really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
22,800 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.

2013 Nissan Leaf brakes problems

brakes problem

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2013 Nissan Leaf Owner Comments

problem #15

Dec 232016


  • 50,000 miles


Having undergone a previous recall to fix a brake issue several months ago, at 50000 miles on December 23, 2016 the vehicle experienced complete brake failure narrowly avoiding a serious collision. While driving straight on a city street in traffic at approximately 35 miles an hour the driver removed his foot from the accelerator in preparation to apply the brakes to stop the car for the stopped traffic ahead. The car's regenerative braking ability was already slowing the car when the driver's foot attempted to push the brake pedal and found it solid and unmoving. The driver removed his foot from the brake pedal and reapplied his foot, attempted to depress, and again found the pedal unmoving. With the car continuing toward stopped traffic ahead the driver began to repeatedly and very forcefully attempt to depress the pedal. After 4 or 5 very strong kicks the brake pedal broke loose, went all the way to the floor without the drivers pressure, with no resistance or response. The driver retracted his foot and the pedal did not come back up. The driver attempted to begin to "pump the brakes" and with the first touch on the pedal which was still all the way down, the car's wheels locked and came skidding to a stop with no ABS modulation inches before hitting the car in front. The car was shut down and restarted, the brake pedal returned to the undepressed position but when depressed had no resistance and was ineffective at stopping the car (as though the brakes were not being applied). The parking brake was unaffected and would slow/stop the car. The car was taken to a Nissan dealer for repair, they indicated that they had never seen anything like it and had to talk with the Nissan engineers. 1/3/17 the owner/driver was told that the entire "brake brain booster controller" would have to be replaced with a replacement part from the Nissan factory in Kentucky.

- Rocklin, CA, USA

problem #14

Nov 182016


  • 32,000 miles
On Nov 18. 2016, my wife was driving Nissan Leaf 2013 on the highway under a rainy day, the vehicle suddenly gradually stopped (highway 680 to highway 580 at California state). My wife couldn't make it move even press accelerator until she stopped the engine and restarted again. It is very dangerous for her to have such experience on the highway. Later I checked the manual, it is said because of Nissan's vdc function. However it is not proper to stopped the car when it is driving. Today, I also experienced the same problem. When I drove back my car, the car didn't allow to move until I pressed "vdc off" button. I believe this is a serious problem by Nissan. I have contacted them to check and repair my car. However I think it is safe to government to check with Nissan to see whether they have issues on any vehicles with vdc feature.

- Pleasanton, CA, USA

problem #13

Oct 172016


  • 36,000 miles
The Leaf was in motion on a city street in "B" drive mode. When attempting to stop from around 45 mph, the brake pedal became very firm, and the car did not slow. I released the brake and depressed it again. This time there was significant brake travel and the brakes engaged with a mechanical moaning sound. The car skidded to a stop as ABS ceased functioning. I parked the car and took a photo of the dash warning lights. Similar symptoms occurs 5 days prio, restarting the car returned it to normal operation both times. The weather was about 65 degrees F and dry during one occurrence. A similar temperature on a morning following a rainy night is when this occurred the second time. The car nearly entered an intersection on a red light. This problem looked and sounded like the videos posted on youtube in very.cold climates in which the Leaf braking systems failed with the exception that this was in mild weather. This car has received the brake module firmware update from Nissan prior to these incidents.

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #12

May 012015


  • 85,000 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Leaf. After hitting an obstacle in the road, the power brakes ceased to function without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but the cause of the failure could not be determined. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 85,000.

- Erie, CO, USA

problem #11

Nov 282015


  • 39,600 miles
Started car by pressing brake and ignition. Put the car in reverse. Car started moving at 2-5 mph with the brake still pressed. Brake lost resistance and had to press hard to floor to stop car. No brake pressure. Took atleast 10-15 feet for the car to complete stop. Same thing happened when moved to drive forward. Fortunate that no one was close to car when this happened. Tik-tok-tik-tok sounds from car, pedal pulses rapidly and ABS and brake lights came on. Dealer replaced the 12V battery 2 weeks before this happened. Dropped the car at the dealership again. I see exact same complaints on this website from at least 10 other people. Not sure when this will become an issue that will be addressed by the manufacturer. Not sure if I can update this complaint later once I hear back from the dealer. If I can I will update it.

