A thread for people happy with their Leaf

My Nissan Leaf Forum

Help Support My Nissan Leaf Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Brake fluid replacement generally occurs on a time schedule because over time it absorbs water, reducing the boiling point, and therefore reducing the effectiveness of the brakes. Three years is typical, although I foggily remember that Nissan might recommend a shorter schedule for the Leaf.

If the brake fluid hasn't been changed in a 2019 Leaf, it doesn't matter if you have 18,000 or 1800 miles, it's way past time.
We recently traded our 2017 Leaf in on a used 2023 SV+, which is our third Leaf and 4th electric car. Our son had a couple of salvaged Citicar and Comutacars before we got our first electric, a VW Golf that had been converted using lead acid batteries. We like it a lot but it only had about a 25 to 30 mile range so we still had a 2000 Chevy Metro that averaged about 50mpg. When the Metro died catastrophically from suspension system rust out, my wife found a used 2013 Leaf in an online ad, and we looked at it, test drove it, and bought it. We drove it for a few years until our son started looking for a used Leaf, but most were out of his budget. My wife told him to find us a newer one for a price we wanted to pay (which was the total of my son's budget and our car savings of $150 a month that our Leaf saved us). He found a used 2017 at a dealer that we ended up buying and driving until just a month or so ago, when my wife decided that a newer Plus model would be nice, and we found a good deal on the 2023 SV Plus, at a dealer, who took our 2017. It's nice having the almost three times the range of our 2017 (which had lost some battery capacity). The 80 to 90 miles range of the 2017 wasn't a problem for us, but being able to go much farther without charging on the way will be nice, and we are happy with the newer car. We're hoping it will be the last car we need to buy. In the past, while owning Leafs, we rented a car for longer trips, but that was only twice in over 12 years.
We have 2 2019 Leaf Pluses ((S+ and SV+). We had a 2013 Leaf prior which we really enjoyed. Just about 5 years into the Pluses now, and so far so good, except for 1x 12volt battery replacement this winter. I really like the format, and the hatch are is big enough to just fit luggage for when our family of 5 would travel (oldest 2 are now out of the house). The range is just good enough for longer travel (though if available, I would have preffered an 80kWh battery).

It's just fast though to be fun, but not sexy enough for me to want to push it too often.

My adult kids now abhore when having to drive a gas car, having done all their early driving on a Leaf (both 2013 and 2019).
Is it really necessary to replace the brake fluid after 18K miles?
Brake fluid absorbs water (moisture) from the air and if the water content gets too high can lead to brake failure. The replacement is schedule is every two or three years, and doesn't depend on distance driven.

And on topic for this thread - mine's not technically a LEAF, but its taller, narrower younger sister the e-NV200 Evalia, owned for 2.5 years now. It's a very practical vehicle, with almost the same drive train as the LEAF (lower ratio reduction gear, feeble cooler for the battery, but same motor and power electronics) and similar Nissan build quality. A longer range would be nice to have, but it did 115 miles last weekend and got home on 10% charge remaining, so good enough for almost all our needs. [It appears the e-NV200 never reached the American continents.]
Loving my 2019 Leaf S! The 40Kwh battery still has 150 miles of range after 18K miles. The car meets all of my needs.
I just received a suggestion from the local Nissan dealer that I bring the car in to replace the brake fluid and have the tires rotated. Is it really necessary to replace the brake fluid after 18K miles?
I have no idea about the brake fluid, but tire rotation is important to keep wear from becoming uneven.
Brake fluid absorbs water (moisture) from the air and if the water content gets too high can lead to brake failure. The replacement is schedule is every two or three years, and doesn't depend on distance driven.

The dealer recc is for ICE cars

Here is the Tesla recommendation, which I think is applicable to EVs:
  • Brake fluid health check every 4 years (replace if necessary)*.
  • *Heavy brake usage due to towing, mountain descents, or performance driving -- especially for vehicles in hot and humid environments -- may necessitate more frequent brake fluid checks and replacements.
A health check means spend $5 or so to measure water content and pH. Easy test at home with a diagnostic dip-strip. For a LEAF, brake fluid replacement will likely never be needed.

