2013-2015 Nissan Leaf Owners Report Brake Problems, Canada Investigates [UPDATE]

February 25, 2015

In the U.S., numerous complaints about the braking system on the Nissan Leaf have been filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to Detroit News, NHTSA's colleagues to the north, Transport Canada, have received quite a few complaints of their own, and the agency has now launched an investigation of all-electric Leaf vehicles from the 2013, 2014, and 2015 model years.

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Transport Canada's website isn't quite as "transparent" as NHTSA's, so finding a record of complaints there isn't easy to do. However, a quick scan of NHTSA's website reveals several consumer complaints about the Leaf. For the 2015 model, two of the three consumers who've filed have had issues with the car's brakes cutting out. For example:

"MY 2015 LEAF S IS 3 WEEKS OLD WITH LESS THAN 700 MILES. I WAS DESCENDING AN 8% GRADE HILL IN B MODE WITH A SHARP BEND AT THE BOTTOM. AS I WENT TO APPLY THE BRAKES, THE PEDAL WENT TO THE FLOOR AND B MODE CUT OUT. THE CAR WAS NOW ROLLING DOWN THE HILL AND ACCELERATING UNDER GRAVITY WITH NO BRAKES AND WITHOUT B MODE SLOWING THE CAR. I WAS EXPECTING TO HIT A BRICK WALL AT THE BOTTOM OF THE HILL WHEN SUDDENLY, AFTER NO MORE THAN TWO SECONDS, THE BRAKES AND B MODE CAME BACK ON AND I SAFELY STOPPED. ON REFLECTION AFTER THE INCIDENT, IT WAS AS IF THE WHOLE COMPUTER/ELECTRONICS MOMENTARILY SHUT DOWN AND THEN REBOOTED. I DIDN'T NOTICE IF THE DASH LIGHTS WENT OFF OR NOT."

(Sorry about the all caps. For reasons we don't fully understand, that's the way that NHTSA formats complaints. Then again, going cappy does convey anger pretty well, so maybe it's appropriate.)

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Many problems with the Leaf's braking system have occurred during bouts of very cold weather. If there's a linkage between the two, given the icy conditions found in much of Canada and the U.S. today, we wouldn't be surprised to find a few more complaints logged with NHTSA in the near future.

We'll keep you posted on Transport Canada's investigation of the Leaf, and we'll let you know if NHTSA chooses to launch a probe of its own.

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UPDATE: Nissan has issued the following statement:

Nissan is aware that a small number Nissan LEAF drivers in Canada have recently observed that the brake warning light in their car is illuminated on start-up or they are experiencing a soft feel to their brake pedal. We take this matter seriously and an engineering team is currently investigating.
 
Nissan is not aware of any accidents related to this issue and is committed to a high level of customer safety, service and satisfaction.”

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