Reader Questions: Answered Should I Buy A Used Nissan LEAF — Then Replace The Battery?

With early used Nissan LEAFs now down into the $5,000 territory, we’re answering a regular question from readers: does it make sense to buy an early 2011-2012 LEAF cheap — and then replace the battery?  The answer depends on what your preferences are and what your requirements are.


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  • I’ve dropped 2 bars on my 2012 SL I bought used 2 years ago, my first EV. I am hoping it will drop 2 more before October when the Nissan warranty expires, so I may be facing this decision from a different angle. It will be paid off in June, but I am also pondering selling it at a bargain rate to a nephew who needs a second reliable car for his wife. Range is down to 60-70 at this point.

    Does the price include the labor?

  • Steve:O

    If I was buying an older Leaf, I would A) Buy it from a dealer, and B) I would ask the dealer to put in a battery first, and then, if you like it, buy afterwards. Replacing the battery may be an easy chore, it may not. Either way, I’m guessing most shops don’t do this swap on a regular basis, and things can go wrong. Let the dealer take the risk.

    Prices on used Leafs are likely to drop in September, when the new Leaf is announced, or at the time it becomes available. You might just wait a little longer.