- Corona, CA, USA

problem #10

Aug 172015


  • 33,098 miles
The issue: From parked and powered off I apply the foot brake and power on - put in gear (forward or reverse) and go - apply brakes and there isn't any (as in none) - panic - push pedal harder while panicking - pedal rapidly pulses as it sinks several inches to the floor boards and all four tires suddenly lock-up and the car skids. All the while making a loud noise that shakes the car and sounds like a drywall screw gun that has sunk the screw all the way in. Every warning light on the dash lights up (all of them). I had this issue several times 11 months ago and took it into the dealership. The second time I brought it in the issue was somehow resolved however the dealer said they couldn't find a problem. Now a year later it's happening again.

- Gig Harbor, WA, USA

problem #9

May 122015


  • 15,500 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Leaf. The contact stated that the brakes failed without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the technician diagnosed that there was brake fluid leakage. The vehicle received unknown repairs and the brake fluid was replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 15,500. The VIN was unavailable.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #8

Mar 232015


  • 7,500 miles
I was traveling at 25 mph when I was forced to make a sudden stop due to the school bus in front of me stopping abruptly. I engaged the brakes and they went straight to the floor with no resistance. The brakes did not engage in anyway. I swerved but ended up hitting the rear of school bus.

- Atalnta, GA, USA

problem #7

Mar 062015


  • 14,300 miles
There is an ongoing issue with the Leaf's brakes grabbing to quickly when at low speeds and approaching a stop during cold conditions. It causes the car to jerk. It also creates an issue with the traffic behind us as there have been several times when the vehicles behind almost crash into us as they do not expect the car to break so suddenly.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #6

Feb 232015


  • 13,000 miles
Baking car out of parking space brake light came on. Shifted to drive and started moving forward. Brakes did not function. Rolled car into another parking space and had towed. All happened at low speed without any other traffic but this could have been very dangerous. Failure was catastrophic sudden and essentially complete. There may have been some minimal break function but not enough to stop the car safely from any speed beyond 1mph.

- Grosse Pointe Park, MI, USA

problem #5

Oct 302014


  • 10,000 miles


Have experienced multiple times where at low speeds, if the car encounters bumps in the road, the brakes give out and you have to pump a time or two to get the brakes to engage. There are other times at city/highway speeds where if the brakes are pushed medium to medium-hard the brakes seem to lock on and even when removing my foot from the brake pedal, the brake doesn't disengage and the car will slide for a couple seconds. Please do a thorough safety review on the brakes.

- Woodinville, WA, USA

problem #4

Jan 252014


  • 200 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Leaf. The contact stated that while reversing, the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver and the brakes failed to respond without warning. The vehicle crashed into another vehicle. A police report was not filed. There were no injuries reported. The vehicle was taken a dealer where the failure was unable to be replicated. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 200 and the current mileage was 3,000. The VIN was not available.

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #3

Jan 072014


  • 1,500 miles
I needed to press hard on the brake pedal to stop the car. The ABS light and the red brake light stayed on.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #2

Oct 092013


  • 4,048 miles
I was driving on the freeway in heavy traffic, so I was only traveling at approximately 45-50 mph. I was switching lanes when the car I was moving behind sudden slowed (it did not stop). I quickly hit my brakes so I could slow down as well, but my car's brakes locked-up and the car started to skid. I let-off the brakes but the car continued the skid and stopped. I was very lucky to not have been hit by another car (actually Nissan is the lucky one to escaped litigation).

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #1

Jul 112013


  • 250 miles
When starting the car, all lights on the dashboard illuminated and car would do nothing. Shut down and restarted the car and everything was clear. Put the car into reverse and had nominal braking. It took 10 feet of slamming the brake pedal to bring the car to a stop at 2 mph in reverse. It literally felt like no brake pressure. Stopped and restarted again and things were seemingly back to normal. Took it to dealership who blamed it on low 12V battery. Braking was pathetically weak at the one time... it was not just the typical lack of regenerative and motor assisted braking you would get during a fault.

- Simpsonville, SC, USA

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