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6 must-know maintenance tips for the Fiat 500 and Fiat Panda (2004-2012)

6 must-know maintenance tips for the Fiat 500 and Fiat Panda (2004-2012)

The Fiat Panda and the later Fiat 500 are the cars that arguably saved Fiat. First there was the Panda, a car that was basic but brilliantly functional and at the same time, utterly charming.

And then, using a similar platform, there was the 500. A reimagining of the car that put Fiat on the map back in the 1950s. Launched in 2007, by 2013 it had sold over a million units, and the numbers are still rising. The same can be said for the Panda. 

Both are fun, cheap and cheerful cars. The Panda is that bit more practical, while the 500 satisfies the needs of the style conscious. Both, however, are a doddle to work on at home.

We’ve got you covered with the relevant guides, but because we love to give, here are some insider tips we discovered while putting those guides together. 

01 Coolant

Are you changing the coolant? If so, you’ll need to utilise the bleed screw in order to let the old coolant out. The thing is, you can’t see it from the top of the car. It’s on the end of the radiator, in the top corner. But it’ll be hidden by the bodywork. 

02 Fuel filter

If you have a pre-Euro 5 diesel, changing the fuel filter is a tricky job. But be warned, the retaining collar is extremely weak, so don’t try and improvise a tool to remove it. Instead invest in a proper filter removal tool for peace of mind. 

03 Fuel system

If you’re working on the fuel system on a petrol model, you’ll need to take the pressure out of the system. Handily, Fiat have you covered with this. There is a Schrader valve located on the right-hand end of the fuel rail. 

04 Fuel sender

The fuel sender can play up on both the Panda and the 500. Having had both apart, we can tell you that if you test it with an ohmmeter, at full the reading should be 34 ohms and empty it should be 298 ohms 

05 Brakes

Changing the brakes? If you start on the right-hand side, you'll be confused, as there is no wear sensor present. Don’t worry, your car hasn’t been previously bodged. Fiat only fitted them to the left-hand inner brake pad. 

06 Wheel bearings

The front wheel bearings have a magnetic pulse wheel embedded (for the ABS wheel speed sensor) in one of the oil seals. New bearings are supplied with a protective cap over the seal with the pulse wheel. Fit the bearing with this seal against the sensor to avoid getting warning lights on the dash.