Super frustrating new-to-me Leaf

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New member
Nov 8, 2023
My front brakes won't release :shock:

I have a second hand 2016 model year 24 kilowatt hour battery Nissan leaf.

So since getting this vehicle I noticed sometimes the brakes would drag a bit, it would be evident going down hills and the car is still slowing down and I'm not seeing any regeneration in the little indicator, also in coming to a stop I would get out and check the wheels and one or both of the front wheels would be really hot, I had my mechanic look at it and it looks like the pads were installed incorrectly so I ordered brand new pads for the front.

When my mechanic installed the pads he noticed a rip in the dust boot on the caliper, so I chalked up the intermittent brake issue to the caliper and ordered a new caliper on

New caliper got installed. I also noticed it needed a wheel bearing on that same wheel and an ABS sensor so those got changed as well. Somehow the problem remained every once in a while the brakes would kind of just stay on and it got worse and worse, the brakes would stay on to a point of me having to floor the accelerator in the car using all of 80 kilowatts of juice just to drive 30 km an hour and limp it home.

The car left me stranded this way a few times already, and every single time I would charge it up, the brakes would be unstuck and I would drive it home again? So weird!

It seemed like it was only happening on the driver's side front so I also changed that caliper and then last night I did a quick test drive up to the northwest part of the city and back down to my place and halfway back down to my place, the brakes did the thing again and I barely made it home, both front brakes on, both new front calipers superheated, both front rotors, very likely warped beyond repair. Like I'm talking red hot rotors, wheels smoking.

Am I looking at some sort of weird pressure release problem in the electro booster? I can't seem to find a lot of information about the master cylinder online, nor can I find any aftermarket master cylinders, I assume it's a Nissan dealership only kind of item? I think it's very strange for the master cylinder to have failed at only 100,000 km.

I think find its sadly ironic to have such a small battery pack with such limited range (i still like it tho!) and the f*****g brakes staying on and lowering my range. I'm an EV enthusiast but I'm starting to not be a Nissan Enthusiast lol. I'll be honest, this issue is affecting my mental health at this point, i bought this car to save money on gas (and i have!) But now I've wasted hundreds and hundreds on parts on the newest car I've ever owned and I'm af a complete loss for where to go next short of taking it to a dealership and asking them to take advantage of me :(

- Raz
Western Canada
Seems like your next logical step is to try a different mechanic (with EV experience) or Nissan dealership.

Every time I've had a brake caliper stick (older cars, not on my Leaf) it was a mechanical issue with the caliper piston. Pulling the caliper piston, cleaning it up, and replacing the seals followed by fresh fluid fixed the issue. Since you've replaced most of the components this isn't your problem.

Newer vehicles like the Leaf have so many computers and sensors that it can get a bit confusing for a DIY owner to diagnose problems. I wonder if there's a way to scan the brake system while the car is being driven to monitor what's going on? Basically, what signal is being sent from the pedal to the computer to the master cylinder/ABS and, as seem likely, what is keeping that signal active some of the time.

Although I'm not a dealership fan, it does seem like that's the most likely place to find the sort of tools and expertise you might need.