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Nissan Sentra 2006 and earlier



  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    Finally hit over 5k miles this week, and the mileage hasn't improved very much. Took the car up to Gainesville Florida last month and hoped the mileage would've started to improve after the 900 mile round trip. This did not happen. My city mileage runs between a low of 22 and as high as 26. Any suggestions from the Edmunds readers?
    Thanks for any help.

    The Sandman :-(
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    You've done the 3750 maintenance as per the owners manual, correct? If you dont see an increase in fuel economy after your 7500mi. servicing, you should speak to Nissan customer service and/or your service department. I usually average 26-27MPG in mix of city and (in all fairness, leadfooted) highway, BUT I have the 2.5L, so surely, something seems amiss with your fuel economy from the 1.8L. How are you calculating?

    Also- bad news. Sentra reliablity dropped to "Worse than Average" in Consumer Report's latest survey, and so, the model is no longer recommended. HOWEVER, I have had ZERO mechanical or trim issues with mine in the 17k miles and 10 months I've had it.

  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    I had this performed at the dealer, as I wanted at least the first oil change on their books to avoid any future maintenance problems. I did speak to my service advisor at the time, and he assurred me the mileage would get better as I accumulated more mileage. I think he was pulling my chain now, but will give it until 8k to see if it does improve more.
    Very unhappy with this issue, but enjoy the car, as it drives very nicely with the 15" wheels, very similar to our '01 Altima.

    The Sandman :-(
  • My 2002 GXE with 15,000 miles has gotten a low of 31.6 mpg and a high of 39.6 mpg. The average mileage is 34.3 mpg which is ok with me. My vehicle has the 5 speed transmission with Mobil 1 in the engine and Redline synthetic oil in the transmission. Another thing is I am getting a little older and I drive like I want the car to last 200,000 miles.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    Could your low gas mileage be a result of living in south Florida? Maybe you have to run your A/C a little more than the average person across the country? I live in metro Atlanta and I'm still using the A/C periodically as the temp is either still around 80, or it's raining. Plus, how much idling do you do? A lot of stop and go driving will lower that figure in a hurry. I know in the heat of the summer, the city mileage on my van will drop to about 14, but will get closer to 20 in the fall. I know there are other factors at work, but that A/C is a killer!
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    That could also be the problem. Hasn't been cool enough yet to turn the a/c off. Funny though, my Corolla, which was a 1996 model with the 1.8 engine, got great mileage under the exact same driving conditions. Even the 2003 Corolla bests the 2003 Sentra by a substantial amount mileage wise.
    Guess this is something I'll just have to live with. Having had 2 Corolla's since 1988, I guess I just got spoiled with the great mileage. Otherwise, I really like my Sentra!

    The Sandman :-8
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    You are right there--the Corolla gets mileage like 32/40 where most other cars in the Sentra's class (like Protege, Elantra, and ION) get mileage in the 25/32 range. It does add up!
  • roar1roar1 Posts: 193
    Hello all ! I'm new to this board. ( actually
    own a 2k2 max.). My son is having a problem
    with his SE-R . Since he lives in Boston ,
    what dealer in the area has the best service
    dept. ???? Any positive experiences from you
    Bostonians ?
  • Hi,

    I bought my 1996 Sentra with 80K miles on it 6 months ago from a local small dealer. Since then I have been finding that I have to fill up a quart of oil every 300-400 miles. That is just too much. I also find that my tail lights and rear fender are coated with a black soot. It would mean that my car is burning oil.

    Recently the check engine light of my car came on. I brought it over to a mechanic who said that the EGr valve is clogged due to some residue (maybe burnt oil) and so he cleaned it. Now, to verify that truely the oil is burning I did a compression test at home. I removed the spark plugs, put the compression tester one by one in each cylinder and found a compression of 128,115,115,120 psi in each cylinder respectively.

    Surprisingly, contrary to what I had thought all the cylinders had the same compression. If there was an oil leak one of the cylinders should definitely show lesser compression. Either this or all the cylinders are leaking oil. Also, after 5000 miles I found that the spark plug were in excellent shape, no black coating, no oil residue, nothing. (only thing was the spark plug gaps were a bit wider which I adjusted) This has got me pretty much stumped.

