Fiat's Bizarre Warranty Fix - doctorchris
I have a 2 year old Fiat Panda 4x4 with a small problem. Water leaks into one of the headlamps due to a faulty seal on the back panel. How do I know that? Well, I have examined the seal and it clearly fails to make contact at one point. In addition, it is only in wet conditions that the water enters the lamp.
However, Fiat's "cure" for this has been to instruct the dealer to drill 5 very big holes in the back panel, thus removing any watertight properties the unit had. I can see how they are thinking. They assume this is condensation and are trying to remove the water by increased condensation. Might work in the hot Italian climate but not here in the UK. So what will happen now is that water repeatedly entering the unit will eventually destroy it along with the wiring and electricals of the aim adjuster. However, by the time this happens the car will be well out of warranty.
Nice one Fiat.
Fiat's Bizarre Warranty Fix - T Lucas
Been doing that 'fix' for years,you just need to make sure the hole is at the bottom of the lamp.
Fiat's Bizarre Warranty Fix - cheddar
Perhaps dont let the dealer near it with a drill and apply som silicone yourself.
Fiat's Bizarre Warranty Fix - oilrag
We had a light unit altered like that on a MK2 Punto, when it was new 5 years ago. That headlight is now not as clear as the other one and I suspect this is due to air from the engine bay constantly entering the unit.

If I had known this would be the outcome, I would have made more of a fuss then, but the warranty was over before I realised that although the water condensation had gone, there was this secondary effect.

You could also join us on the Fiat forum and duplicate your post there.

Fiat's Bizarre Warranty Fix - Oz
Sounds like drilling a hole in the bottom of a canoe to let the water out.
Oz (as was)
Fiat's Bizarre Warranty Fix - doctorchris
Thanx, Oilrag, I have posted on the Fiatforum in the New Panda section. Sadly no interest as the boys with 100hp's have currently taken over to a certain extent.
The holes have not been drilled at the bottom of the light unit. In addition, on a car with a degree of off road ability destroying the watertight properties of the light units makes no sense. OK, should not be in water to that depth but after a session off road you need to give the whole car a good soaking with the pressure washer, even, with care, under the bonnet.
I will continue to make a nuisance of myself at the dealers and with Fiat.
Fiat's Bizarre Warranty Fix - OldHand
That's one of the most shocking bodges I've heard of and from the manufacturer as well!!!

Why not write to the motoring press with your story. Auto express used to run these type of stories and it would perhaps shame them into doing something about it. Seems tailor made for them, just the right blend of incompetence and idiocy.

I really like the Panda 4x4, I think they are cracking little cars. I hired one in Austria and it was fantastic in the snow. It's stories like this however that put me off ever buying one.
Fiat's Bizarre Warranty Fix - Waino
This sounds like a dreadful 'fix' especially as the vehicle is under warranty. It's the sort of bodge that I'd try on something of at least 8 years old after everything else had failed.

I don't know the layout so don't know the ease of access but I'd imagine that the best fix would be to use silicone (as Cheddar suggests) especially as you've identified where the problem part of the seal is located. If you are concerned about the 'permanence' of the bead/smear of silicone when you need to remove the cover again, I believe that vaseline smeared onto one surface will act as a release agent.

Apart from this nonsense, Doc, I'd be really interested to know your feelings about the car - reliability, efficiency etc.
Fiat's Bizarre Warranty Fix - doctorchris
Hi Waino, There's no point sealing the panel on the headlamp now because the dealer has drilled 5 big holes in it. By the way, the side repeater indicators also leaked and Fiat insisted at first that these should have holes drilled in them. Obviously they still leaked and were replaced with new ones.
What is such a pain is the need to return to the dealer after each bodged repair to have further work done.
Re the Panda 4x4, I've clocked up nearly 22,000 miles in 2 years and have thoroughly enjoyed driving it, reminds me of driving old Minis back in the 70's. However, I mainly drive in town and do find the poor performance can irritate on the open road, eg. when trying to overtake. I don't really mind doing 70mph on the motorway however so the car's OK there. It has never let me down and warranty issues have been fairly trivial stuff. I sometimes worry about the noisy gearbox and how I can beat synchromesh in 3rd and 4th but don't trust the dealers to take the box out. Fuel economy is not good, a heavy car with low gearing is responsible for this. Tyres last, I would guess, no more than 25,000 for all 4 (I swap back to front every 6,000 miles for even tyre wear, four wheel drive systems prefer to run on tyres with similar tread depth all round). Looks to me like depreciation may be heavier than for 2wd Pandas.
Finally, the 4x4 with the diesel engine would be a much beter prospect.
Fiat's Bizarre Warranty Fix - Waino
Ah, sorry, Doc, I wasn't sure if the holes had already been drilled - and you have confirmed that they are. Sadly, it sounds as though you will probably be going back again to the dealer; that pressure washer should test things out!

