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Hi everyone

I'm very interested in buying a used Leaf, and am wondering if a buyer's guide exists on here?

It would be great if there was some way to benefit from the collective wisdom of existing owners - and understand what common defects to look out for? Also what versions to look out for/avoid.

Does such a discussion exist please? I've tried searching these threads and could not find anything obvious. If there is something, it would be great to have it as a pinned post.

Apologies in advance if I have missed the glaringly obvious.

All the best
 

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Hi everyone

I'm very interested in buying a used Leaf, and am wondering if a buyer's guide exists on here?

It would be great if there was some way to benefit from the collective wisdom of existing owners - and understand what common defects to look out for? Also what versions to look out for/avoid.

Does such a discussion exist please? I've tried searching these threads and could not find anything obvious. If there is something, it would be great to have it as a pinned post.

Apologies in advance if I have missed the glaringly obvious.

All the best
Hello and welcome :) Everything you could ever want is here. Have you got specific questions about a Leaf you have seen for sale?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Scrooge, thank you! No specific vehicle as of yet, but it would be great to have a way of shortlisting those that are for sale and avoid wasting peoples time.

I've done the very basic research, and am aware of the 'battery owned' gotcha. And have a very rudimentary knowledge of the history (eg. initial Japanese vs. UK builds - is there a significance in terms of build quality?). Also that there were some improved charging and capacity options as time progressed.

Hopefully I'll have a test drive or two soon, so any costly problems to look out for would be really handy too :)
 

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I think this is a great idea. A pinned thread buyers guide would make it very easy for potential new Leaf owners to quickly learn about issues others have found on their older models. I'm sure all the information does already exist on the forum, but probably only by searching across multiple threads such as this Buying second hand Nissan Leaf.

I bought a 2nd hand 2015 24kWh Tekna a few months ago, and spent many hours using this forum as a very valuable resource to learn what to look out for, including some of the pinned threads.

A few points from my experience for what its worth:
  • Battery health (obvs). How many people invested in Leafspy and dongle before buying their car? I didn't until afterwards and found no surprises. But I was shown a battery report from a 3 month old service which showed 12 bars, and car (with about 50k miles) had 11 bars at time of purchase. Leafspy reported 84% when I eventually connected it
  • SD card present (if applicable - Teckna only?)
  • Brakes binding / corroded discs
  • Front suspension strut mountings corrosion
  • 3 or 6kW charger
  • Teckna touchscreen responsiveness, particularly top right hand side
  • both charging cables present
 

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Leaf 24 Tekna '64 || Model Y LR on order
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  • Teckna touchscreen responsiveness, particularly top right hand side
  • both charging cables present
What's the known issue with Tekna top right touch screen?

The Type 2 public charger cable is only present if the car was spec'd for 6kW charger, IIRC.



Get a OBD2 dungle and Leafspy mobile app, make sure no large cell voltage differences. Rule of thumb would be less than 50 mV.

Remember the capacity bars are lost at 85%, 78% and so on. So if Leafspy State of Health (SoH) reading is near those values, may be possible to use it as bargain chip to say it is about to loose another health bar.
 

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What's the known issue with Tekna top right touch screen?

The Type 2 public charger cable is only present if the car was spec'd for 6kW charger, IIRC.



Get a OBD2 dungle and Leafspy mobile app, make sure no large cell voltage differences. Rule of thumb would be less than 50 mV.

Remember the capacity bars are lost at 85%, 78% and so on. So if Leafspy State of Health (SoH) reading is near those values, may be possible to use it as bargain chip to say it is about to loose another health bar.
Touchscreen issue mentioned in threads such as this: Touch screen not working. Mine isn't too bad, but it takes a few presses to get some of the buttons on the RHS working, frustratingly the 'back' button which is right in the corner. I've tried recalibrating, but doesn't improve performance. Not a big deal for me unless you use the satnav a lot.

I didn't realise the type 2 cable only came with a 6kW charger car. How do people manage connecting a 3kW car to a modern home charger which will have a type 2 connector?
 

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Okay, I see. I've no problem with my touch screen, knock on wood, fingers crossed.....

Just buy a cable to charge at home? I've bought 2, one to keep plugged in at home and another for car parks.
 