    I haven't noticed any oil puddle underneath the car where I park. Does anyone have any suggestions what would be the possible reason for the oil loss? Do I need to do the compression test some other way? What is the ideal compression for a 1996 Sentra? Any comments/ suggestion would really be appreciated.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    First, you should really get underneath the vehicle and check for oil from the bottom side of the engine. The typical leak generator on a Nissan GA16 motor is the timing chain cover. I have also seen three Sentras that had a lot of oil all over the rear of the engines. This was later traced to the wrong oil filters being installed allowing oil to leak around the filter gasket.

    If there are no signs of wet oil dripping, I would say that your Sentra engine is not leaking oil, but burning it. Most modern engines will gather a lot of miles before the piston rings are the source of oil consumption. The majority of times you'll find that oil will be pulled into the combustion chamber past the valve guide seals either because they have worn or become brittle. Sometimes the valve guides themselves are worn badly and the valve guide seals cannot adequately keep oil off of the valve stems, allowing it to pass by the guide and into the chamber.

    Without checking the Nissan specs, the compression check seems low to me.

  • Thanks for your comment. So you really do think that the compression pressures are low as compared to the standards. So it would mean that all the cylinders leak oil? Or probably the compression test methodology needs to be modified?

    But I am not understanding one thing. If I am burning oil at such a high rate of 1 quart per 400 miles shouldn' t the spark plugs foul very quickly? This isn't happening and hence I am confused.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Refering to a 1993 Nissan Sentra factory shop manual (the latest I have), the compression specifications are as follows:


    Nominal - 178 psi

    Mimimuim - 149 psi

    Maximum cylinder variation - 14 psi

    Now, the biggest mistake made by people performing a compression check is in the set-up. The above specifications are based on the following set-up procedure:

    1. Engine at full operating temperature

    2. All spark plugs removed

    3. Throttle at full open position

    4. Cranking speed of at least 300 rpm.

    You may want to run your test again if you did not measure the compression using the above criteria. A less than well charged battery, throttle closed, spark plugs in, or engine not hot enough will affect the readings enough.

    As to the condition of the spark plug. If you were burning a quart per 400 miles -- I know this doesn't sound right if this were a 1960s motor -- but in newer designs with highly efficient combustion chambers that kind of oil usage may not necessarily show up by reading a plug. However, in GM engines that I've worked on that use that much oil, there is rarely a complaint about plug fouling. Those engines the plugs just look a little darker than normal, in the range where you'd think they are just running a little rich.

    If you feel that you didn't get an accurate compression reading, then re-test and get better numbers, I'm sure there is nothing wrong with the rings. It will probably be valve guides or seals.

    In all honesty, I have seen 100s of these Nissan motors with 150,000 miles and even more that didn't burn a drop of oil. If you bought this car used I wonder if someone over heated it and scored some cylinders.

    Let us know what you find.

  • Yes I think I may have the incorrect compression values. Mainly because I had done a rather crude compression test. I had:
    1. Removed all the spark plugs
    2. Put the compression tester one by one in all the cylinders
    3. Cranked the engine the normal way one starts a car i.e. without touching the throttle.

    The 3rd point may have affected the compression values. Also my battery is now 6-7 years old, so it may not be the best battery to have the compression test. So I guess I may have to do it again, when I get a chance.

    One more thing, my car is right now running fine with 34-35 mpg and normal acceleration except I do see smoke when the car is idling and someone sits inside my car are revs it, there is definitely smoke. I haven't yet seen anything when I am driving and I check my rear view mirror.

    I don't know why someone would overheat the engine or score the cylinders, but I did buy the car from a small local dealer so he might have done something, I don't know. Right now, I am afraid to take it to a mechanic to do even a compression test as I don't know for how much they would rip me off and I am a bit short of funds right now... so does someone have an idea how much a valve guide or seal job would cost? Also, at this rate if I decide to do nothing and keep adding oil every 400 miles, eventually would my car break down? Due to what? What exactly would happen?

