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Every car has a set of warning lights that appear on the dashboard indicating a malfunction of some sort. It is important to address these problems as soon as they come, or it might turn into a breakdown scenario. An even worse situation would be if it increases the safety risks to you or the other passengers. This post would be discussing the warning lights in a Nissan Leaf.
To be fair, your dashboard has several indicators that show you the status of various onboard systems. However, not all of them pose a safety risk to you or can evolve into a breakdown. Thus, we will only be discussing the warning lights that you can see on your dash.
12-volt battery charge warning light
As the name indicates this indicates something is wrong with the 12V battery under the hood. This warning light is usually accompanied by the Red Master Warning light and EV System warning light. A chime followed by this light glowing continuously signifies the problem.
Usually, the problem is something to do with the DC/DC converter. It charges the 12V battery from the main lithium-ion battery pack. Moreover, it also powers all the car’s auxiliary systems while driving. Hence it is recommended not to drive the vehicle when this light is found on. Furthermore, remember not to charge your vehicle when this error is seen as it may damage the charging system.
As a troublesome 12V battery may lead to several problems, Nissan advises you to visit an authorized dealership to diagnose the root cause.
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) warning light
The anti-lock braking system (ABS) is one of the most important safety features of the car. It significantly improves the control a driver has in slippery conditions or in the event of panic-braking.
If you see this warning light in your Nissan Leaf, it signifies a malfunction with the ABS unit. At this point, the ABS is turned off and thus it is risky to drive under this condition.
However, the basic braking function still exists. Thus, you should be able to take it carefully to the nearest dealer for a proper diagnosis.
Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians (VSP) system OFF warning light
As you might know, one of the biggest safety hazards for pedestrians (and disadvantages for a petrol head) of an EV is the lack of sound. Thus, the car emits a sound while moving at speeds below 30 kph to alert pedestrians of the moving vehicle.
Hence, if you see this warning light up in your Nissan leaf, understand that there is a problem with this system. As the heading suggests, this means that either the system has been manually turned off or it is malfunctioning. While this does not mean that there is any danger to you or the car, you should get it rectified for the safety of the pedestrians.
Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) with Pedestrian Detection system warning light
The Nissan Leaf has a very important safety feature with regards to pedestrians. A front-mounted camera detects the presence of pedestrians or vehicles in front of your car. Accordingly, if it determines that a collision is imminent, then it automatically applies the emergency brakes to reduce the possibility and extent of the damage.
The warning light is visible if the system has been turned off. If the warning light is visible even though you have turned the AEB with the Pedestrian Detection system on, then there is a problem with it. You would need to get this checked out at the dealer.
Brake system warning light (yellow)
This light signifies problems with either the regenerative brakes or intelligent braking assists as mentioned in the point above. If you see this warning light on your Nissan Leaf while you are driving, then there is most likely a problem with either of the two systems. You should ask your dealer to check out the problem on your next visit.
On the other hand, if you see this warning lit up along with the Red Brake Warning Light (covered in the next point), immediately stop the vehicle as this might pose a safety risk. Get a diagnosis of the problem and its rectification as soon as possible.
Brake warning light (red)
As mentioned above, if you see this light lit up, then you should exercise caution. This light generally indicates that your parking brake is activated. However, if you see this light activated when you are driving your car and your parking brake is turned off, the meaning of the warning light changes.
In this case, it signifies a fundamental problem with the hydraulic braking systems. An initial check that you can make is that the brake fluid is filled up to the mark according to the owner’s manual. If it is within the acceptable limits (probably after a top-up) and the light is still lit, the problem might be with the warning system. Then all you can do is ask a Nissan certified dealer to take a look at it.
Here, we feel it’s prudent to warn you that with this warning light on, it won’t be safe to drive the car as the brakes may not be at their full functionality. The stopping distances may be increased and hence drive the car to the service centre only if you feel safe in it. Otherwise, you can have the car towed to the nearest repair garage.
Electronic parking brake system warning light (yellow)
The above case showed a warning light for the parking brake. Similarly, if the warning is flashing yellow (when the parking brake is not engaged), there is a problem with your parking brake, and it may malfunction. Avoid parking in tricky spots till you can ask an auto mechanic to fix it for you.
