Being a Nissan Leaf owner myself, I like to keep up to speed on issues Leaf drivers are dealing with. A quick perusal of various online forums dedicated to Leaf ownership will yield numerous discussions about battery life and warranties. Because I purchased an older vehicle, the specifics of Nissan’s warranties and how they relate to battery checkups don’t really apply to me. In an effort to keep my fellow Leaf drivers informed however, I will attempt to explain these policies.

The First Two Years

Nissan’s battery warranty will cover any battery that is less than five years old and has less than 60,000 miles on it. As soon as the car reaches its fifth birthday or 60,000 miles are driven, the warranty is no longer good. For the first two years of the car’s life, Nissan will offer complimentary battery checkups every year.

Here’s where it gets tricky: after year two, the owner must pay for the battery checkups. If the owner decides NOT to have battery checkups done during years three, four, and five, the warranty on the battery will be voided. Again, I’ve never had one because my car’s battery is not under warranty. A review of several Nissan Leaf forums however, suggests that owners are paying between $20 and $120 to get them done.

To Check or Not to Check

Several owners have pointed out that in order for the warranty to kick in, the battery would need to lose 33.75% of its capacity before hitting 60 months or 60,000 miles. If your car is in its third or fourth year and it is running at 90% capacity, is it worth paying for a checkup when the odds of it losing more than 20% capacity before the warranty expires are extremely low? For those among who tend to fret, it just might be!

As reported here, battery replacement costs are no mystery. Nissan has explicitly stated that a new Leaf battery if not covered by warranty will cost the owner $5,499 plus installation. For 2011 and 2012 models, this will also include a $225 fee to retrofit the new battery to these older models. While this may seem exorbitant, it is probably what you would spend on replacing the engine in your average gas-guzzler.

Alternatives to Battery Checkups

If you aren’t concerned about the battery’s warranty but are concerned about the battery’s status, there are alternatives to battery checkups. Leaf Spy is an app that you can download on your smart phone for around $15. Once connected to the car through bluetooth, the user can run various diagnostic reports including battery life and performance and even tire pressure. According to one user, he was able to calculate his car’s range down to the quarter mile!

What do our readers think? Any of my fellow Leaf owners out there who have kept up with the yearly checkup requirements imposed by Nissan? Is it worth paying the yearly fee or are the chances of battery failure too low? Has anyone used Leaf Spy that cares to comment on it or any other apps used to run diagnostics? Please leave us a comment below, we would love to hear from you.

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