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Fiat 500 recalled for rollaway risk

FCA says a shift cable bushing is to blame.

2011 Fiat 500
Keep an eye on what gear you're in, 500 drivers.

A group of 2012-2013 Fiat 500 models is a rollaway risk, according to documents Fiat Chrysler filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Nov. 15. 

The filing describes a faulty shift cable bushing as the cause of the problem. The issue affects 51,788 Fiat 500 models with six-speed automatic transmission. Those of you who row your own gears with a manual transmission, ignore this recall.

If the shifter cable detaches from the transmission, thanks to a bushing that deteriorates over time, the transmission may not shift into the gear the driver selects. Thus, if you try to put the car in Drive, it might instead be in some other gear. Even worse, when you put it in Park, the 500 may not actually be in the gear, which can lead to a chance of the car rolling away and an increased risk of injury and a crash.

FCA said in a statement that it's aware of three "minor accidents" that are potentially related to this issue, but no injuries. The automaker also discontinued the 500 for the 2020 model year.

Drivers will likely notice less resistance when using the gear selector, but know it may not actually be in the desired gear. As a backup, the instrument cluster will show the correct gear in the event the shift cable does detach.

FCA will notify owners of the affected Fiat 500 models and they'll need to bring their cars in for a fix to be performed free of charge. A technician will replace the shifter cable adjuster to resolve the problem. Look for notices soon with the recall beginning on Jan. 4.

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