really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
14,926 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2012 Nissan Leaf brakes problems

brakes problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2012 Nissan Leaf:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2012 Nissan Leaf Owner Comments

problem #15

Feb 152016


  • 25,000 miles


I have observed the transient grabby brake syndrome in my Leaf during cold weather months in the past couple years. I complained to my Nissan dealerships service department a couple times about it, but the problem could not be replicated at the time. I also noticed on the energy screen that the regenerative braking was cycling between 10 and 20 % coincident with these brake intensity pulsations. It only happens when I am lightly braking with very steady light pressure on the brake pedal. I suspect a possible cause to be the sensor that determines brake pedal position for the regen braking may be defective or non-linear at some portion of the travel, or the regen braking program may have a problem, or the hydraulic braking system has a faulty component and the regen system is just responding to the cycling between hard and light braking. In any event this problem may be feeding other braking problems that I have read about here, so should be investigated by Nissan to find a fix so as to prevent injuries or fatalities.

- Clarksburg, NJ, USA

problem #14

Mar 102016


  • 50,000 miles
The brakes on this car often become grabby, especially in either cold or wet weather. It is often difficult to modulate the brakes smoothly and the amount of braking action is not linear with pedal pressure. This will change during a single trip where the brakes will start out grabby but then get better. Sometimes the brakes are normal at the start of a trip and then get grabby in the middle of the trip. I have also experienced a modulation in braking when holding the brake pedal with steady pressure as I'm slowing for traffic. This modulation is about one cycle per second and feels like I am pumping the brakes but I'm not. The worst part of this is it often happens during a cold morning with snow and ice on the road, so the brakes jam on with very little pedal pressure causing the car to skid unexpectedly. I can sometimes get the brakes working properly be pressing hard on the brake pedal at a stop, which seems to free whatever is sticking in the brake system (the proportioning valve perhaps?). I have taken the car to the Nissan dealer several times and they say nothing is wrong with the brakes. I have even done this during a snowstorm when it was particularly bad, and again, the dealer says the brakes are fine. This has happened since the car was new and really hasn't changed over the 50,000 miles I've driven the car. Nissan needs to take this seriously and get it fixed before someone gets hurt in a crash caused by grabby brakes.

- Littleton, CO, USA

problem #13

Sep 102013


  • 5,300 miles
The car continues to brake even after the brake pedal is no longer pressed. This happens when the ABS kicks in. I had to slam on the brakes after someone pulled out in front of me. I did not want to completely stop as I could have been rear ended but the car continued to apply full brakes even when I no longer wanted to stop and no longer pressed the brake. This has happened 4 times total, always when I had to brake very hard to avoid a collision. Very lucky I have not been rear ended after any of these incidents, one person drove off the road to avoid me after the car decided to stop fully.

- Macon, GA, USA

problem #12

Aug 052015


  • 19,400 miles


In May 2015 we brought the car to dealer service center complaining of periodic sensitive and periodic non-responsive brakes at low speed. Dealer could not replicate the issue. No repairs offered. On August 05 2015, brakes completely failed while moving under 15 mph and the vehicle failed to stop at an intersection. Vehicle went into the intersection before the brakes engaged and the vehicle stopped. Car was towed to dealer service center. The issue could not be replicated. No repairs offered.

- Roselle , IL, USA

problem #11

Mar 162014


  • 10,000 miles
I was coming to a stop sign there was a little sand on the road and the car started to skid in the front wheels. I let go of the brake but the wheels did not stop braking. This happens every time you try and stop hard even on clean dry pavement. The front wheels lock up and don't unlock even with your foot off the brakes. This will cause an accident one day when someone is following me. I have also had 4 instances one which left me stranded where I can feel a drag on the car and the battery drains twice as fast. I have tried to turn off the traction control when this happens and it did not help. It was towed to the dealer and was told it had to fully charge before being reset. Then they reluctantly scanned the car but found "nothing wrong" the range perdition on the dash board is always way off. I have to add at least 10-15 miles on top of whatever distance I want to go. And I drive very conservatively. In the winter at 0 to -5 deg F I get 35 miles range!! not the 80-100 claimed.

- Uxbridge, MA, USA

problem #10

Jun 182014


  • 34,000 miles
When moving the vehicle out of park you must depress the brake pedal. I've had 3-4 times where as soon as the gear selector moves to "D" the brake pedal softens and sinks in and the car rolls forward until the brakes engage. I took it to the dealer and they could not duplicate the problem and won't do anything about it. So far I've had time to stop before hitting the car in front of me but I'm worried that one of these times I won't.

