Speak EV - Electric Car Forums banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
May I through your forum, let others know of the danger of being locked inside a Leaf.

Earlier this year, I bought a 2011 Leaf, and as it was not going to be used straight away, I put it away in my garage. A few weeks ago, I went to the Leaf and was unable to open the drivers door with the remote fob.... I used the manual key to get in and sat on the drivers seat and duly shut the door. I tried the start button to activate the car and it was completely dead. I then tried to open the drivers door, the door would not open and was the same for all the doors and boot lid.... the electric windows also would not open.... I was trapped inside, in my garage with no one around who could help. The Leaf is a very well sealed car and I quickly realized that I could soon run out of air. I was not able to break the window with my fist or foot. so crawled back into the rear and found a metal jack handle, with this I was able to break the window and reach out with the manual key to open the door and get out!

I had thought that the battery in my remote was dead, so was replaced... actually it was the 12v battery under the bonnet that had discharged and was preventing me using the remote key... I have since realized that because the car was inside my garage, the 12v battery was not able to be charged by the mini solar panel on the roof had it been outside in light/sunshine.

My warning to fellow Leaf owners is; If your remote does not let you into your locked car, you can use the manual key to access, but DO NOT GO IN AND SHUT THE DOOR BEHIND YOU, IT WILL LOCK YOU IN!.... You will need to check the key fob battery or the 12v battery under the bonnet and replace and/or charge as required before getting in the car and shutting the door.
 

·
Registered
Hyundai Ioniq 28
Joined
·
8,339 Posts
This has been reported before. See here.

Locked in Leaf | Page 2 | Speak EV - Electric Car Forums

Scroll to post #32 for how to open the boot from inside.

A useful tip is that the headrest steel legs have pointed ends so if the headrest is removed from the seat back those sharp steel points will break a window easily. Much like having one of those window hammers really.

Also, the issue of parked cars running the 12v DC battery down has been reported dozens of times in here. Use the search facility to look for many threads on that subject. The answer is usually to use the physical key and then open the bonnet to get at the 12v battery. Then jump another 12v battery on there and that will enable the car to start and the traction battery then charge up the 12v battery.

Similarly, a fob battery running down can usually be made to work by using the actual fob to press the start button. That close proximity has been known to work many times to start a car and give time to replace the fob battery.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Well I'll offer both sympathy to the OP and thanks for the reminder. I hadn't realised that the interior door handles were electrically operated. Thanks also for the link to the previous thread, knowing about the hatchback latch might be useful someday
 

·
Registered
Kia e-Niro 4 MY20, Zoe Z.E.50 GT Line
Joined
·
1,563 Posts
May I through your forum, let others know of the danger of being locked inside a Leaf.

Earlier this year, I bought a 2011 Leaf, and as it was not going to be used straight away, I put it away in my garage. A few weeks ago, I went to the Leaf and was unable to open the drivers door with the remote fob.... I used the manual key to get in and sat on the drivers seat and duly shut the door. I tried the start button to activate the car and it was completely dead. I then tried to open the drivers door, the door would not open and was the same for all the doors and boot lid.... the electric windows also would not open.... I was trapped inside, in my garage with no one around who could help. The Leaf is a very well sealed car and I quickly realized that I could soon run out of air. I was not able to break the window with my fist or foot. so crawled back into the rear and found a metal jack handle, with this I was able to break the window and reach out with the manual key to open the door and get out!

I had thought that the battery in my remote was dead, so was replaced... actually it was the 12v battery under the bonnet that had discharged and was preventing me using the remote key... I have since realized that because the car was inside my garage, the 12v battery was not able to be charged by the mini solar panel on the roof had it been outside in light/sunshine.

My warning to fellow Leaf owners is; If your remote does not let you into your locked car, you can use the manual key to access, but DO NOT GO IN AND SHUT THE DOOR BEHIND YOU, IT WILL LOCK YOU IN!.... You will need to check the key fob battery or the 12v battery under the bonnet and replace and/or charge as required before getting in the car and shutting the door.
Well that must have been scary…. Dead 12v batteries are an inevitability on any modern car left idle. I’m sure the Leaf isn’t unusual in letting someone get trapped in this way, but still. Best practice with a car sitting idle for a while is to stick a battery conditioner on it. The small solar panel things can be helpful but usually just delay battery failure a bit rather than prevent it.

worth noting the 12v battery should be replaced, if you haven’t already. A deep discharge will have damaged it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
523 Posts
For what it is worth, My Eniro does NOT have points on the headrest legs and is impossible to remove without reclining (electrically) the seat a fair way as it fouls on the headlining.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,221 Posts
This leads to an interesting point.

Some local authorities in the UK have refused Tesla Model 3 to be registered as mini cabs because the rear doors do not have a mechanical override handle to open the door (the front doors have a mechanical handle as well as the electronic release button).

