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Hi, I purchased my Abarth 124 Spider in April 2018 and have only done approx 3000 miles to-date.
I took it for a long run, about 500 miles, early this year and encountered a battery icon on the screen. The manual said to not continue the journey but to get it to the nearest garage.
I phoned for assistance and was told to start it up again and see if the icon was still there, which it wasn’t, and told it would be ok to continue my journey. I was actually on my way home and got home with no further issues.
I phoned my dealership and booked it in to get it checked. They found that the battery connections were loose, tightened them up, and fully charged the battery for me.
It was then on a trickle charge as I don’t use it often.
It sat for a month with no trickle charge and on going to use it, it would not start. Recovery came out and told me that the battery was fine but the car was not recognising the key and vice versa and would need to be reprogrammed.
It was taken by a recovery company to the dealership to be sorted.
I have since received a telephone call with an update stating that they got it started with ‘magic fuel’ and that the battery is not holding it’s charge but sitting at about 50%.
I was told that it would require a new battery, which is not covered under the warranty, at a cost of £180. I was also told on the phone that because it is not used much, oil drains out, causing starting problems and that it would need more use.
I was not told this when I purchased the car, or even after the last issue with the battery.
I am not happy that I will need to cover the cost of a new battery and don’t feel that it right.
What are your views on this, and are there others out there who have had the same problem?
Cheers
Kaz
 

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I just got a new battery and it wasn't £180.

EL600 4 Year Warranty Exide Stop Start Micro-Hybrid Battery 60AH 640CCA listed for the 124 Spider
£85 from this seller on eBay buyanycarpart
 

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As with most dealers, they quote astronomical prices for such items. BMW motorcycle dealer quotes me 19.00+ USD per quart of BMW branded engine oil. I can buy the same oil Shell branded for 8.00 USD per quart. As far as the oil draining and hard starting, have learned from this site that this is "normal" and the car should not be allowed to sit without running for 30 days. When I store mine for the upcoming winter months (5 of them) I will start the car every 2 - 3 weeks to avoid the potential issue. Seems to me the installation of some type of check valve/system could avoid the problem. Als would have been nice had FIAT and the dealer informed me of this "glitch" prior to purchasing. I might have purchased anyway because the car is such fun, but knowledge would have been nice.
 

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"Magic juice" for flooded cell batteries is just fresh electrolyte, or maybe even just distilled water. It's one of the oldest car scams in existence and right up there with nitrogen in tires for street driven cars.
Best regards
Pete
 

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I had a battery die within two months of buying a new 124 Spider. The dealer said there was no fault in the electronics and the alarm was drawing 20 milliamps (ie about one Amp every two days-50 hours). Apparently the alarms wake up and use more electricity if a cat or a butterfly or a person gets close to the car, but mine was in a locked garage so a 80 Amp hour battery should last 160 days. the dealer replaced the battery after a big fight. That battery lasted more than a year and has gone flat again in the same locked garage. Both occasions I had left the car for about two weeks, no more. I have also had the automatic gearbox icon on the dash light up (which means STOP NOW according to the manual) while doing about 70mph on the wrong side of the road having kicked down gears to do the overtake. This light went off after ten yards and the dealer found nothing wrong.
The problems are clearly in the cars not the drivers or batteries. The solution is to always leave your new Fiat 124 Spider on a trickle charger. The socket for the tyre pump might be live when the engine is off but is impossible to get to unless you are a skinny contortionist with prehensile arms (it's hidden by the passenger's right foot). Or you could access the battery under the bonnet every time you park to charge it. The 124 drives well but otherwise is a piece of sh*t*. I wish I had bought a reliable car- MX5 .... or a Skoda.
Janet
 

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Just curious - how far away were your two key fobs?
I was thinking the same thing when I read the thread. The fobs would be in constant communication with the vehicle if they're close to it, and that would certainly drain the battery pretty fast. My speculation is that the story from the dealer about the security system being overly sensitive is just their BS that they've tossed out at her because they had to replace the battery. And the key fobs of a Miata would behave no differently in that regard. Do Skoda's have key fobs, or just a crank start for the bumper? :) As for the tranny warning, duing a moment of abnormal driving (kicking down to overpass), a sensor could be triggered, but would clear after a few minutes when its determined it wasn't an ongoing issue... also why the dealer tech wouldn't be able to find a fault in it. That is part of the challenge in owning a vehicle that relies heavily on electronics. In reflection, maybe the Skoda is the solution, as it wouldn't display anything until the engine seized.

Kidding aside, I would also confirm that nothing has been left plugged into the OBD port, or left in an "on" srtate. Before shutting down for the winter, I unplug everything, and make sure the trunk, inside light, and headlights are all turned completely off. I also don't lock or arm the vehicle during this period. I do have a steering wheel lock (Club) in place for security, but since it's in a locked garage and no fob available for a thief to use to start it, I feel pretty safe in that regard. Probably not necessary, but easy to do and puts the mind at rest.

I do go out and start and run the engine for about ten minutes every five to six weeks.... not to keep a charge in the battery, but to keep oil in circulation and all the hoses and seals moist. And my winters are long.... it goes into hibernation around end of October, and doesn't get driven again till late May. So that's over six months of the year with no battery tending or trickle charging.

Two winters so far, and the third about to begin. It is in an insulated, unheated garage. Make sure those key fobs are far away, and if the cars in a locked garage, consider a steering wheel lock and leave the vehicle itself unlocked and unarmed.
 
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