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Monday, October 30, 2017

Fiat 500X Stripe Install How To

Fiat 500X with Mopar Accessories

This article is the third in a series we started last month covering how you can change the look of your Fiat 500X with a few simple Mopar accessories. This time we will show you how we installed a lower body side stripe. Body side stripes are a popular accessory and Mopar has a number of body stripe kits available. We chose a stripe that carries over the red accents our car has in its interior and matches the mirror covers and lower bodyside mouldings we installed previously.

The beauty of using Mopar accessories is their original manufacturer's fit and quality. Unlike many aftermarket parts, your Mopar accessory fits perfectly because it meets the same standards as the original parts used on your car.  Mopar backs their products with a long, 2 year unlimited mileage warranty, plus if the product is installed at a dealer, the product is covered at any Fiat dealer in the country.* Hard to beat.

Fiat 500X with Mopar Stripe

Installing a Fiat 500X Mopar Body Stripe

Fiat 500X Mopar Checkered Lower Body Stripe
Part Number: 82214955, Suggested Retail: $165

The Mopar bodyside stripe arrived packaged nicely inside a heavy duty tube that was also in a box. The kit contains the graphics and instructions. Installing stripes is generally not difficult and just requires some patience and care. Traditional body stripes are installed on a wet surface so they can easily be repositioned and moved into the correct position. A squeegee is then used with firm pressure to lock the stripe into position and push out any air or water bubbles.

However, to my surprise the Mopar 500X stripes were designed to be applied dry.

The stripes from Mopar utilize the latest generation in stripe material, 3M Controltac, which is designed to be applied dry. I was a bit surprised and a little apprehensive about installing the stripe dry as I've only done wet installs on large stripes. I even contacted a professional striper to make arrangements for them to do the install.

It was an unnecessary concern because after research I found that 3M ControlTac pressure activated technology is manageable for a novice. This isn't the old fashioned pressure sensitive type of tape with an adhesive that adheres as soon as it touches a surface. Controltac is repositionable and adheres by applying pressure. Watch the following demonstration and you will see what I mean.

After watching the videos I decided to give it a try. While the install was not as easy as using the wet technique, I would say it is very doable for a do-it-yourselfer who has patience. If the procedure below is too much for you to tackle, hire a pro to do the install and they shouldn't charge much.

What You Need
With the install concern out of the way, I went about gathering the necessary supplies. I also recommend having a helper. While I did the install by myself, I did have a helper hold the stripe while cutting the backing paper. You can do it by yourself, but a helper comes in handy.

  • Solvent Cleaner (Wax / Grease Remover, 3M General Adhesive Cleaner, etc.)
  • Rubbing Alcohol (70% strength)
  • Lint free cloths
  • Claybar for cleaning paint - optional
  • Squeegee - one used for applying tint preferred
  • Masking tape
  • X-acto knife with new blades
  • Heat gun
  • Infrared temperature reader - optional (inexpensive ones available at Harbour Freight)
  • Waterbased, non-permanent marker
  • Sewing needle

Work Area
Anytime you adhere something to your car, the temperature needs to be considered. Mopar requires the surface temperature be between 70° and 90°. Your work area should be free of dust and breeze. If needed, wetting the ground area will help keep the dust from floating up and contaminating the surface.

This video gives the basic idea of how we'll install our stripe.

Let's Start
Cleaning the surface is critical in assuring the decal doesn't peel off in the future. You cannot overdo this step, so make sure you clean very well. When you think it is clean, clean it again!

Using Solvent Cleaner

First up is wax remover. Follow the directions on whatever product you are using. I used a white, lint free paper towel to make sure there was no discoloration left when I finished this step.

Cleaning, Using Clay Bar

Examining the surface, I found there was dirt embedded into the paint. I got out a Claybar and using the wax remover as a lube, went over the paint until the surface was totally clean. I then redid cleaning the surface with wax remover.

Cleaning with Alcohol

After the cleaning with the wax remover, next step was cleaning with rubbing alcohol.

Checking cloth

make sure the surface is clean.

Holding stripe with tape

Applying The Stripe
As I did most of the application by myself, with a helper just taking pictures, I first started by taping the stripe into basic position.

I also taped the instructions up so I could easily refer to them.

Checking location of stripe

Once the stripe was laid out on the body, I measured the location of where it should sit. You can use your non-permanent marker to mark the location. For my stripe, I found the bottom of the stripe paper laid across the top of the lower door panel mouldings was a perfect guide.

