Product Reviews

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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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Overall Reliability Verdict
Potential Trouble Spots
Engine Major
Engine Minor
Engine Cooling
Transmission Major
Transmission Minor
Drive System
Fuel System
Electric System
Climate System
Suspension
Brakes
Exhaust
Paint/Trim
Body Integrity
Body Hardware
Power Equipment
In-car Electronics
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 500,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2018 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 2012 Nissan Leaf owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

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

Electrical failure

“Would not start. Dealer had to reset the drive computer to get the car to function again”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)

“Not so much battery failure - terrible range on the battery since purchasing the vehicle. I can no longer get to many places as the battery has degenerated over this short a period of time”

Siva A., CA (2012 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)

“Loss of battery range. I have lost 2 bars of battery capacity since I owned the car with battery warranty running out in October. Nissan will not replace the battery unless it loses 4 bars”

Lisa A., NC (2012 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

“Battery capacity became low under extended warranty. Battery pack replaced under warranty. Note that you don't have a category for EV battery problems”

Daniel E., NC (2012 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

Shocks or struts

“rattle that sounds like a strut. Dealer claims not to be able to hear it. A cop out”

Harold P., NC (2012 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)
Tie rods

“Excessive motion in front end going over bumps. Was repaired under warranty”

Thomas B., ON (2012 Nissan Leaf Unsure Electric)
Tire wear is uneven

“I used to check the tire pressure monthly and always kept them at the manufacturer recommended settings. The front tires were bald on the inside and outside at 12k miles. I do not drive fast, or on mountain roads. I now keep the tire pressure at 40lb”

Jacob L., CA (2012 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)

“It was delivered with front wheels WAY out of line. Tires had to be replaced at 34% of normal replacement milage”

Harold P., NC (2012 Nissan Leaf SV 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

“Battery system shorted out the heater system. Never worked properly but eventually got a dealer to give a new heating system”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)

“This was preceded by a failure of the charging system which was repaired in warranty. When I got the car back the heater no longer worked, but the dealer said it was not covered and would cost $1600 to repair. Called Nissan CS and protested and they authorized the repair for free out of warranty”

Lisa A., NC (2012 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)
Blower (fan) motor

“Squirrels stored acorns in the fan. Dealer said fan had to be replaced, but another dealer just removed the acorns”

Anonymous, MA (2012 Nissan Leaf SL 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

“Charging capacity dropped below 8 bars, so Nissan performed full replacement of main battery assembly under warranty, at no cost”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

“High voltage battery replaced for free under warranty. Battery capacity dropped to 70% after 34 months and 25K miles due to South Florida heat. The newly installed batteries are heat resistant (a.k.a. Lizard Battery) and have not yet lost any capa”

Michael M., FL (2012 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)
Ignition switch

“The car did not recognize the key in temperatures below 14 fahrenheit!”

Beverly S., OH (2012 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

Premature brake wear

“brakes inconsistently grabby. dealer can't duplicate. previous TSB has been installed successfully but still an unpredictable problem”

Gordon H., WA (2012 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)
Calipers

“The calipers seized causing noise and premature pad and rotor wear”

Scott V., MA (2012 Nissan Leaf SL 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

“Nissan has not kept up with current technology. Our phone is able to connect to the system, but it does not read texts out loud and the phone is not technically supported by Nissan (Phone is a Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge)”

Jay W., WA (2012 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

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.

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.

Engine Major

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

Engine Cooling

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

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.

Body Integrity

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

Exhaust

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

Paint/Trim

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

Transmission Minor

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

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