Nissan LEAF Recall Issued Due to Risk Brakes May Freeze In Cold Weather

Nearly 50,000 Nissan LEAF electric vehicles are being recalled due to the potential risk that the braking system may fail during freezing temperatures, posing a brake loss hazard and increasing the risk of an accident. 

The Nissan LEAF recall was announced by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on March 11, 2016, because the relay inside of the electronic brake booster may freeze during frigid temperatures.

While no injuries or accidents have been reported in connection with the defect on the electric vehicles, this could cause a complete loss of unassisted braking power.

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The recalled vehicles are equipped with an e-ACT Electrically-driven Intelligent Brake Control Unit, which electronically applies additional braking power to assist the driver. In severely cold temperatures, the vehicles may enter a mode that decreases braking assistance that will be unfamiliar to the driver.

In October 2015, officials from Transport Canada launched a voluntary service campaign in the U.S. and Canada for model year 2013 through 2015 Nissan LEAF (Leading, Environmentally Friendly, Affordable, Family Car) vehicles after receiving several complaints from customers that the vehicle would go into “VDC assist” mode upon vehicle start-up in extremely cold weather conditions.

Nissan Canada began investigating the claims in collaborating with Transport Canada and discovered the severely cold temperatures could cause the vehicle’s relay inside of the electronic brake booster to freeze, thus requiring the driver to apply more than normal braking effort.

On February 29, Nissan Canada concluded its investigation and determined a valid safety risk was present, meriting the company to change the status of the “service campaign” to a safety recall.

Nissan Canada announced in a bulletin posted to their website on March 2, 2016, for customers to be aware of an illumination of the brake warning lamp. When the affected vehicles are parked in extremely cold temperatures for an extended period of time, upon startup, the brake warning lamp may illuminate and the brake system may switch to a special assist mode. In this mode, the brakes are operational, but require more pedal effort.

The recall includes an estimated 46,859 model year 2013 through 2015 Nissan LEAF vehicles that were manufactured from November 19, 2012 to July 31, 2015. The vehicles were sold across the nation in the U.S. and in Canada at licensed Nissan dealers. Owners who received a “Service Campaign” notice in the mail previously regarding the voluntary repair should be informed that the defect has now been classified as a safety recall and additional notice will be provided.

Nissan North America, Inc. plans to send individual notice to owners and dealers informing them of the recall issue and the repair plan. The repair will require customers to schedule an appointment at their local Nissan dealer to have the dealer reprogram the Intelligent Brake Control Unit software, free of charge. According to the NHTSA, a notification schedule has not been provided yet by Nissan, but customers may contact Nissan customer service at 1-800-647-7261 for further questions and concerns.


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