Warning lights leading to LEAF that won’t run

Specs and Info


Some 2011 LEAF® vehicles may not go into “READY to drive” mode under certain conditions and, as a result, may not start. Nissan has issued a technical service bulletin addressing this issue, NTB11038. The fix is to have the Vehicle Control Module (VCM) reprogrammed by a Nissan dealer. A side effect of the reprogramming is an improvement in the accuracy of the Driving Range Display.


LEAF shows the master warning light, the yellow triangle warning, the “EV!” system light (yellow car symbol with an exlamation mark), the battery check light, and the PS light. The car seems to function normally (albeit with the warning lights on). However, if you turn off the car at that point, upon power on, you will only be able to select ‘P’ or ‘N’, that is, the car will no longer move.

A common sequence of events to reproduce this problem seems to be:

  • Turn the car on to “accessories” mode and turn on the A/C, or turn on the A/C pre-cooling via the iPhone application.
  • Wait 15-30 minutes.
  • Try to turn the car to “ON”.
  • Other ways to deliberately reproduce the problem:

    • http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?p=74479#p74479
    • http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?p=74582#p74582

    What LEAFs Are Affected

  • One dealership claims that 200 LEAFs are affected.
  • One Nissan Service Manager says that they do not have the ability to determine which LEAF is impacted by this issue, but another dealership’s Service Manager was able to determine that a specific VIN IS impacted.
  • There is a conjecture that perhaps March-delivery LEAFs are affected.
  • The VINs of reported incidents (where a VIN is reported) appears to be among March deliveries. (The VIN/actual delivery date is from the Google spreadsheet where Leaf buyers/owners record information about their Leaf reservation/order/delivery.)

    What To Do

    If this happens in your LEAF, do not turn off the car until you have gotten off the road and come to a reasonable parking spot.
    After getting off the road and to a reasonable parking place, your best bet is to call Nissan road-side service to have the car towed/transported to a Nissan dealer.
    After getting the car to a dealer, tell them about this problem. There’s a software update that apparently fixes, or at least, mitigates, this problem.
    After getting the software update, check your charging timers to make sure they were not cleared during the process.

    Quick Temporary Fix

    ‘Before you attempt this fix, be aware that there is VERY REAL danger from high voltage”.

    If you are in a huge hurry and absolutely cannot wait for a tow, a quick “work-around” is to disconnect the 12V battery’s negative terminal and wait about 10 minutes then re-connect it. (You can use a 10mm wrench or socket to loosen the bolt on the negative terminal’s clamp.) This should allow you to start and operate the car normally again. The 12V power interruption may have “cleared” the error code that prohibits re-start. Also, it’s a good idea to honk the horn and/or turn on the headlights after the terminal is disconnected to bleed off any residual charge in various capacitors. Some people make a “quick disconnect” by adding a wing nut (13mm wrench or socket):

    Reports of LEAFs Having/Not Having This Problem

    LEAFs having this problem

    There have been 22 reports of this “won’t run” problem, from 18 LEAFs:

  • Carlos, VIN #872, reported Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:56 pm, update on Mar 30, 2011, now running 3NA0B.
  • In order of date reported (VIN unknown):
  • azdre, reported Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:32 pm:
  • palmermd, reported Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:22 am: version 3NA0B
  • mogur, Mar delivery, reported Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:40 am: “turned on to accessory mode, in park, turn on AC”, “10 minutes later, changed to ‘On’ mode: could not select Reverse”.
  • LBCev, reported Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:13 pm:
  • WLC, reported Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:29 am:
  • twomets, reported Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:17 am: “the precipitating event was turning on the air conditioner while the car was in motion”
  • azdre (second time), reported Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:32 pm:
  • leafwing (second time), reported Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:20 pm:
  • mark, reported Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:48 pm: warning lights came on while driving, “power down” at stop light, on power up, can only select ‘P’ and ‘N’.
  • cyellen, reported Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:58 pm
  • leafster, reported Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:02 pm: pic of dashboard showing warning lights.
  • EVDRIVER, reported Sun Apr 03, 2011 5:33 pm: “parked, pre-cooled, car would not start”.
  • mogur, reported Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:21 pm, second time: “turned on the AC once the car was on and moving. About 10 minutes later I get the dreaded triangle, etc.”
  • leafster (second time), reported Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:35 pm: not sure if this is the same problem because there is no mention of “cannot move car”.
  • BC3, reported Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:24 pm
  • Googler, reported May 07, 2011 10:29 pm.
  • cashu2, reported Mon May 23, 2011 12:54 am.
  • Software version reported that have no problem

    (How to display LEAF’s software version.)

