Nissan To Remedy LEAF Brake Issue Caused By Very Low Temperatures + High Humidity


Way back in March of 2015, Canadian regulators began looking into a potential problem with some 2013 through 2015 Nissan LEAFs.

The problem was described as “brake system malfunctions in Nissan LEAF electric vehicles in severe cold weather.”

Think below zero temps (Fahrenheit). That’s what is meant by severe cold in this instance.

Well, it took awhile, but those regulators did find fault with the LEAFs and in conjunction with Nissan, a remedy (see email above) has now been issued.

Though not officially listed as a recall (since it applies to so few LEAFs, given the below 0 temps requirement), those who experience this problem (both in Canada and in the U.S.) can take their LEAFs in for a free fix.

Categories: Nissan


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21 Comments on "Nissan To Remedy LEAF Brake Issue Caused By Very Low Temperatures + High Humidity"

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That’s not true. There are issues regardless of temperature. It does get affected by moisture in the air such as rainy climates. But the issue is in the brake software.

On my 2012 Leaf I had a “grabby” brake issue during the transition between the regen brakes and the mechanical brakes. It was very annoying and make for a jerky ride in stop and go traffic. I wasn’t informed of a fix until I happened to be speaking to a Nissan service rep after a service visit. I was very annoyed they didn’t offer the software change while they had my car, they said it was only given to people who complained.

So if you have ANY Nissan Leaf with brake issues ask for a software fix because they probably have a solution.

Eh, if it’s not an Over-the-Air (OTA) FW update, I won’t bother taking it in.

No longer trust my local Nissan dealer.

1) Saw sales guy try to scam a potential Leaf buyer.

2) Service guy only interested in getting me to agree to a brake job.

3) Parts guy changed my remote battery (low batt warning) and the remote is now dead. Service guy says it’s not covered by warranty and wants $$$.

4) Took car in for 2-year battery report. They said it’s done but I got no report. Reason? The printer ran out of paper but the printer that prints all the service paperwork that I had to sign has plenty of paper.

5) Took car in for 1-year battery report. When I got car back, paperwork said I complained of AC issues and they replaced some parts under warranty. Huh?

This is a classical debate of dealers vs manufacturers. Nissan can’t really provide OTA update because of the said reason. To entice “investors” to purchase/start a dealership franchise, Nissan and all others, except small OEMs like Tesla, to have ANY service performed only at a dealership and they themselves do NOT set up their own services centers. Thus, all dealership service centers are independently owned and NOT really an OEM associated service centers (but approved or authorized).

By doing so, OEMs don’t have to piggyback on the significant infrastructure investments, environmental concerns and labor trainings for those service centers.

In return, they refer all services at the dealership so that service advisors can up-sell you on almost anything, e.g. a tire change or whatnot during a recall or voluntary campaign service.


Sorry to hear of your experience.

If you have more than one Nissan dealership in the vicinity, have you tried others?
Here in Puget Sound we have a very large variety, which is good b/c some of them sounds like the one you describe, while others just service your Leaf, courteous, low cost, no nuisance whatsoever.


My 12 Leaf battery reports always came back great, yet by the 3rd winter I only had 36 actual miles’ range (not indicated) under the worst conditions.
Once I got LeafSpyPro and an ODBII Bluetooth dongle, I could monitor the battery myself and see that its SOH was down to 85% when I traded it.

My dealer never wanted to share this detailed information with me, either.

Ditto here. went in to local dealer complaing about “grabbing brakes” was told all 4 brake rotors were warped. Had 6600 miles on the car.
Nissan Leaf–NEVER AGAIN.

Did you get a software update? Fortunately I live in LA and goto a dealer that sells many Leafs so they know the car and haven’t yet tried to scam me on repairs.

Oh my god Stimpacker, i feel your pain!!!, i have the same issues with my dealer, i feel like since they are unable to make money with the leaf via service or repairs, they want to scam you so bad. i asked the dealership how much is the battery check the first year, and he tells me about 50$, i find out that they are covered at no charge, i had to argue a lot and even talked to the manager, he was bold enough to tell me that it’s supposed to be free when you do the brake check at one of the maintenance milestone… i come back to do my first annual check, i get a bill, i had to argue again with them and i didn’t pay, this makes me very uneasy with dealing with Nissan as a dealer. Also, they offer no courtesy electric car, i have to drive their gas cars, which i refused to pay for gas, i had to argue over that point, and this morning i went for the recall or software for the brakes thing, there was no leaf on display, there was no brochures, it’s almost as if this dealership… Read more »

I had the software update applied a while ago. It helped but is no solution. I still get grabby brakes.