Home Test
Last edited:
As a long time mechanic, I can tell you that far more wheel cyl and calipers are damaged then master cyl. There is a good reason for this, water is "heavier" than the fluid and water will collect at the lowest point. So dip sticking the res might not be good enough to know what is happening all over the system.
I have a 74 year old hydrovac that still works. the key is keeping moisture out.
That said, I don't to flushes on my stuff either. (do as I say not as I do), but have paid the price in having to have custom machined brake parts for stuff that is NLA.
I may hurt you wallet a little, to have a flush done, but it will hurt a lot more if you have to replace components.
Brake fluid is cheap. Changing brake fluid and bleeding brakes is easy.

Sudden brake failure (or brakes that don't work as well as you anticipated) may be very expensive or deadly.

Test strips, while a fine idea, only allow you to test the fluid in the reservoir. If you're able to boil the brake fluid in the reservoir you should stop wasting time on this forum and start driving for an F1 team. The important brake fluid is the fluid in the brake calipers, which is where the work happens, where heat is generated, and where boiling fluid will cause inconsistent brake performance. As cornbinder noted, it's also where moisture tends to collect over time. You have to do a periodic flush with new fluid to remove that moisture and maintain proper brake function.

I can't see any reason why brake fluid in an EV would absorb moisture at a different (slower) rate than an ICE vehicle. My last few ICE vehicles called for a brake fluid flush at 3 year/36K mile intervals and that's the maximum I'll go for both my Fit and Leaf.
Maybe we can all agree that while there are tests of a car's current battery state that are equal to or better than LeafSpy, the app is by far the best way to avoid cars with looming but currently invisible battery issues.
I bought a 2013 Nissan leaf SL in November. I love it. Not only am I helping to save the planet a little bit. It’s a wonderful car to drive. The controls are intuitive and I am very very happy.
I bought a 2017 in Jan and I love mine too. Quiet, efficient and easy to drive. Still has 11 bars on the battery. A great town car.
I bought a 2011 in 2018 for $5500 and put a used battery in it a year later, have had it for 6 years, and have done some maintenance: New Shocks, fixing a water leak (from a prior owner accident), changed reduction gear oil, brake fluid, new tires, alignment.

Overall it's cost me around $1200/yr so far BEFORE gas savings. Since it's saved me around $600/yr in gas, it's a $600/yr car that's been fun to drive. Range has been a bit of an issue--while it meets most of our range needs, there's some anxiety when you pull in at home with only 3 miles left. My wife often doesn't use it for trips that it could EASILY make because she's afraid she'll be stranded.

I just bought a used 2017 for $5300. I plan to do it all over again--but this time with a 40 kWh battery.

I'm happy with both purchases, but I would NEVER buy a new Leaf. It's just not worth the money. Nissan has utterly let their customers down: Early battery failures right out of warranty, reasonable battery replacement costs, refusing to sell battery upgrades, no 4G TCU, lack of rapid charging (CHADEMO is dead), and horribly unreliable carwings.

A few of these things, especially for the early adopters, and I would have a totally different outlook. Heck, if they just offered all Leaf owners the ability to purchase 40kWh batteries at cost, I think I'd have a totally different outlook.

So yes, I love my car--I just got another. I'm super happy with it, but I encourage everyone I know to buy a bolt instead.
I already posted once but here are some things I like about my 2023 Leaf SV+, begin nerd mode:

1) Driver seat position is higher than a lot of sedans. This makes it more comfortable to get in and out of, and improves driver view.

2) Good rear view. A couple of sisters in law have Toyota Prius cars, and I once had to rent a Prius while our RAV4 Hybrid was in the shop (defective 12 V battery with a short). The view out the back of a Prius is TERRIBLE with the air spoiler going across in the middle of the window. I put the the Laef's rear seats down to get maximum view in the rear view mirror.

3) Good instrument cluster, where it should be, in front of the driver. Too many cars are putting displays in the middle of the dash so a driver has to look down and across to see how fast they are doing, etc. I like the choices of screen info next to the speed, but I usually leave up the one that shows the speed limit and compass.

4) Climate control timer! Love this for preparing the car on cold winter work days, which in Downeast Maine can be brutal. I leave the house before 6am to hit the gym at the YMCA every weekday morning (alternating swimming and rowing machine + weight training).

5) Out accelerating ICE powered tailgaters coming out of stop signs. Sure they may catch up to me after a few minutes, because I don't speed excessively, but it is fun showing them their limitations.

