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Fiat 500 hatchbacks recalled for issue that could cause a rollaway

At just over 70,000 vehicles, the recently announced recall of Fiat 500 cars is small by recent standards, but nevertheless, if you’re one of the owners, it’s a recall you’ll want to know about.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) said it needs to fix an issue with 72,761 Fiat 500 cars — 51,788 of them registered in the U.S. — that could cause the vehicle to roll away while parked. The affected hatchbacks are automatics from the 2012 and 2013 model years.

The carmaker said it has discovered an issue with the transmission cable bushing that could cause it to fail, meaning that gear selection may not function in the proper manner. In a worst-case scenario, the vehicle could fail to go into Park when selected by the driver, putting the vehicle at risk of rolling away if parked on an incline — even a very slight one.

“Feedback from the field prompted an FCA investigation that discovered certain bushings may, subject to heat and humidity exposure, degrade over time,” the company said in a release. “Should this occur, a vehicle’s shift cable may separate from its transmission linkage, disrupting shifter function.”

It added that if the condition occurs, “customers may notice looser shifter movement,” but added that “gear selection as indicated in the instrument cluster will always be correct.”

Three “minor accidents” that were “potentially related” to the issue have been reported to FCA, but it said it was so far unaware of any injuries related to the problem.

Affected Fiat 500 owners will be notified accordingly and the fix will be provided free of charge. FCA’s number for the recall is VB4.

If you’d rather find out for yourself whether your car is affected rather than wait for news from FCA, then the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a useful online service where you can quickly find out if your vehicle is currently subject to a recall. All you need to do is enter your car’s 17-digit VIN (vehicle identification number) into the inquiry box. You’ll find the VIN on the lower left of your car’s windshield, or on your vehicle’s registration card.

Anyone with any questions or concerns about the issue are invited to call FCA at 1-800-853-1403.

Outside of the U.S., 10,627 Fiat 500 hatchbacks are being recalled in Canada, 3,520 in Mexico, and 6,826 elsewhere.

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Trevor Mogg
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