Thanks for you views on the Panda 4x4. I was interested because I have to typically drive between 30 to 50 miles, then go on very minor roads, farm tracks and bridleways to get access to the land. I detest SUVs (tarts' handbags) and anyway, they're too big for what I want. From your comments, I fear that the Panda may not be too good on the 'road bits' on the way to the rougher stuff.

Like you, I thought the diesel 4x4 sounded a good idea - HJ commented that they are available in Europe but not UK.

Fiat's Bizarre Warranty Fix - wrangler_rover
I got next to no help from fiatforum when I had problems with my Punto (which I don't have anymore)
In my previous experience, Fiatforum is great if you want to fit a 500Watt sound system in the car, if you want to fit "Carlos fandango" ridiculous alloys, if you want to fit a body kit or "Wallyize" the car in any other way to make it look cheap & nasty.
If you want useful advice on how to start it or keep it running, the fiatforum site isn't the place to be.
Fiat's Bizarre Warranty Fix - Paul I
I have mentioned this several times ....Fiat are the worst at paying warranty claims in terms of "Hard cash" I know the MD of a resonably large chain and he said that the only reason they keep going with Fiat is they don't have to invest in a new property based on a two year deal - they do with VW and the finance deals bring a fair few punters through the door. I would guess this isn't a Fiat UK answer but a dealer attempt to keep you a local customer - problem fixed = happy customer ?

Fiat's Bizarre Warranty Fix - P3t3r
Well, I doubt that they can be much more incompetant than my local Fiat dealer. They tried replacing my tank as part of a recal 8 months ago, and it's still not fixed. I've lost count now, but I must have been back about 6 times already. The last time it was in they told me at the end of the day that they didn't have chance to do anything. Every time I need to have a whole day off work, they can't give me a courtesy car because I'm under 25 and I won't be covered on my insurance because they are actually 'hire' cars, and not 'courtesy' cars. There are a number of parts that they have either broken or has been replaced unnecessarily, which has been costing me time and money.
Fiat's Bizarre Warranty Fix - MichaelR
Every time I need to
have a whole day off work they can't give me a courtesy car because I'm
under 25 and I won't be covered on my insurance because they are actually 'hire'
cars and not 'courtesy' cars. There are a number of parts that they have either
broken or has been replaced unnecessarily which has been costing me time and money.

They are fobbing you off - if BMW can give me a free courtesy car from the age of 21 (Best I've had from them a 2006 530d Sport AUto) then I'm sure Fiat can give you something!
Fiat's Bizarre Warranty Fix - Blue {P}
You're doing well out of that warranty then, the best I managed to get was a 118i (in itself quite a reasonable car contrary to what many people think), I'd go and fix something that wasn't broken if I thought I'd get one of those! :-)

Never mind, as soon as I get my Mondog ST24 I reckon I'll have my very own permanant courtesy car on tap whenever I need it.

To the OP - I would find a different dealer who do provide a courtesy car, I've never been refused one, and I've only just turned 23.

Fiat's Bizarre Warranty Fix - barney100
This seems a problem Fiat have had for years. I had a Mirafiori and both headlights had a large puddle of water in them, seems they have'nt learned much in the last few years.
Fiat's Bizarre Warranty Fix - piggy

I think this is a bit unfair to Fiat. I hardly think they build their own light units. They are probably sourced from several suppliers and are probably just as reliable as other car makers` units.
Fiat's Bizarre Warranty Fix - madf
I would demand new lights under warranty as the current one shave holes in them.

If they refuse, take them to a Small Claims Court.

You have a cast iron case .. or should that be a watertight one? :-)
Fiat's Bizarre Warranty Fix - doctorchris
Thanx all. When I speak to the service manager on his return from holiday next week I shall refer to all your comments here as bad publicity often seems to get results. Small claims court is a viable option as the headlamp unit has now been rendered unfit for purpose by the dealer.

Value my car