    Information, Theories

    The first report of a dealer visit for this problem mentioned that a salesman said that “the factory overcharged the A/C“. (There was a question as to whether the salesman may have been confused between “A/C” (as in “air conditioning”) and “AC” (as in “alternating current”).)
    Another report said “LEAF Tech line told dealer to evacuate the AC lines and recharge“. Separately, a dealership-type person mentioned the same procedure.
    One car’s A/C system was overcharged. It was recharged. After that, the problem can no longer be reproduced. it is questionable as to whether re-charging is really the fix.
    The problem is thought to be related to pre-cooling the car, but there are several counterexamples to that theory:

    • http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?p=74802#p74802
    • http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?p=74066#p74066
    • http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?p=74818#p74818

    There has been no report of this problem when pre-heating the car.

    Malfunctioning Sensor

    Another theory is that a sensor, possibly the Insulation Resistance (IR) sensor, senses a current leak and assumes that there is a short somewhere and thus intervenes to prevent further operation of the car.
    The current leak may have been caused by the A/C compressor drawing more current than it should. (The A/C runs off of the high-voltage battery?)

    Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs)

  • Info on DTCs:
    Description INFOID:0000000006977355
    DTC “P3127“ is detected with DTC “P0AA6“. If DTC “P3127“ detected, Perform trouble diagnosis for “P0AA6“.
    Refer to EVC-136, “Description”.
    Description INFOID:0000000006977190
    Li-ion battery is equipped with the IR (Insulation resistance) sensing system.
    VCM Vehicle Control Module receives the IR sensor signal sent from Li-ion battery controller
    and monitors the insulation resistance of the high voltage circuit.
    DTC Logic INFOID:0000000006977191
    (High voltage circuit insulation is low)
    VCM detects a insulation resistance calculated
    based on IR sensor signal sent from Li-ion battery is 380 kW or less.
    • High voltage harness or connectors
    • Electric compressor
    • PTC elements heater
    • Traction motor
    • On-board charger
    • Li-ion battery
    • DC/DC J/B
    Other DTCs involved: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?p=75863#p75863

    Chronology of Diagnoses and Actions


    On some 2011 Nissan LEAF vehicles, a diagnostic programming error may under certain conditions detect a “problem” with the air conditioning system that does not exist, preventing the vehicle from going into “Ready” mode the next time you attempt to start the car. This issue does not occur when the vehicle is being driven. However, the vehicle may not restart after being turned off.


    To assure your continued satisfaction and confidence in your car, your EV Certified Nissan Dealer will reprogram the Vehicle ! Control Module free of charge for parts and labor at a time and location that best meets your needs. Typically performed at your Nissan EV Dealer, the reprogramming can also be completed by an EV Certified technician at your home or place of business provided there is a suitable and safe work area. Please discuss with your Nissan EV Dealer regarding timing and location.

    This reprogramming will address the failure to restart issue, as well as improve the accuracy of the driving range display.


    Contact your EV Certified Nissan Dealer at your earliest convenience in order to arrange your appointment.

    This service is free of charge and the work should take about one hour to complete. To ensure the least inconvenience to you, it is important that you have an appointment before bringing your vehicle to the dealer for service. Please bring this notice with you to your service appointment. Detailed instructions have been sent to your EV Certified Nissan Dealer.

    If the dealer fails, or is unable to complete the service free of charge, you may contact the Nissan LEAF Call Center, Nissan North America, Inc., P.O. Box 685003, Franklin, TN 37068-5003. The toll free number is 1-877-N0-GAS-EV-(1-877-664-2738).

    Thank you for providing us an opportunity to ensure on-going satisfaction with your Nissan LEAF. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

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