Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:02 pm
Delivery Date: 23 Jun 2018

Hello and Help!

Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:07 pm


I am a new member, and hopefully soon to be owner of a Nissan Leaf.

I am seriously looking to buy a Leaf from a salvage yard a few hours away from me. I had a vehicle inspector go to look at it for me today and he gave me a report. The rear/trunk area of the body is all smashed and crumpled, but the frame and all mechanical components appear to be untouched from the accident.

He said that the car would not shift into gear, and postulated that it was because the trunk was registering as "open" since in reality it was smashed and cannot be closed.

Is it indeed true that a Leaf will not go into gear with the trunk open?

Any tricks or ideas you have so that I can get this car into gear? He said he also has an airbag light on~

I am hoping I can find a way to get this thing to move far enough to drive it up on my trailer so I can get it home and start tinkering. (Just wait until I tell you my plans!)


Posts: 11789
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 30 Apr 2018
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: Hello and Help!

Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:26 pm

I don't think that there is an interlock that is preventing the car from shifting with the trunk open. More likely the 12 volt battery is very low, or there is other damage to the drive system. Speaking of which: the battery pack is under the front of the trunk area, and in pre-'13 Leafs the onboard charger is back there as well. I'd be very concerned about that. You need a Leaf-experienced mechanic to look at the car.
Scarlet Ember 2018 Leaf SL W/ Pro Pilot
2009 Vectrix VX-1 W/18 Leaf modules, & 3 EZIP E-bicycles.
PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

Gold Member
Posts: 2103
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:47 pm
Delivery Date: 12 Jun 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Hello and Help!

Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:33 am

My 2011 was hit from behind by a 4X4 diesel pickup while I was sitting at a traffic light. Both vehicles left on tow trucks so it was a fairly hard hit. The pickup driver was surprised that his air bag did not deploy. I drove the LEAF out of the intersection to a safe place to park without incident. It was technically repairable, but the other driver's insurance company declared it a total loss because they thought they would save money (used prices were depressed because there were a lot of LEAFs coming off lease and flooding the market). I don't think that the hatch (or any other door) being open will prevent the car from going into drive, but I will check my 2015 when I leave for work later this morning.

The battery is under the passenger compartment so it was probably not damaged by the accident since it does not extend beyond the rear seat. However, it could have been damaged by the salvage yard. In my case, the mounting brackets for the onboard charger were bent, but the charger appeared to be OK when I went to the repair shop to look at it after they removed the interior panels so they could finish their repair estimate. When the insurance company decided not to repair it, it was moved to the insurance company's storage lot. I considered the feasibility of buying it back and making it into a small flatbed pickup since it had a relatively new traction battery, but the storage yard trashed it. When I went to look at it, the front end had been damaged from being handled by a big fork lift and the interior had grease and dirt everywhere. The car would still go into READY mode, but I had to give up the plan to buy it back due to the damage while in storage. Once I saw how they were moving it with the fork lift, I was also concerned about possible suspension or traction battery damage from the forks since it is such a heavy car.

Edited to add: I just tried my 2015 and verified that it will go into Drive or Reverse (and actually move) with driver door or hatch open. Is there any information on the dash display when you try shifting into drive or reverse? There are two air bag lights--one is a warning in the dash in front of the driver and the othe is an indicator that shows the passenger air bag status below the radio/navigation unit. The passenger air bag status light is on if an adult is not sitting in the passenger seat.
Silver LEAF 2011 SL rear ended (totaled) by in-attentive driver 1/4/2015 at 50,422 miles
Silver LEAF 2015 SL purchased 2/7/2015

Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:21 am
Delivery Date: 03 May 2017
Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: Hello and Help!

Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:38 pm

My 2013 will drive forward and reverse with the rear hatch open. It just shows a non-specific warning triangle light on the dashboard.
2013 Pearl White SV, bought used in 2017 with only 5100 miles. Vancouver, WA.

Return to “New Members & Newbie Questions”