose joint has not been disturbed for some time, it will be necessary to gently manipulate the hose to break the joint. Do not use excessive force, or the radiator stub could be damaged. Allow the coolant to drain into the container.
Squeeze together the release clip each side (arrowed) and disconnect the radiator lower hose – Panda models

500 models

3 A radiator drain plug is located at the lower left-hand end of the radiator. Position a suitable container beneath, then undo the drain plug and allow the coolant to escape (see illustration) .
Slacken the radiator drain plug (arrowed) – 500 models

All models

4 The cooling system bleed screws should be opened to aid the draining process and help prevent airlocks. These are located on the top right-hand edge of the radiator, and on the heater inlet hose (see illustrations) . If the coolant has been drained for a reason other than renewal, then provided it is clean and less than two years old, it can be re-used, though this is not recommended.
Radiator bleed screw (arrowed – viewed from beneath)
The heater hose bleed screw (arrowed) is located at the left-hand end of the cylinder head . . .
. . . or at the engine compartment bulkhead (arrowed)
5 Once all the coolant has drained, reconnect the hose to the radiator and secure it in position with the retaining clip, or tighten the drain plug as applicable.

Radiator flushing

6 Disconnect the top and bottom hoses and any other relevant hoses from the radiator.
7 Insert a garden hose into the radiator top inlet. Direct a flow of clean water through the radiator, and continue flushing until clean water emerges from the radiator bottom outlet.
8 If after a reasonable period, the water still does not run clear, the radiator can be flushed with a good proprietary cleaning agent. It is important that their manufacturer’s instructions are followed carefully. If the contamination is particularly bad, insert the hose in the radiator bottom outlet, and reverse-flush the radiator.

Cooling system filling

9 Before attempting to fill the cooling system, make sure that all hoses and clips are in good condition, and that the clips are tight. Note that an antifreeze mixture must be used all year round, to prevent corrosion of the engine components (see below).
10 Remove the expansion tank filler cap, and fill the system by slowly pouring the coolant into the expansion tank to prevent airlocks from forming. Ensure that all bleed screws are open.
Coolant quantity 4.7 litres
Antifreeze type Paraflu UP
11 If the coolant is being renewed, begin by pouring in a couple of litres of water, followed by the correct quantity of antifreeze, then top-up with more water. Periodically squeeze the radiator top and bottom hoses to help expel any trapped air in the system.
12 Continue adding coolant until it is seen to emerge from the bleed screws. Close each bleed screw in turn as the coolant emerges.
13 Top-up the coolant level to the MAX mark and refit the expansion tank cap. Ensure that all bleed screws are closed.
14 Start the engine and run it at idling speed for two to three minutes. Allow the engine to continue running until the electric cooling fan operates, periodically increasing the engine speed gradually to 2000 to 3000 rpm.
15 Stop the engine and allow it to cool down completely.
16 Check for leaks, particularly around disturbed components. Check the coolant level in the expansion tank, and top-up if necessary. Note that the system must be cold before an accurate level is indicated in the expansion tank.

Antifreeze mixture

17 The antifreeze should always be renewed at the specified intervals. This is necessary not only to maintain the antifreeze properties, but also to prevent corrosion which would otherwise occur as the corrosion inhibitors become progressively less effective.
18 Always use a monoethylene-glycol based antifreeze of the specified type.
19 Before adding antifreeze, the cooling system should be completely drained, preferably flushed, and all hoses checked for condition and security.
20 After filling with antifreeze, a label should be attached to the expansion tank, stating the type and concentration of antifreeze used, and the date installed. Any subsequent topping-up should be made with the same type and concentration of antifreeze.
Caution: Do not use engine antifreeze in the windscreen/tailgate washer system, as it will cause damage to the vehicle paintwork. A screenwash additive should be added to the washer system in the quantities stated on the bottle.
- Close + Open

Coolant replacement

Warning: Wait until the engine is cold before starting this procedure. Do not allow antifreeze to come in contact with your skin, or with the painted surfaces of the vehicle. Rinse off spills immediately with plenty of water. Never leave antifreeze lying around in an open container, or in a puddle in the driveway or on the garage floor. Children and pets are attracted by its sweet smell, but antifreeze can be fatal if ingested.