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I always like to mention to prospective Leaf buyers that when taking the car for a test drive, after having driven it, feel the rear brake discs. If one or both are warm or even worse hot, there is a good chance the car has a seized parking brake cable. This is a £450 repair with parts only available from Nissan.

I would also recommend taking out a third party warranty if you were to buy a used Leaf that is outside of the manufacturer warranty. Certain parts can cost over £1000 to repair should they go wrong. I am paying £13.30 per month with warranty direct who also include AA breakdown cover.

Definitely get LeafSpy and a compatible OBD reader to check battery health before buying. Also a good idea to ask the seller of the car if they are OK with you plugging it in before you make a trip. I personally wouldn't even look at a Leaf if you can't confirm battery health.

Check the strut mounts for rust. There is a sticky on here explaining. Unless they have been covered since nearly new, expect to find some rust but some are worse than others.

When taking a test drive, take a minute to drive along with the fans and radio off to listen for any rattles that might annoy you. I wish I had done that as we have an annoying rattle coming from somewhere in the dash that we can't locate.

Make sure to turn on the heating to make sure it heats up quickly. If it doesn't get hot quickly you may have a broken PTC heater. £1000+ fix.

I think leaf's pre 2015 came with both a type 1 to type 2 charging cable and the granny cable. 2015 and later I think only came with the granny charger make sure the right cables are included as they are expensive.

Make sure you have the sat nav SD card behind the touch screen. There is a button to push that rotates the screen. A replacement SD card is about £100 I think. Not that you will use the maps because they are rubbish.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head.
 

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I didn't realise the type 2 cable only came with a 6kW charger car. How do people manage connecting a 3kW car to a modern home charger which will have a type 2 connector?
I think leaf's pre 2015 came with both a type 1 to type 2 charging cable and the granny cable. 2015 and later I think only came with the granny charger make sure the right cables are included as they are expensive.
It's a bit tricky to predict exactly what charge cable a used Leaf should come with since Nissan changed their approach several times. The first generation Japan-built Leafs came with both 13A and Type2 lead IIRC. Once production started in Sunderland in autumn 2013, Nissan switched to providing just 13A for 3.3kW cars and just Type2 cable for 6.6kW charger cars; our 2014 Leaf has the 6.6 kW charger so I got the Type 2 cable and had to buy a 13A charger from eBay (we have a tethered Type1 charge point at home to make life easy anyway). Subsequently, I think at around the time Nissan launched the 30kW model in 2015-ish along with updated infotainment system, they went back to providing both leads again. I have no direct experience after that, but things may well have changed again as many manufacturers started giving away just one cable for free, spotting an opportunity to sell you the missing one as an optional extra...
 

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@bix_the_dog Welcome to the forum. You are doing the right thing getting the collective wisdom of owners on here.
I bought my Tekna 30kw with 6-7 kw onboard charger 3 years ago last April and I absolutely love it.
Do the obvious things on here as others have written and when you do buy make sure you also buy a brand-new 12v battery as that is something that can give all sorts of mischievous errors and faults. If you start off with a new one it's one less future headache gone and you know it's condition. Buy a conditioning charger like the c-tek ones and use it once a month at least. This is true of all EV's they seem to treat the 12v system as an add-on and there is no way to top up charge it directly from the traction battery, and the automatic systems they employ just don't work too well.


I personally also highly recommend getting the 6-7kw onboard as you can then take better advantage of the cheap overnight tariffs. The 3kw will take much longer and run into your normal tariff. It's also better with the supermarket pod-points, it's hardly worth it with a 3kw.

Do the usual stuff as for any vehicle, rock the wheels for bearing and joint play, check under and along the sills for rust, inside the door pillars and particularly the rear hatch wells, if someone has taken the trouble to keep them clean and free of detritus, then chances are they will have looked after the rest of the vehicle. If in particular the hatch door wells have lots of leaves and pine needles, then it's not been well looked after. Check the rear brake brakes as stated in another comment here after driving a bit to see if they are hot. Look at the tyres to see if they are feathering on the edges for tracking errors or more serious suspension issues. The Tekna uses 17" rims (expensive tyres), the Acenta 15" which use much cheaper, have a far bigger range of tyres and are about 1/2 the price.
If you are a gadget man like me you won't care about the cost of tyres, you just want the all-round cameras bird's eye view, heated steering wheel etc. all the Tekna toys.....

