Car won’t start? Have you checked your Earth strap?

Our generally reliable 500 TwinAir from 2012 refused to start after a Christmas break. Nothing. Not even a click when the key was turned.

Having tried one of the small power packs and that failed, we called the RAC.

After an hour of trying to by-pass the fuses, climbing under the car and getting generally very muddy, the RAC admitted defeat and we bump started the car and drove it off to the local Main Dealer.

They ordered a new starter (from Italy) and informed us that the bill would be around £500… We waited. Cue another call whereupon they said it was a corroded starter to chassis earth strap that had suddenly failed.

The above photo is actually from the excellent Fiat Forum and shows the offending item which is really hard to get to – the TwinAir being a great example of tight packaging of a sophisticated engine in a small space.

The cost was about £120 to replace the strap with labour, and subsequent googling showed that this can be an issue, including when people have an intermittent problem of starting sometimes, and not on others.

Car is now back to behaving itself, and we continue to be a fan of the small, and reasonably nippy TwinAir.