Electric shift control system warning light
While this car uses a fairly simple gearbox, the Nissan Leaf may face transmission problems from time to time. This warning light is an indication of any transmission problems that your car may be facing for the time being.
One possible reason you may see and hear this warning is that you did not engage your parking brake when your vehicle is stationary. The only way to silence the continuous chiming is to apply it. If this does not resolve the issue, then you might need to get the system serviced.
Electric Vehicle (EV) system warning light
This warning light can signify one of many problems. It may refer to a malfunction occurring in the following systems –
- Traction motor and inverter system
- Charge port or on-board charger
- Cooling system
- Shift control system
- Emergency shutoff system
Unfortunately, there are no DIY solutions to this problem. Thus like the other problems in the list, you might have to get it checked at your dealer.
Low tire pressure warning light
Modern cars now have pressure sensors at each wheel that warn you when the pressure of a wheel is lower than desired levels. When you see this warning light switched on, it means one of two things. Either one of the tires has low air pressure or the TPMS is malfunctioning.
In the first case, you will see a warning message on your dash asking you to add air. You will also be able to see which tire is depleted. This error will go away only after you have readjusted the air pressure and driven at a speed of 16 mph (~25kph) or higher. If the error persists over one minute of operation (after adjusting air levels), then the TPMS is malfunctioning.
It is important to note that driving with low tire pressure can not only damage your wheels but also pose a safety risk to you in the event of any sudden turns. Moreover, when you change or replace one of the tires (probably in the event of a puncture), the spare tire may not have a TPMS system installed. Thus, remember to drive carefully if you see this light switch on or if you have recently switched to your spare tire.
Master warning light (red/yellow)
These warning lights exist only to make you aware that there is something wrong with the car. The lights themselves do not signify any malfunction within a particular sub-system. The yellow warning light glows when you have another yellow level warning in the car. On the other hand, the red one does the same when a red warning is active for some system.
Power steering warning light
Power steering essentially helps you reduce the amount of effort required while moving the steering. Thus, if this warning light stays lit during driving conditions it means there is a malfunction in the power steering system. You should get it rectified when possible.
You don’t need to worry too much as the vehicle is still safe to drive, and under your control. However, you will require considerable effort while making turns, especially for slow speed, and sharp turns.
Rear Automatic Braking (RAB) warning light
Like the AEB mentioned before for collisions while driving forward, the RAB works towards stopping collisions while reversing. If the RAB warning light is illuminated in your Nissan leaf, then it means that the system is probably offline.
In the case that the system has actually been turned on, then there is some malfunction in the system. You might need to get it serviced when possible. Till then, you just need to be extra careful while reversing. Fortunately, you have some revolutionary technology on your car called “rear-view mirrors”.
Seat belt warning light
I’m sure we have all been annoyed by this warning at some point in our lives. The warning accompanied by a chiming sound indicates that either you or your passenger (if they are present) does not have their seatbelt on.
The sound and warning light goes away as soon as you buckle in. If this is not the case, there might be a problem that needs to be rectified at the dealer’s end.
Supplemental airbag warning light
In the case of an accident, supplemental airbags can save your life. Thus, this warning is not to be taken lightly. If this light does not stop glowing after more than 7 seconds of switching your car on, then there might be a problem with the system. In this case, either the front, curtain/side airbags, or the seatbelt pre-tensioner system may not be functioning.
This condition poses a significant threat to life in the event of a crash. Hence you should get this serviced immediately at a Nissan certified dealer.
This concludes with a brief description of all the warning lights that are present in the Nissan Leaf. We would highly recommend that you go through the owner’s manual for the Nissan Leaf. All these warnings are explained in more detail in the manual.
It is important to understand that a system check is performed every time you turn on your car. Therefore, momentarily some of these lights will turn on. However, they should all switch off (unless the system is in use or switched off) about 10 seconds after switching your car on. If any of the lights are switched on after this period, you should look into their meaning and fix the problem in time depending on the severity of the problem.
As you must have realized, most of the problems can only be solved at the end of the dealer. Nevertheless, the owner’s manual has several DIY fixes that you can try when some of these problems arise. Hopefully, the situation never arises where you need to use these.