Restart problems surface with some owners
By now, it is likely that you have heard of the LEAF’s restart problems. You are driving along, (or you are sitting somewhere with your LEAF powered up) and the red master warning light comes on. The EV system warning light is also illuminated (as indicated above). Oh no! What do you do? It’s no big deal. The car will not shut down and leave you with no power in the middle of the street. But you will have this red master warning light glaring at you on the dash. What should you do? Drive home, park your car where you normally do, and turn the car off. If it restarts – no problem. If it doesn’t – you are home, and you can call the Nissan Roadside Assistance number that is in your 2011 Nissan LEAF Warranty Information Booklet. Tell them that your car will not start, that the master warning light is lit, and that you would like your car towed to the nearest Nissan certified LEAF dealer per the Roadside Assistance Benefits that you purchased when you bought your car. (And yes… you did buy the Roadside Assistance Benefits. They were just included in the price of the car. You should know by now… there is no such thing as a free lunch.) (By the way – props go to my wife for suggesting driving home. I told her to drive to the dealer if it happened, to which she replied “Why can’t I just drive it home and have it towed to the dealer?” She was right! Mrs. Ernie is a very smart woman – only one of the reasons that I married her.)
Nissan has yet to publicly state what the problem is. It very well could be that they don’t know exactly what the problem is, or that in fact, there may be several triggers that cause the problem. The point to keep in mind is that the car is not going to leave you stranded somewhere, unless you choose to let it do so. Granted – you may not be able to complete the errand that you were on. But it is highly likely that you will be within range of your home (or perhaps the dealership, should you choose to take it there) if the red master warning light does in fact come on. One of the talking heads on the news said something along the lines of “What happens if you turn it off in an unsafe area?” To which we reply (everyone!) – “Don’t turn it off in an unsafe area!”
Our recommendation is to continue driving as you normally do. We are. This issue does seem to be affecting a relatively small percentage of owners thus far. If you have an absolutely crucial errand to run, if you have other means of transport, and you are not totally comfortable relying on your LEAF, drive your other vehicle. But we are using our vehicle normally, and periodically (if not consistently) using the climate control with no issues. Once Nissan determines a fix, it will likely be addressed the way most manufacturers deal with issues such as this – if you have a problem, they will take care of it. If you don’t have a problem – they will apply any updates necessary to potentially avoid any future problems when you take your car in for routine service.