Cooling system draining

1 With the engine completely cold, cover the expansion tank cap with a wad of rag, and slowly turn the cap anti-clockwise to relieve the pressure in the cooling system (a hissing sound will normally be heard). Wait until any pressure remaining in the system is released, then continue to turn the cap until it can be removed.

Panda models

2 Position a suitable container beneath the radiator bottom hose connection, then release the retaining clip and ease the hose from the radiator stub (see illustration) . If the hose joint has not been disturbed for some time, it will be necessary to gently manipulate the hose to break the joint. Do not use excessive force, or the radiator stub could be damaged. Allow the coolant to drain into the container.
Squeeze together the release clip each side (arrowed) and disconnect the radiator lower hose – Panda models

500 models

3 A radiator drain plug is located at the lower left-hand end of the radiator. Position a suitable container beneath, then undo the drain plug and allow the coolant to escape (see illustration) .
Slacken the radiator drain plug (arrowed) – 500 models

All models

4 The cooling system bleed screws should be opened to aid the draining process and help prevent airlocks. These are located on the top right-hand edge of the radiator, and on the heater inlet hose (see illustrations) . If the coolant has been drained for a reason other than renewal, then provided it is clean and less than two years old, it can be re-used, though this is not recommended.
Radiator bleed screw (arrowed – viewed from beneath)
The heater hose bleed screw (arrowed) is located at the left-hand end of the cylinder head . . .
. . . or at the engine compartment bulkhead (arrowed)
5 Once all the coolant has drained, reconnect the hose to the radiator and secure it in position with the retaining clip, or tighten the drain plug as applicable.

Radiator flushing

6 Disconnect the top and bottom hoses and any other relevant hoses from the radiator.
7 Insert a garden hose into the radiator top inlet. Direct a flow of clean water through the radiator, and continue flushing until clean water emerges from the radiator bottom outlet.
8 If after a reasonable period, the water still does not run clear, the radiator can be flushed with a good proprietary cleaning agent. It is important that their manufacturer’s instructions are followed carefully. If the contamination is particularly bad, insert the hose in the radiator bottom outlet, and reverse-flush the radiator.

Cooling system filling

9 Before attempting to fill the cooling system, make sure that all hoses and clips are in good condition, and that the clips are tight. Note that an antifreeze mixture must be used all year round, to prevent corrosion of the engine components (see below).
10 Remove the expansion tank filler cap, and fill the system by slowly pouring the coolant into the expansion tank to prevent airlocks from forming. Ensure that all bleed screws are open.
Coolant quantity 4.7 litres
Antifreeze type Paraflu UP
11 If the coolant is being renewed, begin by pouring in a couple of litres of water, followed by the correct quantity of antifreeze, then top-up with more water. Periodically squeeze the radiator top and bottom hoses to help expel any trapped air in the system.
12 Continue adding coolant until it is seen to emerge from the bleed screws. Close each bleed screw in turn as the coolant emerges.
13 Top-up the coolant level to the MAX mark and refit the expansion tank cap. Ensure that all bleed screws are closed.
14 Start the engine and run it at idling speed for two to three minutes. Allow the engine to continue running until the electric cooling fan operates, periodically increasing the engine speed gradually to 2000 to 3000 rpm.
15 Stop the engine and allow it to cool down completely.
16 Check for leaks, particularly around disturbed components. Check the coolant level in the expansion tank, and top-up if necessary. Note that the system must be cold before an accurate level is indicated in the expansion tank.

