Everyone loves the cute and tiny design of the Fiat 500. It fact, it is so strangely hypnotic that even Jeremy Clarkson had to give in: it’s charming, it’s full of potential – especially if you’re a fan of submenus in cars – and more importantly, it remains a powerful city car, despite its small size. You may not be a lover of the old Top Gear team, but they got the Fiat 500 right. It is an attractive car, so much in fact, that we challenge you to drive anywhere without seeing one. Since 2008, the Fiat 500 Hatchback has declined its performance up to 105bhp for the 0.9 Petrol version, and there’s no denying it: there is a 500 for everyone! If you love speed and sporty feelings, you can get the Abarth version with a maximal power of 145bhp.
But there’s one thing that the Fiat 500 range has not prepared you for, and it’s changing your brake discs and pads. Why so? Because every model seems to be different. While some are open to amateur work, for others you will need a professional mechanics to do the hard work for you. Here’s a little guide to help you deal with it.
The Fiat 500 Has Remained The Same… Or Has It?
At first, it might seem like the Fiat 500 has remained very much the same since the 2008 hatchback. From an outsider’s perspective, the car seems to have kept 95% of its features, throughout the years, and especially despite the repeated announcements of Fiat promoting their latest 500 model. Well, this is true, up to a certain extend. The access to the brake discs and pads has changed dramatically. So much in fact, that you’ll find yourself struggling to work on the hatchback 1.4 2008, but you’ll love the Abarth 2012 for manual jobs. There you have it: The difference is only visible to the mechanic’s eye… or to anyone with a wrench and a toolbox.
When Not To Do It: Rear Brakes In Fiat 500 2008 & 2009
The hatchback 2008, and the fiat C 2009 are both equipped with an unbreakable rear brake access. The rear brake pads are maintained onto the disc by the caliper, which is bolted on and held by two 19mm bolts. That bit is easy to shift, but you can’t move the disc without removing the entire caliper support, bolted on by four completely inaccessible bolts. For these models, your best bet is to arrange for an auto repair appointment to get it done professionally. For more recent models, especially 1.2 Pop 2015 and onwards, you have full access and can proceed clearly. In other words, you need to remove the entire wheel system to be able to change the rear disc for older models. It’s not impossible but risky as you risk breaking the bolts.
When To Do It: Front Brakes In Fiat 2008 And Onward
Your front brake pads come with a wear indicator – a thin cable that is attached to the pad and sends a notification when exposed to the air, aka when the pads are completely worn. Front brakes are easy to access, especially if you follow online tutorials or Haynes manuals. There is no need to remove the front wheel system to access the disc. Indeed, removing the caliper to set the wear cable and replace the disc is all you need to do. A piece of advice, though: remember to check your brake fluids after changing your pads and disc to ensure that all is normal.