End nerd mode.
Oh, and we did get the car just in the right window of time in 2023 for the full $7,500 US federal tax credit. Yay!
A little over a month after buying a used SL Plus I have to say, it sometimes seems like they designed this thing just for me. I like how everything is laid out, the energy efficiency, the excellent road visibility (compared to my old Honda CR-Z at least), the 360 degree composite camera view for parking, the instant ordinary familiarity of the driver's experience.

I've even mostly made peace with the satnav. Since updating to the most recent North America map (even though as I understand it, it's still not all that current), and with numerous audiobooks and my ripped-to-flac audio CDs saved to a stubby little flash drive in the USB2 slot, I find I'm using Android Auto less often than I did at first, sometimes just not bothering to plug in the phone unless there's a particular app needed. And the SL Bose stereo sounds pretty nice to me.

Maybe my best summary is, most features of this Leaf seem well implemented, and the rest are Good Enough. The car reliably gets me around in comfort and enjoyment.

Now whether I'm happy with the dealer experience (carvana.com)... that's a separate topic for some later thread after the dust has settled.
My wife and I love our 2023 SV plus for all the reasons mentioned on this thread. The only glitches we encountered were occasional Nissan connect app not working and 12 volt battery discharging after a 2 week vacation. Now, we either disconnect the battery or use a trickle charger.
We would buy this again but what we would do differently is we'd get a used one. We bought in November 2022 and paid full price at an out the door price of 43k. Now Carvana is offering 20.5K for trade in.
We now have put in 13k miles and will keep this Leaf for now. Nissan dealer where I go annually does a free Virginia safety inspection and battery inspection. I also get to a chademo charge for free.
I’ve still got a 2012 LEAF in my life, it belongs to my parents. Great car, it’s taken a lot of beating, none of it its own fault. All 4 corners are smushed, it is constantly full of crap inside and other than it being driven for a week with a completely flat tire and then a broken windshield. It has been 100% reliable. It’s genuinely a much better car than either my Model S or Model X neither of which have ever been 100% fixed despite regular maintenance and repairs. LEAF is a fantastic vehicle for what it is, and makes no claims to be anything else, just a little happy and great appliance.
Our 2018 Leaf S is our town car. I charged it overnight last night and looked at the estimated distance I could drive this morning. I don't care if it is accurate or not. It displays162 miles, which is the same as it was when it was new. The odometer shows 20785 miles.
I am not interested in Leaf Spy, charging to 80%, SOC/SOH, or getting tires for minimum rolling resistance.
My wife is the principal driver and loves the car. I don't drive much anymore but when I do drive it, it is e-pedal all the way.
The 12V battery appeared to be fine but I had it replaced last fall anyway. I have an old Sears battery charger that I hook up to the car batteries every two months or so. Our 2009 Honda Odyssey has over 100,000 miles on the odometer and only gets used for long distance trips or loaned to family members.
I am still waiting for the backup camera recall fix. That has been a problem with the car since it was new. Slamming the rear hatch closed fixes that problem until my wife doesn't slam it. I don't think it has anything to do with a worn wiring harness. It sounds to me like a loose connection somewhere, maybe in the camera itself.
Last edited:
2018 LEAF SL which is quite fine as an urban runner, and commuter to our camp, 130 km one way. Zero mechanical issues after 3 years of near daily use. It's not a sexy car by any stretch, but either am I..so perhaps guess a good match :)

There are a few items you want to do yearly and/or every 2-3 years. I swap in winter tires and rims so effectively a tire rotation every 6 months. I just measure tread depth and put the healthier tires up front each time.

1. Do a brake service, or have it done for you yearly. This is just pulling the two brake caliper bolts/caliper, removing the brake pads and remove/clean/lube the slide pins and pad contact surfaces. Takes about 15-20 minutes per wheel. I do this service on all our cars, EV or ICE and have pretty much zero brake issues with any of them. Stuck pins and pads are likley related to a large percentage of brake issues...and they will cost you range in an EV.

2. Fluid flush. The brake controller in the LEAF is a $4000 tag to replace. Brake fluid is cheap. I did a full flush in 2022, and the fluid tested at 0-1% moisture, so will leave it for another year.

This is the process I used to swap in Bosch 5.1 fluid two years ago. It's been working great, and in very cold temps particularly (we see -35C here in winter) the pedal feel (as in no cold weather slugishness) has been consistent: