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Replaced my LEAF 12v battery after 4 years

Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:18 pm
by Randy
My LEAF is 4 years and 1 month old...With my other cars that I have kept for quite some time, I have been proactively replacing 12 volt batteries approximately every 4 years with good results. No surprise 12v battery failures, no getting stuck at the wrong time, etc. So I thought I'd look around and see what is available for the LEAF at the various stores. Of course, there are a couple of threads on the forum about replacing the LEAF's 12 volt battery system with Lithium...However at double or triple the cost (depending on what you get), that just seemed a little bit out of reach for now.

After looking around, I decided to get an Exide Global Extreme Type 51RX lead acid battery replacement from Home Depot. It cost $89.00 + tax + a $12 core charge. It has a 40 month warranty (with free replacement). This is an exact size match for the LEAF (9.3" wide x 4.9" deep x 8.5" high), and fits the tray and hold down clamp perfectly.

I saw other batteries at various websites for as much as $129, but this model seemed to have a longer warranty than some and good specs (70 minutes reserve capacity, etc.)

It took about 30 minutes to install it, with no issues. After removing the old battery, I cleaned out the tray and then used a battery brush on the new terminals to burnish them. A 10mm extended socket can be used for the hold down arms, as well as both the positive and negative terminal screws.

After the install, I had to reset the driver's dash clock, but everything seemed to come up okay...So far, so good...

Here are some photos of the battery in case you're interested...

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Re: Replaced my LEAF 12v battery after 4 years

Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 8:00 pm
by Stoaty
Thanks for posting this. At 3.65 years, I'm not too far away. Will probably wait a bit longer than 4 years, but pre-emptive replacement is probably good insurance to avoid getting stranded in my Leaf.

Re: Replaced my LEAF 12v battery after 4 years

Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:31 pm
by LeftieBiker
It's assembled in the USA, anyway...

Re: Replaced my LEAF 12v battery after 4 years

Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:36 pm
by Randy
Hey, c'mon...It's the official battery of NASCAR.... :)

Re: Replaced my LEAF 12v battery after 4 years

Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:05 pm
by mbender
LeftieBiker wrote:It's assembled in the USA, anyway...
We have to ship lead acid batteries across the oceans, too? Sad!

In 5-10 years time, I hope and almost expect to see all kinds of Tesla-brand(ed) batteries for sale, at competitive prices. Made in, and shipped directly from, one of many stateside gigafactories. :)

Re: Replaced my LEAF 12v battery after 4 years

Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:25 am
by drees
Pretty good price for a replacement battery.

I'd be tempted to replace with an Optima yellow-top deep-cycle battery for about double if/when my battery fails like I did with my Prius, but if you're going to replace every 4 years as preventative maintenance, probably no use in spending more.

http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/detai ... &ppt=C0005

I'd really like to have a lithium battery that weighed half as much, though!

Re: Replaced my LEAF 12v battery after 4 years

Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:07 am
by Randy
Drees,
In shopping around, I found a couple of reviews like this for the Optima Yellow Top battery...That, coupled with the higher price, and I just decided to go with a traditional lead-acid battery...

Amazon Review:
Not worth the extra money, and I won't buy another Optima battery. I bought it about 2 years ago for a 2008 Tahoe, and it has left me stranded 5 or 6 times. I thought I had a faulty battery but I've had it tested at 3 different stores, including the store I bought it from, and it test fine. I live in the south, so it doesn't get cold that often, but this battery is Very weak during cold weather. It does not work well with temperature changes during spring and fall when the daytime temp is 30 degrees different from nighttime. The only time this battery functions properly is when the temp is steady from May-Sept. The other 7 months is a gamble.

Re: Replaced my LEAF 12v battery after 4 years

Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:36 am
by JeremyW
Charging timers will be turned off too after the battery swap (if you use those). :)

Re: Replaced my LEAF 12v battery after 4 years

Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:43 am
by redLEAF
Still find it quite interesting that this 'advanced' propulsion 100% fully electric vehicle uses an old style lead acid battery ... I previously owned 2 Miata's that used an OEM Panasonic 'wet gel' type battery where the last one for my '99 didn't need replacing until '09 --- yes, 10 years of service without fail ! the only 'maintenance' that I needed to do was place a battery tender on it over the winters when it wasn't driven so it was ready to go once the salt finally left the roads here in the Midwest ... my other ICE's that I've kept longer than 4 years almost all needed a fresh lead acid battery almost to the day they turned 4 years old.

With the price posted for this replacement it would seem that it would be the lowest TCO versus other types; sorry to see that an Optima does poorly in cold temps as that would also have been a possible choice; my '12 LEAF will be 4 years old in about 10 months so will be time for me as well.

I would wonder what early warning signs you would get for the 12V battery is on its last legs ... I mean in an ICE you can hear the starter straining to turn over the ICE engine, not so with an EV?

My SL has the roof solar panel so perhaps that helps top it off a bit but would hate to get stranded ... the dealer does (I believe) check the 12V system (which was done in December) so I guess that's all we have to go by?

Re: Replaced my LEAF 12v battery after 4 years

Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:00 am
by garsh
redLEAF wrote:I previously owned 2 Miata's that used an OEM Panasonic 'wet gel' type battery where the last one for my '99 didn't need replacing until '09 --- yes, 10 years of service without fail !
I had a standard lead-acid battery (OEM) last 10 years in the car I traded in for my Leaf. ;)

I would wonder what early warning signs you would get for the 12V battery is on its last legs
That's an excellent question. There have been several posts in this forum about people having strange problems with their Leafs. When they took it in for servicing, it was found to be due to a bad 12v battery.
Car's dead
Car's dead
Flashing dashboard lights

There are probably a few more.