Here's an extremely crisp 131 Mirafiori for your trouble... I bought a 2013 Fiat 500 Pop back in January. I knew that they came standard with air conditioning. Or, at least, I thought I knew. But since I bought the car right before a giant (for Portland) snowstorm, I didn't think much about it. Especially because I was so excited about having a new car in the first place.

Now that it's March and getting warmer, I am thinking about the a/c. And the other day, it dawned on me that my car doesn't have an a/c button. Or anything on the fascia to indicate it has a/c at all.


So I consulted my wafer-thin owner's manual. It said absolutely nothing about how to turn the a/c on, unless you happened to have a model with the optional automatic climate control, which does have an a/c button.


I looked down at my WWBZD? bracelet and took to the internet to solve my problem. In some message board somewhere, I was informed that you have to push the fan speed dial in, in order to actuate the a/c. Again, nowhere in the owner's manual does it say this. There is a snowflake symbol on the fan speed dial, but I figured that was just funny Italian ergonomicspeak for fan speed. I was relieved, at least, that I'd figured it out, but frustrated that Fiat didn't meet me halfway...that I had to go to an unaffiliated 3rd party to get my answers.

Now go back and look at the IP photo from above. If you'll note, the little snowflake on the fan speed dial is glowing orange in accordance with the dash lighting. Most of the time, a/c indicator lights are a different color than the dash lights. I figured it was there simply to help me find the fan speed dial at night. Apparently, it means that the dial has been pushed in, and that I've had the a/c on this whole time. Since I've only really had my temp dial set to warm so far, I never knew. Sigh.


My Fiat has other ergonomic curiosities, as well. There's no internal central locking button. There's no internal liftgate release, either. And if you don't want to wake the neighborhood by locking your car after 10pm, you have to lock your car with the key. Doing so doesn't not activate the alarm, however. The only way to activate the alarm is with the remote, and using that must honk the horn. You can change whether or not the lights flash when you arm the alarm. But the horn must honk if you want to arm the alarm. I also found this out online, as the owner's manual is entirely uninformative on this point, as well.

I know my car is Italian-designed and Chrysler-built in Mexico. And I love it despite, and in some ways because of, its quirks. But the least Chrysler could do is provide an owner's manual that helps me figure those things out.

Have any of you ever had this experience with your cars?