No once has ever raised this with the leaf that I am aware of because the handle looks like a handle. However, if they are indeed electronic with no mechanical override then those same local authorities should not be allowing the leaf to be registered as a mini cab either (and I should note that I'm not necessarily agreeing with their criteria, just looking for consistent application of the rules).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,938 Posts
I don't think it's that the LEAF door handles are electronic. Because to my knowledge they aren't. I just think the physical key keeps the door locked, but allows the lock to be overridden by the use of the key and external handle.

This is a similar situation with Mercedes in some of their older cars, and one of these I know for sure has mechanical handles inside and out, but the way that the key works is by overriding the lock rather than unlocking the door.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,203 Posts
Well I'll offer both sympathy to the OP and thanks for the reminder. I hadn't realised that the interior door handles were electrically operated. Thanks also for the link to the previous thread, knowing about the hatchback latch might be useful someday
The interior door release handles are not electrically operated as far as I know. However the locking mechanism is, so if the doors are locked and there is no power you can't unlock the door from the inside to then use the manual release handle. Why the door would be locked again after using the key blade to unlock it I can't figure out though.

Getting into any modern car with a completely dead 12v battery and closing the door behind you is probably a bad idea as all modern cars use electrically operated door locks / deadbolts even if the door open handle is manual.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,203 Posts
Well that must have been scary…. Dead 12v batteries are an inevitability on any modern car left idle. I’m sure the Leaf isn’t unusual in letting someone get trapped in this way, but still. Best practice with a car sitting idle for a while is to stick a battery conditioner on it. The small solar panel things can be helpful but usually just delay battery failure a bit rather than prevent it.
As long as it's not plugged into the wall a Leaf should give the 12v battery a 4 minute top up from the traction battery once every 24 hours and thus keep it topped up. So in theory it shouldn't go flat. I've left mine for several weeks not plugged in not driven when it was off the road for a repair and the 12v battery did not go flat.

However fault conditions can cause the 12v battery to be discharged very quickly, towards the end of that several week period when it was off the road for a repair I had removed a specific fuse to prevent the parking brake locking when turning the car off (long story, but it's a Nissan recommended procedure before gearbox removal) and within 24 hours the 12v battery was completely dead - right down to 4 volts.

My theory is that leaving the parking brake supply fuse out caused the ECU responsible for locking the parking brake to stay awake continuously trying to apply the parking brake instead of going to sleep a few minutes after the car was turned off like it normally would - the battery was literally dead within 24 hours after I pulled that fuse.

So any fault that might cause an ECU to stay awake has the potential to run the battery flat very quickly and the 4 minute every 24 hour topup would not be enough to counteract that...

And of course an interior light left on (which is easy to do) would also run the battery flat in a few days and the 24 hour top up would not be enough to counteract it.

worth noting the 12v battery should be replaced, if you haven’t already. A deep discharge will have damaged it.
Mine has had one deep discharge in the incident described above with the parking brake fuse and after charging (within a day of it being discharged) it seems fine, touch wood, however in the OP's case where the cause of it going flat is unknown and it could have been flat for a long time before discovery I would definitely replace it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,203 Posts
This has been reported before. See here.

Locked in Leaf | Page 2 | Speak EV - Electric Car Forums

Scroll to post #32 for how to open the boot from inside.
Good tip. If I was locked in mine I would also have been climbing into the boot to see if there was some way to manually release the boot as there certainly isn't with the other doors.
A useful tip is that the headrest steel legs have pointed ends so if the headrest is removed from the seat back those sharp steel points will break a window easily. Much like having one of those window hammers really.
I thought that was actually a requirement now for headrest pins to be able to smash windows as a safety feature, yet not all cars have it ?
Similarly, a fob battery running down can usually be made to work by using the actual fob to press the start button. That close proximity has been known to work many times to start a car and give time to replace the fob battery.
The fob has both an unpowered passive RFID transponder (like the one in a credit card) as well as a separate powered RF receiver and transmitter. When the fob battery is good the car transmits a short range signal from both inside and outside the car, the fob recognises those signals, can tell whether it's inside or outside the car and transmits a response back to the car on a high frequency.

From that the car can tell if the key is not present, outside one of the doors, or inside the car. If it's outside the doors it allows you to use the lock button on the handles or boot. If it's inside the car it allows you to use the start button.

If the battery in the fob is dead none of that proximity sensing works, however the backup is an RFID antenna which is located at the start button and has a range of around 6 inches. So if the fob battery is completely dead hold it within a few inches of the start button and press the start button and it will work.

I have had to do that in mine and can confirm this does work. Of course if you open the car with the key blade the alarm will go off and will continue to alert until you start the car.

There is a danger to driving the car with a dead battery in the fob though - it is possible to lock the key in the car. So be very aware of where the key is when you leave the car.

If the fob battery is dead the only way to exit the car and lock all doors behind you is to get out of the car, then with the drivers door still open press the lock button on the drivers door arm rest which will function with the door still open and lock all doors, (normally it won't let you do this with the door open if the fob battery is working) and then swing the door closed and all doors will be locked. However nothing stops the key being in the car when you do this because the car doesn't know where the key is...

Using the key blade to lock the drivers door will unfortunately not lock any of the other doors, using the button on the arm rest is the only way to lock all the other doors with a flat fob battery.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top