1. The Leaf needs very little service, other than the annual battery check, and regular tire rotations. Periodically check the 12v battery and top off the cells with distilled water. The brake fluid should be replaced every couple years in humid environments. The cabin air filter should be done once a year (about an hour DIY with $12 filter, or $100 at the dealer).
2. SD cards are programmed to the NAV unit. They are not interchangeable between cars. This is a deal breaker. Do not buy unless the NAV unit is fully functional. Also, make sure you get two key FOBS as part of the deal. They have to be programmed to the car, and the dealers charge $300 to replace them.
3. Leaf Spy Lite (the free version) should work. Just for checking batteries before purchase, you can use your phone. I have the Pro Version installed on a separate Android tablet. The ELM327 blue-tooth dongles work well, but it has to be a version 1.5 for the Leaf (version 2.1 dongles won't work). The three important things to note are the SOH, Hx, and AHr numbers. The battery does not need to be fully charged when checking.
4. With 2013 and newer models, just ask about the service history and if the recalls and software updates have been done. Confirm the in-service date and mileage (start of warranty) for the vehicle. Also ask if there is a transferable service contract on the car. On 2011 and 2012 models, confirm that it was not opted-out of the battery warranty settlement. Personally, I would avoid 2011 and 2012 models, unless the traction battery has been replaced and it shows 12 capacity bars. If you're the gambling type, you can buy a 2012 cheap (with bars missing) and hope you lose four bars before the 5yr/60k limit kicks in on the battery capacity warranty.
5. The Leaf should be a solid car that drives good and holds the road well. If it doesn't feel right, avoid it, as it may have been in an accident. Many people do over-inflate the tires for better range, which will make it ride a little stiff. I have some noise out of the right front strut when going over bumps. The dealer replaced it under warranty and it got rid of most of the noise, but I still occasionally hear it when hitting the bump leaving my driveway. I have read some complaints about build quality, but have no issues with mine (built 1/13). I would also recommend looking for a model that has the LED headlights factory installed (instead of the Halogen lights).
Looking for a 2nd electric car for around town so looking at the LEAF. This summary is a great checklist. Have a quick question
Tip #3 shows key numbers to look for are SOH, Hx, and AHr. Just want to confirm where to find these LeafSpy Lite screen
I assume SOH = Hlth, AHr = AHr on the screen. What is Hx?
BTW, first EV is a Tesla and the battery longevity is really great due to 2 key reasons
1. Rarely undergo full range charge and depletion. Basically always charging and discharging in the middle of the capacity range. Just about all battery tech lifecycle benefits from limited range use.
2. Full temperature control with a liquid cooling system with good channel flow against heat during hot days + high speed DC charging (Superchargers goes at 120kWhr!)
Long term reports shows between 5-10% capacity loss at 100k miles. Anyhow, LEAF's and Ford Focus's smaller packs seems to degrade fast due to #1 and LEAF has the added non active cooling system burden. Just a not and not passing judgement. Obviously necessity cost trade offs