I did find that the brake system grabs if the tires are worn out, replacing the tires also solved the grabby brake problem. Its back now I have 6,000 miles on the new tires and they have plenty of life left on them.

Getting the brake fluid replaced annually also seems to help. But only for 3-4K miles.

No it is listed as a recall.

I recently checked my VIN vs. Nissan’s recall website, and it says we’re on it.

I guess maybe it’s not a recall that mandates going after drivers?

Anyway, will lump that in with our 18-month service soon.

Now if they can find a reason for the grabby brakes in cold weather (higher than 0 degrees F) issues. Essentially, if you are in stop-and-go traffic and try to modulate the brake pedal (without completely disengaging the brake), the brake system will go full brake power and cause your vehicle to stop suddenly. The temporary solution is to lift your foot off the pedal each time you want to move forward, allowing the brake system to re-calibrate the position of the brake pedal.

Sounds exactly like the issue I was having and there was a “service campaign” for that problem which is a software fix. Ask your local dealer for the software update and that should fix the issue.

I got my recall notice in the mail today in NJ for my 2015 Leaf S. It doesn’t get below zero fahrenheit here, but i do have a picture of my dash display reading 1 degree from 2 winters ago. I guess that’s close enough to take it in for the recall. But i have the same issue, my local dealers are clueless about my Leaf. One even insisted i get the oil and filter changed. He said “we did it last time you brought the car in”. And they never charge my car while its there even though i ask and they have 3 evse. My car goes in once a year for the mandated battery check and thats it. I can rotate my own tires and change my own wiper blades.

My 12 Leaf is gone (lease ended), but the dealership cluelessness (western PA) about the vehicle over the course of 3 years is another reason I probably won’t get another Nissan EV when I’m back in the market.

Folks in EV heaven (sunny CA) have no idea how much of an EV wilderness the rest of the country is, and Nissan is hit-or-miss about educating its dealers about EVs. My dealer insisted that I could drive exactly as far as the range meter said, even in the winter.

This happens at warmer temps and still happens after the update, unless this is a new update. I’ll never know if this fixes it. My Nissan dealers can no longer repair the car. I cannot drive to one that can. Nissan doesn’t support the Leaf. I will never recommend this car to anyone. I wouldn’t pay $500 for a used one. All these negative experiences explain why the Leaf is so cheap second hand. It’s a crap car in my opinion. I could go on and on. ’13 S is what I have.

I got the software update done last week for my 2015 Nissan Leaf. 3 days later I experienced my first ever break failure upon staring up the car. Luckily there was no traffic behind me as I rolled as soon as I put the car into reverse. I had to turn off the car and use the emergency break. I have contacted Transport Canada but this is scary that the Leaf can have break failures. The car only has 3000km on it.

Our 2015 Leaf has the same issue. Often after starting up the car the brakes don’t work unless you push them really really hard. We reported it to the dealership, where they did some software update (or so they say), but nothing changed. It still does it. And it doesn’t freeze here, so the cold is not the trigger.

While driving my leaf today 02/14/16 (granted it was really cold) my brakes decided not to work. The dashboard lit up with warnings…great but no brakes. Fortunately no one died! Sounds dramatic but when you think about it there is a real possibility off that happening. This defect shouldn’t be voluntary. Nissan needs to realize that brakes are a necessity for driving a vehicle. When i called Nissan they told me to call the local dealer! I could not believe it.

Sorry to hear of these problems, full disclosure, I am a LEAF specialist in New England but have driven many miles in all seasons including from mid Mass to the ocean or the Berkshires (~80 miles).

None of my customers have reported this problem in the last 3 winters, I know that is no consolation if your car is having trouble. My Service department reports one cabin heater and one Level 1 cable gone bad in the last 4 years which may be better than average.

Quality of both LEAF Sales and Service varies _widely_, but that’s widely true in the car business. For example, we do not charge anyone driving any EV to recharge at our DCQC or Level 2s but I know other dealers reserve theirs for their customers only or are only on during business hours or even charge their own customers to charge!

All we can ever do as consumers is to look and find a dealership that hires honest people who know their jobs, right?

For what its worth I know of similar and worse experiences with Ford and Chevy dealerships with their EVs…

It sure is interesting how a software update can remedy a frozen relay.