- Willow Spring, NC, USA

problem #9

Jul 262014


  • 22,890 miles


Brake system failed and ignition started and thrusted car forward. It seemed like the brake got soft and then would not function. This incident caused the car to damage private property and caused major damage to front end of the vehicle.

- San Pablo, CA, USA

problem #8

Sep 192013


  • 9,000 miles
An animal ran in front of the car. After a hard application of brakes and subsequent release of brake pedal, the car continued to stop, coming to a full stop in the street without driver input. The condition can be repeated, if you step on the brake pedal hard enough. The brakes function normally in typical driving. The problem only manifiests itself in emergency or unusually hard braking as encountered in collision avoidance of cars, pedestrians, or other obstacles. A second incident also occurred at 30 mph. An oncoming car appeared in my lane on a blind curve. The abrupt braking resulted in the Leaf stopping unexpectedly and completely in the curve. Due only to the vigilance of the driver following behind us, we were not rear ended. I had stopped applying the brake long before the Leaf was stopped, as the danger had passed. From 40 mph, a hard application of the brakes, and the release of the brake pedal fully at 35 mph, will result in the car coming to a full stop in the road. Application of throttle immediately after release of the brake pedal at approx 35 mph will result slight mitigation of braking, but only after a delay. The car will still continue to slow down unexpectedly and put the occupants in significant danger from following traffic. I tested another 2012 Leaf and exhibited it the same behavior while a 2014 did not, instead, reacting normally to hard braking.

- Roseville, MN, USA

problem #7

May 072014


  • 30 miles
Vehicle suddenly stopped mid-traffic, while gently pressing the brakes, causing a major safety problem and a near-accident. I understand safety and gentle - I'm a surgeon. After this point, the vehicle either refused to accelerate normally, and clearly inhibited by the brake. The brake would not let up, despite starting/stopping/powering cycling the car. The emergency electric brake was cycled, in efforts to reset the braking system - without success. Towing to dealer.

- Brentwood, TN, USA

problem #6

Apr 272014


  • 21,000 miles
Exiting freeway, hit brakes to start a turn. The brakes completely locked up sending the car into a slide and into the end of a guard rail.

- Novato, CA, USA

problem #5

Aug 212013


  • 12,000 miles


Drove car into driveway with slight incline, pressed button to engage car into park, got out of vehicle, plugged in car to charge it. Walked up 2 steps to house, car rolled back nearly striking 9 year old. Rushed to the car to try to stop it. Car stopped when rolled back across street and into neighbors yard / rock. Tore charging station off the exterior of the house. Caused breaker to trip and ruined the unit completely.

- Kingston, MA, USA

problem #4

Jun 302013


  • 7,900 miles
Driving my 2012 Leaf on a secondary road on Sunday afternoon, at 45 mph, I applied my brakes to turn right on to another street. After moderately pressing the brake pedal the brakes locked, bringing the vehicle to a complete stop in the roadway. My foot had not been on the brake pedal for at least a full second while my vehicle continued to abruptly stop. A vehicle behind me rear-ended the Leaf. I and my two passengers received neck injuries. This is absolutely a defect in the braking system that needs to be resolved. I consider Nissan at fault and not the driver of the vehicle that rear ended us.

- King, NC, USA

problem #3

Jun 282013


  • 6,600 miles
I was traveling at highway speed. The car in front of me began a fast reduction in speed. I rapidly applied my brakes to the point of full stopping power. Shortly afterward I released the brake as I was confident I would not hit the car in front of me. The brakes kept their full stopping force for at least another 1/2 to 1 second. I had to steer off the road to prevent the car behind from hitting me. This has happened twice before but I did not record all the details until today. This is twice now that I had to make a medium speed emergency dive off the highway to avoid immediate collision from the rear. In my first incident I was traveling 70 mph on I25. This is frightful dangerous braking behavior. I love my Leaf but in my opinion this automobile is not safe to drive on a freeway. I called the dealer and will take the car in tomorrow but I was told there are no Nissan notes on this failure mode.

- Wellington, CO, USA

problem #2

Dec 042012


  • 14 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Nissan Leaf. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph, the brakes failed without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis where it was advised that the brake sensors needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the problem persisted. The manufacturer was notified. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 14.

- Woodland, WA, USA

problem #1

Jun 282012


  • 750 miles
During extreme braking on uneven surface, loose gravel, or slick surface, the anti-lock braking system (ABS) engages (as expected). However, once the brake pedal has been released, ABS fails to release the brakes promptly. The additional release delay causes greater-than-intended braking, and potential for being rear-ended (struck by following traffic).

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

Not what you are looking for?