Checking fit

Aligning stripe

I then ran masking tape over the top of the stripe to keep it into place and to keep the stripe from stretching when being pulled on.

making tape hinge

Once the stripe is perfectly lined up where it needs to go, Apply a piece of tape vertically to create a "hinge". This allows you to apply the stripe in two steps and makes it more manageable to deal with a long stripe.

Peeling backing

Starting at one end, carefully peel the backing.

Pulling backing off

cutting backing off

Here is where a helper comes in handy. Have them hold the stripe securely while you cut off the backing paper. The worse thing would be to have the sticky side of the stripe touch the ground picking up dirt. That would be a non-recoverable error.

Once the backing paper is removed, pull the stripe taught and lay it lightly against the car, lining up your reference marks. Don't worry, if you get it wrong, you can lift the stripe back up off the surface as long as you didn't press the stripe against the surface with any appreciable force. I used the masking tape on the top to secure the stripe to the body while I lined up the reference marks. Even still, the stripe is very sticky, and pressure will only make it stick even more.  Once you are satisfied the stripe is where it needs to be, a tap with the finger is enough to tack the stripe down into location. Have a light touch and you will be fine.

second part of hinge

When the first part of the strip is perfectly lined up, start on the other side of the "hinge" and remove the backing paper. Stretch the stripe out, line up the reference marks and tack the strip down the same as you did the front half.

removing wrinkles

When you are happy with the position of the stripe, making sure there are no wrinkles or waves, use the squeegee to apply the stripe. I started along the top and systematically worked down, using firm pressure to push the air pockets out of the stripe. If there was a wrinkle, I lifted the stripe up, unsticking it from the surface, and redid using the squeegee.

applying stripe

I removed the masking tape and continued squeegeeing the stripe.

using squeegee

Go over every inch of the stripe to make sure there are no bubbles. These can be worked out by carefully pushing them out to either the top or bottom edge, depending on how close each one is to whichever edge.

removing facing paper

Once the stripe is applied, you need to take the facing paper off.

pulling paper back over itself

Holding the backing paper back against itself slowly pull the paper straight back. Do not pull it away from the body or it can pull or loosen the stripe.

Pulling paper off

working bubbles out

Keep inspecting the decal and if you see a bubble, stop and work it out with the squeegee.


When the backing paper is removed, carefully examine the stripe and continue working on any bubbles.

heating stripe to remove bubbles

Use the heat gun to warm the decal up. Careful! The gun can overheat the stripe. Wave the gun back and forth to make sure you aren't using direct heat to one spot. The temperature shouldn't reach 125°. Use the infrared temperature reader if you need to.

testing stripe temperature

Test the stripe to see if it is too hot with the back of your hand. The warm air will help the adhesive bond to the panel and will also help shrink bubbles. Carefully keep using the squeegee to work the bubbles. You can use a sewing needle to "pop" any bubbles that are too stubborn to remove.

Using a new sewing needle, carefully pierce one side of the bubble, while using your fingers to push the air out through the hole. Use the heat gun to go over the edges to make sure they are adhered well. Remember, holding the gun in one location can quickly overheat the decal!

You can give the stripe a day to adhere and then check again for bubbles. It helps if it is hot outside, but you can also use the heat gun and needle to carefully work on bubbles.

cutting stripe with x-acto knife

Take a new x-acto razor and holding the blade at an angle and along the door edge, pierce the decal skin and carefully cut the stripe. My left hand is resting on the front door and note the angle I am holding the x-acto knife. When the stripe is cut like that, the decal will slightly wrap around the edge of the front door, leaving a nice, cut line for the strip piece on the rear door.

folding edges down

Use a squeegee to ensure the stripe is adhered perfectly to the edges. If you ever have an issue with the stripe edge lifting a tiny dab of clear nail polish or paint can secure the edge.


That's it! Admire your new look!


We hope you enjoyed this look at accessorizing your 500X.  Mopar has over 100 neat items for your car, so take a moment and browse their site. Most accessories can be installed with some planning and patience so don't be afraid to give it a shot!  Go to the Fiat 500X Do It Yourself forum to ask questions and discuss your ideas. We love to help and to see your car when you are done!

*Contact your dealer or check the Mopar website for warranty details.

Disclaimer: This is how I installed the stripe on my Fiat 500X and is provided for informational and entertainment purposes. If you have any doubts on you ability to perform this work or have any issues, I recommend having it done by a professional. I am not responsible for any issues arriving from you reading this post. Use at your own risk.

