2021 Nissan Leaf Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system & airbag issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Launched in 2010, the Nissan Leaf was the world’s first mass-market electric vehicle (EV). Its affordability and comparatively long range, quickly made it a bestseller. In December 2020, Nissan announced that they had sold more than half a million Leaf EVs globally.

Today there are faster EVs with longer range, more convenient charging, and other features the Leaf doesn’t have. There are also consistent complaints to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As you can see from Lemberg Law articles about previous models, at least for the past three years, complaints have included problems with the electrical system of the EV. The same applies to the 2021 model.

Safety issues are also highlighted by the NHTSA. Their 5-star safety rating for rollover resistance measures the risk of rollover if the driver loses control of the car. Rollover ranks 4 out of 5 stars with a rollover risk of 10.70% for the 2021 model. The side crash tests and frontal crash barrier test for the front driver side rate 5 stars. But the frontal barrier test on the front passenger side also gets 4 stars, reducing the overall front star rating to 4.

Also, while U.S. sales peaked at 30,200 in 2014, they have steadily decreased since then, declining to 9,559 in 2020. While the 2021 model has seen an increase to 14,237, this is still less than half of the 2014 sales figure.

Only one consumer has complained to the NHTSA about the first 2010 Nissan Leaf, but then the sales that year were only 19. There are 31 complaints for the 2014 model, which also reflects safety ratings as low as 3-star for several frontal and side crash tests. There are also 5 recalls for this model.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2020   2022

Most Common Problems

So far, there are 4 NHTSA complaints about the 2021 model that cover 8 issues: the electrical system, airbags, forward collision avoidance, land departure, and a couple of problems categorized as unknown or other.

Of these, airbags not deploying are by far the worst on file for this model.

2021 Nissan Leaf Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Electrical System
Air Bags
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Power Train
Back Over Prevention
Back Over Prevention: Warnings
Exterior Lighting
Fuel/propulsion System

Problems with the Airbags

The most serious airbag complaint describes a crash that resulted in injury and a totaled vehicle. To make matters worse, it is the second time this Leaf owner has been in an accident with airbags failing to deploy.

“The car was spun nearly, if not fully, 360 after (being) hit by a truck in a lane change of a blind spot that spun the car into concrete barriers. HORRIBLE. Totaled Vehicle.”

In the second, previous, accident the Leaf owner was in a front-end crash when freeway traffic came to a sudden stop and the car went into the barrier. “AGAIN no Air Bag Deployed. Warning systems failed.”

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Forward Collision Avoidance Problems

One of the two forward collision avoidance complaints also describes how airbags were not deployed in an accident. The crash occurred when the freeway came to a complete stop. This resulted in a “front-end collision into (a) vehicle in front at an angle to avoid full collision and into the barrier on Passenger side. NO AIRBAGS deployed! Police Report Filed.”

Another describes how their forward emergency braking (FEB) system lights “came on and then went off 3 times on our way home tonight.”

While FEB systems use radar sensors to detect obstacles in front of vehicles on the road, there were no obstacles in this case.

Electrical System Issues

The electrical system complaint involves the EV charging hood. “The electric car front hood section area to charge the vehicle flew open while driving the vehicle on the highway. There was no indication that there was a problem with the charging hood at any time.”

What to do if your 2021 Nissan Leaf is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

Recurring problems can indicate that you have bought a lemon, especially if it substantially affects the safety, value, or use of your car. The same applies if you’ve taken your Nissan Leaf to a dealer for the same defect or malfunction several times, and they aren’t able to fix the problem.

If you suspect you’ve got a lemon you are welcome to contact Lemberg Law and we will assess your problem free of charge. We have substantial experience in the field of lemon law and have negotiated numerous settlements for car owners. If you do have a lemon, legal action won’t cost you anything because the law says Nissan must pay.


Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Connie F

    The camera warning light comes on and says lane can’t be monitored or it’ll be the front camera is hot and it can’t detect front car space between cars. This happens when pilot assist is on in cruise control. I mentioned this when I took it in but no one gave me an answer. Has anyone had this problem on the 2021 Nissan Leaf SV Plus. I live in Nebraska. Connie F

  • Connie F

    The camera warning light comes on and says lane can’t be monitored or it’ll be the front camera is hot and it can’t detect front car space between cars. This happens when pilot assist is on in cruise control. I mentioned this when I took it in but no one gave me an answer. Connie

  • John M

    I have a new 2022 Leaf SV Plus and I live in Texas. I decided that I wanted to drive it to Nashville to save on fuel costs. It took me 25 hours to go 625 miles, and of course 25 hours to get home. Evidently the car will not allow fast charging multiple times due to the fact that the batteries get overheated. Once the batteries get Hot, the car system will not allow you to fast charge until they cool down again. So a 30 minute stop turned into 2-3 hour stops to charge. I know the car is less expensive than all the others, but that should not mean I cant drive my car where I want to in a descent amount of time. No where did I see or read that I could not do that. If I wanted a toodle around town car. I would have purchased a used EV and pay less than half. I cant even drive multiple charging stops in the winter. The batteries will not take the charge. Great car for around town. Don’t buy it if you want to take it on a trip.

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