2011 Leaf handbrake

Discussion in 'LEAF' started by Inchy, Jan 5, 2018.

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  1. Inchy

    Inchy New Member

    Hi folks,

    I've seen messages like this on other threads but wondered if anyone had found a solution.

    Basically at any point the handbrake fault light can come up on the early electronic handbrake. Presumably this is why it was removed for later versions.
    I bought my 2011 Leaf second hand January 2017 with just less than 10,000 miles on the clock. By 12,000 miles the brake warning light had come on. I took it to a local garage who read the code and suggested it may just be the sensors out of alignment ... I wish. When the MOT came due it failed of course and I took it for a better check. It seems that the handbrake actuator has failed. List price for the actuator is £2,070+VAT+Fitting. It has to be fitted by Nissan as the art is keyed to the car. So basically best part of £3,000. As the car is obviously out of warranty and was not bought from a Nissan dealer, Nissan complaints won't help - they also suggest the price of the part if fair, reflecting costs to produce.

    I can't afford £3,000.

    I have three choices:
    1) Scrap the car (even though it is in mint condition with full battery condition) , or break it up for parts
    2) Replace the handbrake with a manual handbrake. This is cheapest but the fault light would still show as when the central control unit checks on the handbrake status there will be no reply. This means that unless I can turn that check off the car will fail the MOT ... unless someone knows of something I can use to turn the check off.
    3) Buy the part from the US - where mysteriously the very same Nissan part that is so expensive to make is $600. However I'm worried about what happens when this reaches customs. Will customs bill me for import tax?

    Input would be appreciated, and if anyone has any other suggestions I'm all ears.

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  3. If the handbrake works, but it's just the light stuck on that's causing it to fail MOT inspection, I suppose one might be able to simply remove that bulb.

    £3,000 is a ridiculous amount of money to have to pay for a simple thing like this.

  4. Ouch! That's a ridiculous amount of money for an handbrake actuator. If you get one from the States there will be import tax & VAT to pay on it. Still much cheaper than the Nissan price. I used to get lots of parts for my classic thunderbird car from the States and they automatically included that in the price.
    Maybe try salvage yards in the States too, I've had plenty of used parts from over there for my classic cars & never had any problems, They do a great used parts business.

    I'm kinda in the same (less expensive) boat, my drivers seatbelt light warning light was on on the dash (common fault with the drivers seat connector with my car) and failed the MOT. :(

    Good luck.:)
  5. twaeker

    twaeker New Member

    First place I'd look is on the used market, ebay, wrecking yards, etc. The "keyed to the car" sounds a bit suspicious, good way for a manufacturer to limit 3rd party repairs. That should still be a covered item under warranty in the US.
    silversod likes this.
  6. John Aspray

    John Aspray New Member

    I have a 2011 Leaf which developed the dreaded handbrake fault. I removed the actuator unit, stripped and cleaned the insides, nothing seemed untoward. Tested it on the bench, all seemed ok. Put it back on the car, but it wouldn't work because the fault light was still active. Rather than taking it to the garage to get the fault cleared, I purchased a iCarsoft multi-car diagnostic tool from Amazon for under £100. After receiving the unit I went on to their website and downloaded the relevant software, it was a painless exercise.
    The unit plugs into the OBD socket, which on the 2011 model is under the steering wheel.
    Plugged it in, found the handbrake fault, cleared it, and bingo ! Warning light has gone, handbrake working again.
    Quite pleased with myself, and probably saved a bundle of cash.
    My only niggle is that the text on the unit occasionally went into dutch, but as they say over there.... geen zorgen !
    Paul K likes this.
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