Pro Pilot Assist problems – Faulty Radar Sensor

On my day off I decided the first thing to do was to wash Red Rosie the 2018 Nissan Leaf. I’ll talk about the Pro Pilot Assist problems shortly. A bird had used Rosie for target practice and had scored a bull’s-eye. There were also loads of marks on it from the rain from the day before. I have one of those small pressure washers just right for washing cars. I start with an extra adapter to spray soap all over the car first of all. It’s easy to go around then with some special washing mitts to spread the soap around and to move the dirt. The third stage is to spray with just the water and remove the soap and the dirt. I live in a warm climate which is sunny so it’s a good idea to do this in the shade so the water doesn’t dry to quickly. If it does, it just leaves streaky marks all over the car. And we don’t want that, do we? So I have microfibre small towels I use to dry off the car. These do a fantastic job and at the end of it you have a great looking car. So now the car was ready for a trip out.

Nissan Leaf 2018

Trip to Barcelona in the 2018 Nissan Leaf

The distance from my house to the dealership where I bought the car is about 107 km. It is motorway all of the way. Using Pro Pilot makes driving much more relaxing and easy-going. You get assistance with keeping the car in the lane. Even though you have to keep your hands on the steering wheel is still useful. You can let go of the steering wheel but the maximum time is about seven seconds before you get warning messages. This works in conjunction with the intelligent cruise control. You set the maximum speed you want to travel and let the car do the rest. If a car or other vehicle in front is going slower the Nissan Leaf 2018 will slow to that speed. Put on the indicators and change lane to overtake and the car will automatically resume to the preset required top speed. It’s a useful level of automation for driving. The trouble is, I’ve been having Pro Pilot Assist problems.

What happens during these Pro Pilot Assist problems

The radar sensor at the front of the car wrongly detects vehicles in front of the car. It seems to think there are cars in front when there aren’t. This applies the brakes so you end up lurching forward in your seat. It is only momentarily happening so it quickly turns off again. This in turn accelerates the car and throws you back again into your seat. This is not a pleasant way to drive the car. There have been a couple of occasions when it has been more extreme. The car has shown the frontal crash collision warning symbol in the dash. The only way around this problem is to hold the foot on the accelerator. If you are doing this then there is not much point in having Pro Pilot Assist. On this latest journey it got so bad the radar sensor was reported as being blocked. There wasn’t anything blocking the centre at the front of the car, I checked when I stopped. These Pro Pilot Assist problems seem to occur after driving a few kilometres. The first 50 km was okay and only after that did the difficulties begin.

2018 Nissan Leaf in the workshop for the Pro Pilot assist problems

As I was in the dealership for the Nissan Leaf I asked them to take a look at the problem. They connected it to the computer and found more or less nothing. The mechanic did say there was some sort of problem, but would have to talk to Nissan about it. He wasn’t any more specific than that. So I spent some time in the waiting room while they hooked the car up to the computer. With an intermittent fault it is hard to pin point the cause with certainty.


I have since had a call from the dealer to give me a date to take the car in to get it fixed. They will fit a new radar sensor and spend a day to calibrate it. I will have a courtesy car to ride for a day while mine is being looked at.

Next part of the story – Finding an electric car charger in Barcelona

I was unable to put the car on charge at the dealers. The ChadeMo charging point they claimed was broken. Due to this I needed to go to Plan B to get Red Rosie enough electron juice to drive home. Instead of taking the scenic route back to Girona I’d have to go into Barcelona to find a charger.

Pro Pilot Assist problems

The paperwork I was looking for today from the dealers is what was needed to apply for the RFID pass to use the public charges in Barcelona. I don’t know if it’s possible to use them without so I looked for other charging alternatives. I had recently seen there were public charges in a shopping centre called La Maquinista. So off I went.

The chargers at La Maquinista had no signs with instructions. There was a Tesla parked up and charging. I tried but gave up. On to plan C. I went to the Nissan garage outside the shopping centre. I expected to have to wait until 3pm when it opened again. Was surprised to find it open and the mechanic was able to get a car moved so I could plug in. 22 minutes later I had enough charge for the journey home.

2018 Nissan Leaf

Terrible drive home with Pro Pilot Assist problems

The Pro Pilot Assist problems came back even worse on the drive back home. I shot video to show the workshop how bad it was. The car would bleep and throw on the anchors and then immediately accelerate to get back to the set speed lost by the braking. I was getting thrown forward and backwards in the seat. It eventually gave up all together and reported the front Radar Sensor blocked again. The Pro Pilot assist would not work at all then.

Next Day

I drove the car to work put on Pro Pilot Assist and it worked flawlessly. Same coming home too. I expect the problem will resurface next time I do a longer trip. I have a few weeks to wait before the car can be fixed. other 2018 Nissan Leaf owners have reported the same Pro Pilot Assist problems. They have had the sensor replaced and everything is OK again.

Update – All Good Now

Eventually I got the car into the garage, after about a month. The radar sensor was replaced and it has been working perfectly ever since. The Pro Pilot Assist and the Intelligent Cruise Control are fantastic and I use all the time. Even on shorter stretches of road I’ll turn it on and have some of the effort of driving taken care of by the car. 

4 Replies to “Pro Pilot Assist problems – Faulty Radar Sensor”

  1. […] extremely happy with his car although we disagree about the usefulness of Pro Pilot Assist. I think Pro Pilot Assist is marvellous and I use it all the time. You have to understand it’s there to assist and not to […]


  2. […] level was high, just perfect. With the sort of roads I was driving on there was no need to use the Pro Pilot Assist. I had made use of that technology while on the straighter, less interesting roads on the way […]


  3. It would be nice if you updated the column. I’d like to hear about the pro piolet assist problems, as I’m haveing them as well.


    1. Demetrios – I got the radar sensor changed in July and the car has functioned properly ever since. I hope you get your car sorted out soon. It is a problem Nissan is aware of and can fix easily.

      Good luck.

      Let me know how you get on with the problem.


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