Nissan Leaf 12 volt accessory battery replacement

My wife came home one night and told me that when she had started up her Leaf for the drive home it “acted wonky” with lots of warning lights on the dash, and the brake pedal went to the floor without actually keeping the leaf from inching out of the parking space she was in.   This sounded like the 12 volt accessory battery was no longer holding a charge and was in a low voltage state (which the electronics in the car really don’t like!). This happens when the battery ages, and Nissan Leaf’s are notorious for going through 12 volt accessory batteries quickly.   (Even though the batteries don’t need to provide a lot of cold cranking amps to turn over an engine, the car electronics draw a lot of power, and the main power distribution unit will re-charge the battery at a high amp rate when the car is on. They are also a relatively small sub-compact size (Group Size 51R).   The car is 4 years old, so I figured it was about time for the OEM battery to be replaced.

When I went to examine the battery under the hood, I realized that it needed to be replaced sooner rather than later. It’s never a good sign when the special blue power crystals escape from the positive terminal lug, or battery acid eats the paint off of your battery hold down bar…

So, after spraying foaming battery acid neutralizer all over the place, I re-painted the battery hold down strap and bought a Duralast Platinum 51R AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) battery at AutoZone that comes with a 3 year replacement warranty.   (It was   cheaper than the yellow top Optima AGM battery that is widely recommended for the Leaf, and the warranty period was the same.)

People online have said that AGM’s work better with the high current charge rate provided by the leaf’s power distribution center, and I figure that being sealed they would be less likely to vent acid over other parts of the car. I could have gone with the $70 battery that came with a 3 month warranty, but I figured that the Leaf is hard enough on it’s accessory battery that I’d better pay for the good one.

So far the maintenance needs of the Leaf have been relatively small, and this is the first major item that needed to be replaced. (New tires are coming up soon.) Other than this   battery replacement, I’ve bought new wiper blades, replaced the cabin air filter, refilled the wiper fluid and rotated the tires.

6 thoughts on “Nissan Leaf 12 volt accessory battery replacement

  1. Hi Jay,
    This exact think happened to my wife as well, dash lights, brakes to the floor etc. I had our car towed to Nissan and they wanted to “start by replacing the brake control unit” $3000. I found your article replaced the 12v in the dealer parking lot, all warning lights are gone and they brakes and regenerative brakes work perfect. They told my wife the car was not safe to drive because of the CAM codes that came up on their initial diagnostics. Do you think this is valid? I have driven the car twice since and everything functions great no issue. Have you had any issues since the battery replacement with brakes?

    Thanks for any feedback.

    • Sounds like you just saved $3,000. Our Leaf has been just fine since we replaced the battery.

      If there are zero warning lights, it means that all of the trouble codes have been cleared. If you want to see any future trouble codes yourself, I suggest you buy an OBDII adapter that is compatible with Leaf Spy (and buy the Pro version of Leaf Spy to support the developer). Lots of good info and features in that app for the Leaf.

  2. My 2013 Leaf (I bought it used in 2016) will appear to start up, but will not move, and will only turn off if I don’t touch the brake pedal when I hit the START button. The windows are very slow to open or close, and the driver-side window will not budge. The 12-volt battery shows 8 volts when I test it with my voltmeter. It is the original 12-volt battery, and the car has about 60,000 miles on it. UPDATE, now nothing comes on when I push the START button, completely dead.

  3. Obvious cause is bad battery but when problem continues with new battery, time think something else. Electrical engineer checked mine and found a drain to the head unit even when ignition was off. I’ve told it’s a design fault as Nissan have a feature that sends usage data back to them so they improve their cars, but if the cars can’t make an internet connection it keeps trying until the 12V battery runs out

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