Be aware the Leaf has an unduly massive "A" pillar and it obstructs your view of the oncoming traffic on right-hand bends, I have nearly come a cropper several times because of this. Get used to pivoting your body to look around this hazard. Frankly I'm amazed it ever passed safety inspections when first manufactured, it really is that big and I personally think it's downright dangerous.

Be aware Nissan have penny-pinched in many areas with the Leaf. For a £34,000 car, it has a pathetic boot light, no 12v outlet in the boot and no puddle lights, all should be standard on a car like this. Also the 2016 Leaf has LED dipped beam, everything else uses incandescent even the main beam. Absolutely stupid, my old 1981 Astra had better headlights.

Good luck with your search, hope you get a good 'un.

Cheers Tony.
 

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Be aware the Leaf has an unduly massive "A" pillar and it obstructs your view of the oncoming traffic on right-hand bends, I have nearly come a cropper several times because of this. Get used to pivoting your body to look around this hazard. Frankly I'm amazed it ever passed safety inspections when first manufactured, it really is that big and I personally think it's downright dangerous.
Yes. I have never read anyone mention this before. I was driving through an underground Tesco carpark a few weeks ago that has zebra crossings. I drove slowly up to one and never saw any pedestrians approaching it until just as I was driving over the crossing I noticed a pretty angry looking gentleman standing at the edge of the crossing.

The man must have walked up to the crossing staying in the massive blindspot the whole time. I felt terrible about that. I am glad I was going slow at the time as that could have ended badly.
 

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I am paying £13.30 per month with warranty direct who also include AA breakdown cover.
Have you ever tried to claim on that? I looked into getting one but advice on the net was that third party warranties cover very little and make repairs either more expensive or awkward to do (approved parts, mechanics, paperwork etc).

I bought a Leaf with little caution and apart from a handbrake that needs quite a lot of force to hold the car it seems fine. Cleevely are coming by for a major service next week so we'll see what they say.
 

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Not yet and hopefully never have to!

I went through the terms and conditions very carefully and it seemed fair. I got it in writing from the that specific high cost components are covered such as the PTC heater.
 

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Lots of good points so far. One that hasn't come up yet but is worth checking is the wear of the rear tyres. Some early Leafs had poorly aligned rear wheels leading to uneven tyre wear. In a few extreme cases i think this led to replacement of the rear axle. However, i know that it is also possible to re-align the rear wheels via shimming them. Only grease monkey's with experience and talent should attempt this :) many/most garages will give you a blank look (or worse).

Also, 2011/12 Leafs only had the PTC heater (uses a lot of battery, and prone to go wrong).

The most important thing is to get an OBD2 reader/dongle and Leafspy and look at the state of the battery and the charging history.

Lastly, when the 12V battery wears out there's all sorts of weird stuff that will happen. There's a deep irony that a dodgy 12V causes issues; when the car is essentially a battery on wheels, but it's common on Leafs and not unheard of in other EVs.

When you do your first test drive, you may be amazed at how good and quiet these cars are. Good luck.
 

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Lots of good points so far. One that hasn't come up yet but is worth checking is the wear of the rear tyres. Some early Leafs had poorly aligned rear wheels leading to uneven tyre wear. In a few extreme cases i think this led to replacement of the rear axle. However, i know that it is also possible to re-align the rear wheels via shimming them. Only grease monkey's with experience and talent should attempt this :) many/most garages will give you a blank look (or worse).

Also, 2011/12 Leafs only had the PTC heater (uses a lot of battery, and prone to go wrong).

The most important thing is to get an OBD2 reader/dongle and Leafspy and look at the state of the battery and the charging history.

Lastly, when the 12V battery wears out there's all sorts of weird stuff that will happen. There's a deep irony that a dodgy 12V causes issues; when the car is essentially a battery on wheels, but it's common on Leafs and not unheard of in other EVs.

When you do your first test drive, you may be amazed at how good and quiet these cars are. Good luck.
Leaf quiet...? :ROFLMAO: Ok, I have a roof rack on...
 
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