Antifreeze mixture

17 The antifreeze should always be renewed at the specified intervals. This is necessary not only to maintain the antifreeze properties, but also to prevent corrosion which would otherwise occur as the corrosion inhibitors become progressively less effective.
18 Always use a monoethylene-glycol based antifreeze of the specified type.
19 Before adding antifreeze, the cooling system should be completely drained, preferably flushed, and all hoses checked for condition and security.
20 After filling with antifreeze, a label should be attached to the expansion tank, stating the type and concentration of antifreeze used, and the date installed. Any subsequent topping-up should be made with the same type and concentration of antifreeze.
Caution: Do not use engine antifreeze in the windscreen/tailgate washer system, as it will cause damage to the vehicle paintwork. A screenwash additive should be added to the washer system in the quantities stated on the bottle.
Antifreeze type Paraflu UP

Brake and clutch fluid level

8 All models have a hydraulically operated clutch that on some models uses the same fluid as the braking system. On others the fluid is stored in a separate reservoir
Warning: Brake fluid can harm your eyes and damage painted surfaces, so use extreme caution when handling and pouring it
Warning: Do not use fluid that has been standing open for some time, as it absorbs moisture from the air, which can cause a dangerous loss of braking effectiveness

Safety first!

9 • If the reservoir requires repeated topping-up this is an indication of a fluid leak somewhere in the system, which should be investigated immediately
10 • If a leak is suspected, the car should not be driven until the braking system has been checked. Never take any risks where brakes are concerned
The brake fluid reservoir is located on the left-hand side of the engine compartment
On models with a separate clutch fluid reservoir, it’s located on the right, or left-hand side of the engine compartment
The MAX and MIN marks are indicated on the side of the reservoir. The fluid level must be kept between the marks at all times. Clutch fluid reservoir…
…and brake fluid reservoir.
If topping-up is necessary, first wipe clean the area around the filler cap to prevent dirt entering the hydraulic system. Unscrew the reservoir cap and carefully lift it out of position. Inspect the reservoir; if the fluid is dirty, the hydraulic system should be drained and refilled
Carefully add fluid, taking care not to spill it onto the surrounding components. Use only DOT 4 fluid; mixing different types can cause damage to the system. After topping-up to the correct level, securely refit the cap and wipe off any spilt fluid

Washer fluid level

11 • The windscreen washer reservoir also supplies the tailgate washer jet, where applicable. On models so equipped, the same reservoir also serves the headlight washers
12 • Screenwash additives not only keep the windscreen clean during foul weather, they also prevent the washer system freezing in cold weather – which is when you are likely to need it most. Don’t top-up using plain water as the screenwash will become too diluted, and will freeze during cold weather
Caution: On no account use coolant antifreeze in the washer system – this could discolour or damage paintwork
The washer fluid reservoir filler neck is located on the right-hand side of the engine compartment. The washer level cannot easily be seen. Remove the filler cap, and look down the filler neck – if fluid is not visible, topping-up may be required
When topping-up the reservoir, add a screenwash additive in the quantities recommended on the additive bottle It could also be time to replace the wiper blades. For details, click below
- Close + Open

Wiper blade replacement

1 • Only fit good-quality blades.
2 • When removing an old wiper blade, note how it is fitted. Fitting new blades can be a tricky exercise, and noting how the old blade came off can save time.
3 • While the wiper blade is removed, take care not to knock the wiper arm from its locked position, or it could strike the glass.
4 • Offer the new blade into position the same way round as the old one. Ensure that it clicks home securely, otherwise it may come off in use, damaging the glass.
Note: Fitting details for wiper blades vary according to model, and according to whether genuine Fiat wiper blades have been fitted. Use the procedures and illustrations shown as a guide for your car.
HINT: If smearing is still a problem despite fitting new wiper blades, try cleaning the wi ndsc reen wit h neat screen-wash additive or methylated spirit.
Check the condition of the wiper blades; if they are cracked or show any signs of deterioration, or if the glass swept area is smeared, renew them. Wiper blades should be renewed annually, regardless of their apparent condition.
To remove a windscreen wiper blade on Panda models, pull the arm fully away from the glass until it locks. Swivel the blade through 90°, press the locking tab with your fingers and slide the blade out of the arm.
To remove a windscreen wiper blade on 500 models, pull the arm fully away from the glass until it locks. Press the release button with your fingers and slide the blade out of the arm’s hooked end.
Don’t forget to check the tailgate wiper blade as well (where applicable). Remove the blade by prising apart the blade casing.
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