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Thread: Help - 500C passenger door and trunk/hatch wont open from outside

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    Help - 500C passenger door and trunk/hatch wont open from outside

    Hi everyone! First time posting here. I have a 2013 Fiat 500 with 73K miles. A few days ago my passenger door was unable to open from outside even though I could see the inside handle was in the unlocked position. Same day I noticed I couldnt open the hatch from the outside either.

    Fiat dealership said I could pay them $135/hour for them to diagnose the car which could take up to three hours... and then theyd know what was wrong and could fix it for an additional fee. Everyones got to make a buck but Im a grad student and need to live on the cheap, so here I am!

    Ive read a little bit in this forum about door-opening issues and resetting a code... do you think that is the case here? Any suggestions?

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    Premium Member Premium Member RexS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bforsland View Post
    Hi everyone! First time posting here. I have a 2013 Fiat 500 with 73K miles. A few days ago my passenger door was unable to open from outside even though I could see the inside handle was in the unlocked position. Same day I noticed I couldn’t open the hatch from the outside either.

    Fiat dealership said I could pay them $135/hour for them to diagnose the car which could take up to three hours... and then they’d know what was wrong and could fix it for an additional fee. Everyone’s got to make a buck but I’m a grad student and need to live on the cheap, so here I am!

    I’ve read a little bit in this forum about door-opening issues and resetting a code... do you think that is the case here? Any suggestions?
    Have you tried disconnecting the battery for a few minutes to let all the electrical reset? Try pulling one of the battery leads off for about 10 minutes then hook it back up and try. May not work but, it is free to try.

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    If the passenger door isn't opened very often, it may be something as simple as the door lock mechanism needs some lubrication. The grease they put on things at the factory eventually dries out.

    I would start by opening the passenger door from the inside handle. Once open, check the door latch for any debris or gunk that might be causing the latch to hang up. Try spraying some silicone spray on the latch mechanism, operate the outside door handle several times to confirm the mechanism is working, then give it one more squirt. If that doesn't work, then you may have to remove the inside door panel to gain access to the door locking rods and mechanism to lubricate it better. That just involves removing two bolts, a series of screws (some hidden behind plastic plugs), then carefully prying around the lower edge of the panel to pop out some fasteners.

    The rear hatch also may be a lubrication issue, but may be electrical. If you get the hatch to open, you could try lubricating the latch. If the problem is you press the hatch button on your key fob but aren't hearing the hatch lock click, then the wiring to the rear hatch may be failing. There is a rubber boot that houses the wires going from the body to the hatch under the hinge point. There have been examples where one or more of the wires in the bundle flex too much and break. About all you can do is remove the boot and inspect the wiring for damage, then rep-splice and tape-up the wiring.

    My wife's 500 Sport hatch has this annoying habit of not always unlocking. I've found if I lock and unlock the vehicle doors a couple times, then the hatch, it seems to work. I checked the wiring for damage, but it seems to be fine. I've just chocked it up to an annoying car personality trait.

    Good luck!

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    Premium Member Premium Member RexS's Avatar
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    Also, on my 17 Abarth I only have to hit the button 1 time to open all doors.
    On my wifes 13 Sport, 1 push will only open the drivers door. I usually walk up to it and punch the button 3 to 4 times to open all doors and hatch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RexS View Post
    Also, on my 17 Abarth I only have to hit the button 1 time to open all doors.
    On my wifes 13 Sport, 1 push will only open the drivers door. I usually walk up to it and punch the button 3 to 4 times to open all doors and hatch.
    ^^ I believe that can be adjusted in the vehicles settings ^^
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    Senior Member Fabio13's Avatar
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    Did you replace the battery in the key fob?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fabio13 View Post
    Did you replace the battery in the key fob?
    I did not change the battery because 1) I can hear all the doors unlock and 2) the drivers door consistently unlocks.

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    Why don’t you open the door, from the inside. Remove the door panel. It’s really simple. The cable, or linkage, must have come loose from the outside door handle. That why it’s not working. There are plenty of You Tube videos of the 500’s door panel removal.

    Good Luck

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    Thank you for replying! It turns out the hatch was electrical: the wiring was damaged. We’re still not sure exactly what’s going on with the passenger door. If I open the door from the inside and then close it, I can then open it from the outside without a problem. But when I lock and then unlock the door it will not open from the outside despite the fact that the door handle is unlocked.

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    Moderator map's Avatar
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    Ah, I was about to ask you to unlatch using the handle. For one reason or another, the electric servo is not moving far enough to unlock the door. This could be it failing, but most likely will be cured by lube.

    As a test, roll down the window. Lock it, then unlock the door with the FOB. Your outside handle will still be locked (as you saw). 1. Make sure the inside handle is popping up at least part way. 2. Move the inside handle towards open, but don't pop the door and try the outer handle.

    In either case, lube may do the trick. If #1, the servo could be failing. #2, lube is almost always your ticket. I'd follow the suggestions above and pop the door panel off, then lube the door mechanisms (both passenger side handles and at the latch mechanism) and work them back/forth a few times, latching and unlatching. Then give the FOB a try. Those little servos work well but aren't very powerful. If the door is not used often, the factory lube can stiffen.

    If that does the trick, wouldn't hurt to do the driver's door and hinges on all 3. (I use graphite lock oil for hinges.)
    Last edited by map; 07-29-2019 at 02:53 AM.

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