Thanks goes out to Mopar for supplying items in these articles.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Fiat 500 Abarth Track Instruction Video

Fiat 500 Abarth at Monticello Motor Club Track

If you have never been on a racetrack before, here is a look at what it is like getting driving instructions by a professional race car driver. The instructor gives critical information such as when to brake, turn in and where to exit each corner along with other details to get the most out of your car for both safety and to maximize performance. It is all about being smooth and connecting corners. It is a neat science and, when done correctly, an artform. I heartily recommend anyone who has any interest in cars to attend a driving school. Learning about vehicle control is a skill that you can practice and enjoy at legal speeds anytime you drive.

While you are at it, maybe attend an autocross. There is likely a car club near you that hosts these fun events. Any Fiat model will do and fit right in!

Visit the Fiat 500 USA Motorsports Forum for tips and information on Fiat performance driving:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Fiat Sales for September 2017

Fiat 500L Lounge

The Fiat Brand sold a total of 2,206 cars in September, down 24 % compared to the same month last year. Hurt by declining sales in the small car market; Fiat sales year-to-date are running 15% below last year.

September Fiat 500 hatch and Cabrio model sales amounted to 1,016 a 31 % decline compared to September last year. Sales of the 500X crossover and 124 Spider were also down compared to the same period.

Fiat 124 Abarth Spider

The bright news was the Fiat 500L MPV had its best sales performance this year with 209 cars sold, 103% increase over last year. It was the 500L's best September sales since 2015. In Europe, the 500L is the best-selling car in its class since its introduction in 2013 and has gotten a makeover for 2018. Expect to see the 2018 Fiat 500L in US showrooms this fall.

2018 Fiat 500L MPV

Fiat September News Recap
The big news in September was Fiat announced the 2018 model lineup (minus the Fiat 500 hatch and Cabrio models which will be announced later). The 2018 Fiat 500L gets a facelift, plus enhanced features and infotainment system.

The 2018 Fiat 500X carries over virtually unchanged from 2017 but gets an upgraded infotainment system.

Fiat 500X Urbana Edition

Fiat announced a very late production, special edition 2017 500X called the Urbana Edition. This model is basically the 500X S-line from Europe and will be available towards the end of the year.

Back in February, we brought you the inside scoop on the 2018 Fiat 124 Spider, and we updated the story with more details last month. The 2018 Spider features new colors plus much more flexibility when ordering options. That story also featured exclusive information on pricing, which you wouldn't find anywhere else.

Fiat 500X with Mopar Accessories

We published a series of do-it-yourself articles on accessorizing your 500X. The first two pieces of the three-part series took you through how I installed mirror covers and lower molding trim. The third article on how to stripe your 500X will be up later this month.

Fiat began offering special pricing and discounts to help people who lost cars due to Hurricane Harvey. The offer initially started at the end of August with a rebate but evolved during September into special employee pricing on most vehicles.

Fiat Brand Sales in the United States, January - September 2017
Fiat 500Current MonthLast YearVol ChangeCurrent YTDLast Year YTDVol Change























































Sources: FCA US LLC.
Images: FCA and Author

Monday, October 2, 2017

Fiat Special Pricing for Hurricane Harvey

Fiat 500c Cabrio

Fiat is offering special employee pricing to the people of Texas and Louisiana who lost their car because of Hurricane Harvey. In the Houston Texas location alone, 600,000 vehicles have been declared a total loss.** People across the region are scrambling for transportation as they work on rebuilding their lives devastated by the powerful hurricane.

To be eligible for the special pricing, people living in affected counties* impacted by the Hurricane need to submit a copy of their auto insurance claim form indicating storm or flood damage to their car. Employee pricing is offered on all 2017 or 2018 Fiat models, excluding 500 Pop Hatchback, 500X Pop, and Fiat 500e models. Retail delivery must be by 10/31/2017 and residency restrictions apply.

Contact your Fiat dealer for details.

Read more:

*City of Houston Automotive Board

**Eligible customers must reside in the following counties:
Angelina, Aransas, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Bowie, Brazoria, Brooks, Calhoun, Camp, Cass, Chambers, Cherokee, Colorado, De Witt, Duval, Fayette, Fort Bend, Franklin, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Gregg, Hardin, Harris, Harrison, Houston, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kenedy, Kleberg, Lee, Liberty, Live Oak, Marion, Matagorda, Montgomery, Morris, Nacogdoches, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Panola, Polk, Refugio, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington, Wharton and Wood

Acadia, Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Cameron, Claiborne, De Soto, Evangeline, Grant, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Natchitoches, Rapides, Red River, Sabine, Saint Landry, Saint Martin, Vermilion, Vernon and Webster.

Source and image: FCA US LLC