5 checks to do before buying a classic Fiat 500

There are hundreds of checks that can and must be done before buying a classic Fiat 500. But there are some of these checks that, if not “passed”, make it unnecessary to proceed with the other checks.
In this article I will list the 5 checks to do before buying a classic Fiat 500 that, in my opinion, are the most important.


So, what are the 5 checks to do before buying a classic Fiat 500?

1.  Documents

First of all it will be necessary to verify that the Fiat 500 has the documents ( libretto di circolazione ). And when I say he has the documents, I really mean that the documents have to be there physically, that you can touch them. It could happen that the documents have been lost. In this case it will be necessary to report the loss at the police station and, subsequently, go to the motorization to obtain a new document. The process will be long enough and not free from bureaucratic pitfalls. If there are documents, you can proceed directly with the transfer of ownership, or the deregistration, if the car is to be taken outside Italy.
Before checking this first point, with the document in hand, read the chassis number and then check that the number is the same as the one reported inside the front bonnet of the Fiat 500. The chassis number is located at the top left.

2. Check the bodywork

Let’s then proceed with the list of the 5 checks to do before buying a classic Fiat 500. Much attention should be paid to the condition of the bodywork. First, check the bodywork visually. The paint must be homogeneous, shiny, without cracks, dents or orange peel. Obviously there must be no rust or even worse, holes in the body of the small Fiat 500.
One thing that, unfortunately, abounds on the Fiat 500s is the filler putty. Too often, repairs were made (and, unfortunately, are still done) with the abundant use of putty.
But how can you tell if the Fiat 500 is full of putty?
First check the symmetry: right side and left side must be equal and symmetrical. If, for example, looking at the front fenders, you notice that the right side is a little more swollen than the left side, or that the right rear fender has a different shape than the left one, then there is something wrong. the shapes of the Fiat 500 were probably reconstructed, using filler putty.
A little trick you can use, to understand if there is a lot of grout, is to bring a small magnet with you (one of those they sell as a souvenir and that usually hang on the refrigerator at home).
Wrap the magnet with some sticky paper tape. In this way you will reduce the effect of the magnet and, you will not risk scratching the bodywork.
With this little magnet, search the entire bodywork. As long as the magnet remains attached, it means that there is metal underneath. If the magnet falls off, then you’ve found the putty!

3. The floors

The third check to do is that of the floors. Make sure they are there, oh well come on, I’m kidding!The lower part of the Fiat 500 is the one that is most attacked by rust, so pay maximum attention to checking this part. Slip under the car and try to inspect, touching with your hand, the entire surface of the floors. make sure they are solid. when you squeeze with your thumb, the plate must not move and, above all, you must not hear the same noise you hear when you eat crackers. Make sure there is not too much covering material because, most likely, they have abounded to cover something wrong. Always keep in mind that if the shapes and forms present on the bottoms, or in any case all the parts that make up the car, are not well defined, they certainly hide nasty surprises.If you have the possibility, also lift the mat inside the Fiat 500, and check that everything is fine.

4. Wheel arch

Another treacherous area, on small classic Fiat 500s, is that of the wheel arches. Here the mud that is responsible for the corrosion of the sheet lurks. Put your hands inside the wheel arches and check that the sheet metal is solid or if there are holes due to rust. Check the entire outer arch to see if everything is okay. You may have to scrape off the dirt in order to get to the sheet more easily. It could also happen that, once the dirt is removed, you find yourself a nice hole. Verify well.
Engine and gearbox. In 90% of cases the Fiat 500 loses oil, in the remaining 10%, there is no oil in the engine. That said, don’t worry if you notice any small oil leaks. It is said that classic Fiat 500s do not lose oil but, like dogs, they mark the territory.

5. Check the engine and gearbox

Check the engine and gearbox for excessive grease mixed with dust, in which case it is bad sign. It means that the mechanics haven’t been overhauled for a very long time. In the engine, the leaks are usually: from the oil pan, from the pipes, from the tappet cover, from the oil seal near the flywheel. Check these areas, and try to figure out if there are any oil leaks.
At the gearbox, the leaks are: from the oil seal inside the bell (behind the pressure plate), from the oil seals that are contained inside the boots of the drive shafts and from the boots themselves, from the covers, from the oil seal that holds the gear shift shaft (the one that it connects to the gear lever), from the odometer wire control, and finally from the joints of the two sections of the gearbox and differential.


If you cannot personally verify the Fiat 500 you would like to buy, you can take advantage of our consultancy service for the purchase of classic Fiat 500s, or search for a classic Fiat 500 for sale among the ads on our website.

At this link you can find a video with the checks to be done on a classic Fiat 500