Nissan's LEAF holds the distinction of being the first widely available and affordable all-electric car. Overall, it's a civilized vehicle with very low running costs. It's very quiet, rides comfortably and is easy to enter and exit. The main drawbacks are its limited driving range of only about 75 miles per charge and long recharge times. This makes it best used as a commuter car or an urban runabout.

Reliability

Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how used vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system.

Overall Reliability
Most Common Trouble Spots
Common Trouble Spot
Common Trouble Spot
Research Years * Redesign year
Worse Better
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01
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03
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07
08
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11*
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18*
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Overall Reliability Verdict
NA
NA
POTENTIAL TROUBLE SPOTS
Engine Major
NA
NA
Engine Minor
NA
NA
Engine Cooling
NA
NA
Transmission Major
NA
NA
Transmission Minor
NA
NA
Drive System
NA
NA
Fuel System
NA
NA
Electric System
NA
NA
Climate System
NA
NA
Suspension
NA
NA
Brakes
NA
NA
Exhaust
NA
NA
Paint/Trim
NA
NA
Body Integrity
NA
NA
Body Hardware
NA
NA
Power Equipment
NA
NA
In-car Electronics
NA
NA
Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey for about 329,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2020 vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system. NA indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.

Learn more about car Reliability.

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2011 Nissan Leaf owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Other/unsure

"Passenger Occupancy sensor failed - Despite recall in 2013+, 2011 not affected. Dealer quoted $2700 in parts + labor to replace the sensor. Will contact Nissan USA. Going to have to get a used seat from a Junkyard, as $2700 is unaffordable."

Kyle T., MO (2011 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)

"Apparently the passenger airbag sensor malfunctioned. This was a major repair, and despite having the gold extended warranty was not covered. This same item had been the subject of a warranty extension for later models The cost was $3,600. After a protracted discussion with Nissan Consumer Affairs, they agreed to pay 70% of the cost of the repair."

Robert R., HI (2011 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)

"The front passenger seat occupancy sensor malfunctioned causing the airbag warning light to come on."

Anonymous, CA (2011 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

"Front passenger seal belt sensor seems to be faulty. On some other year models, this sensor was recalled and replaced - but not on ours. The repair (which involves replacing the entire passenger seat) coasts more than the car is worth!"

Natalie S., (2011 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Squeaks or rattles

"There is a persistent squeaking in the dash board that sounds like two pieces of plastic rubbing together. Dealer said he could not fix under warranty and we could pay $1500 for them to take the dash board apart and see if they could figure it out. We passed. The car is not a precision build."

Anonymous, CA (2011 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

"same problem - thunk noise coming from axle"

Anonymous, CA (2011 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

"The right-front wheel usually emits a squeak when going over a speedbump. My mechanic can't pinpoint the cause."

Anonymous, CA (2011 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Driveshaft or axle

"front axel makes a "thunk" or "click" noise when starting/stopping. dealer is incompetent and could not/would not fix the problem, even though this is a known problem with nissan leaf/versa"

Anonymous, CA (2011 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)
Electrical failure

"the car would not start. Determined it was the 12v battery. Replaced it and still not start towed to dealer they spend 2 days looking at it. The overnight was near freezing temp, the following morning it worked they ran more tests but unless failure they can't identify problem."

Anonymous, CA (2011 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

"Battery capacity drop not prorated"

Anonymous, HI (2011 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Hybrid/electric battery replacement

"The battery lost 4 of its 12 charging bars, so Nissan is replacing the battery with a new one"

Peter R., CA (2011 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)
Hybrid/electric system and battery (excluding replacement)

"My battery has degraded more than I expected, thus reducing my driving range. I was able to drive 80 - 90 miles, but in less than 3 1/2 years I can only drive the car 40 miles. Unfortunately, my situation is not unique and it appears to be a defect"

Raul R., CA (2011 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

"Range is unacceptably low and haven't been able to get Nissan to replace batteries"

William K., CA (2011 Nissan Leaf Electric)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Heater system

"Sometimes the heater doesn't heat"

Karl B., OR (2011 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

"For a $7000 car, a $4000 heater repair seems over the top. The 2011 and 2012 Leaf use a small "PTC" water heater, with a history of failure. A private party and dealer each spent hours trying to figure out if my core was even getting electricity. The car needs substantial disassembly to fix the heater, thought it's a known failure point"

Anonymous, CA (2011 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

"Turns out the heater has a fuse, and that fuse is buried deeply in the deepest part of the engine compartment in a box secured with a dozens screws and red caulk like gasket. Huh, really? I replaced it, but it was a pain in the everything."

D N., CA (2011 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"Paint on the car is thin. The paint has literally worn away around the rear stabilizer."

Anonymous, CA (2011 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

"Paint fading & chipping due to salt air - we live close to the ocean"

Anonymous, CA (2011 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"We noticed the third brake light was not lighting up. The dealer estimated ~$400 to fix it. I investigated and found that the wiring wasn't hooked up because a wire was not pulled through correctly. Easy fix but had to disassemble part of the rear ha"

Harry H., CA (2011 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)
Gauges

"Speedometer stopped working"

Timothy Y., OR (2011 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Bushings

"sway bar bushings bad"

Anonymous, OR (2011 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)
Shocks or struts

"My front left strut assembly broke entirely after hitting a pothole, rendering the car undriveable. This was covered under my extended warranty, but apparently the part was on national backorder, and too nearly a month to arrive, during which time I was given a loaner to use."

Robert R., HI (2011 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Master cylinder

"Brake warning indicator light came on during 3rd year battery check. Brakes still mechanically worked, drove to dealer for repairs. Electric car master cylinders have lots of electronics due to regeneration. $1800 part, replaced under warranty"

John M., WA (2011 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

"I noticed a strange noise. Mechanic was able to diagnose after a test drive and heard the noisr"

Anonymous, (2011 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

Water pump

"1 of 2 main water pumps failed. Over $800.00 to replace. Dealer informed me newer models have a redesigned cooling system that does not use 2 $800 pumps plus a third $200 pump"

Anonymous, AZ (2011 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Display screen goes blank

"The 12volt battery died, immobilizing the car without warning. No displays came on and car would not start"

Anonymous, HI (2011 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

Compare 2011 Models

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This score shows whether the model had more or fewer problems overall than the average model of that year, calculated from the total number of problems reported by subscribers in all 17 trouble spots.
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