    Thanks everyone,
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    It's definitely the valve guide seals. Some older Nissans and Mitsubishis are prone to this problem, which is usually caused by someone not changing the oil often enough. I had a 91 Stanza with the same oil burning problem. It burned about a quart every 400 miles or so, but it barely smoked. Using thicker oil along with oil additives helped some, but this can only be done if you live in a warm climate. Symptoms of bad valve guide seals are: blue smoke when first starting the car, a little visible blue smoke while idling, and sometimes a large plume of blue smoke when accelerating from a stop after idling awhile. The sypmtoms you mentioned mirror these. There is no immediate danger to your engine. As long as you watch the oil level, the car can continue driving like that for a long time. The greatest danger is burning out your oxygen sensors and catalytic converter, and clogging the EGR valve and PCV valve (requiring more frequent replacement/cleaning). But again, that would take a long time to occur. To fix the problem would require a valve job, which can cost anywhere from $400-800 for a four cylinder.
  • I guess you have nailed it. What you have described is exactly what is happening. 2-3 weeks ago my check engine light had come on, the mechanic said that it was the EGR valve which was clogged, so what you described above makes sense. I will keep you guys posted.

  • Here is my story. We have Sentra GXE 2000 manual. It was not bad car, and to take care for it for the season to come on 09/23/2003 I drove the car to Brown’s Sterling Nissan in Ashburn, VA, for Fall Car clinic and transmission fluid change.

    When I went back to collect the car, the advisor told me that they have broken it – “In an attempt to remove the magnet bolt to drain out the fluid, the technician had broken the transmission casing” she said. “We will fix it as warranty”.

    Fine. Three visits to this dealership later (either the spare parts are not there, or something is missing, or they just forgot about me?), on 10/14/2003 the car was back for repair. When I came to take the car, first thing I saw was the upholstery on the drivers seat was soaked with grease and oil! Any way, I took the car for a test, and noticed that there is a problem switching on third gear.

    The service manager Tony Beaks agreed that this are real problems, and offered me a to hold the car until is fixed properly, and on a mean while to give me another car. What can I say? I agreed.

    So, Tony called the nearby Enterprise office, and told them to give me a car, and to charge the dealership for the rental. He did not mention anything about what is covered, and what – not for the rental period!

    I drove the rental car for 22 days! During this period, I did about 5 visits to the dealership, to find out what is happening with our car, and all the time I heard “we are changing spare parts”, or “we are waiting for another spare part” etc.

    The car was fixed on 11/06/2003. Well, the upholstery was “cleaned” (how do you clean a carpet, covered with oil and grease?), but the transmission now back to normal.

    But, as the top of everything, I ended up with $402 bill for additional insurance for the rental car, that the dealership refuses to cover. I opened a case with Nissan Customer Services, with more than a modest success – seems, the ignorance is the common signature of this people.

    So, tomorrow I’ll drive what have left out of our Sentra to the Leesburg Court. Anyone to offer different choice?

  • i was wondering if i can put se-r/spec-v parts,accesories and performance parts into my nissan sentra 2003-manual...because i want to get the body kit, carbon fiber hood, aem intake, hks headers, pulleys..ect... and all the parts i looked at are for the se-r/spec-v type and i didnt see any for the GXE so i was just wondering if they will fit and work on my car? someone plzz tell me :)
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    wont it wind up costing you more to do all those upgrades than it would have if you initially purchased the SE-R/SPEC V?

    I am not sure about making any of those mods, you may want to search the web for a specialty Nissan enthusiasts page, or even a specialty Sentra enthusiasts page.

    Best of luck,
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    The body kits and hood should fit without a problem. The engine is a different story. Those parts were designed for the 2.5 liter, not the 1.8. I would suggest you look for parts specifically designed for the 1.8 engine.
  • Hello:
    Does anyone know of a manual way to pull the diagnostic codes (not using a diagnostic tool) on an 01 Sentra? For example, on my Durango, you turn the ignition from 'off' to 'on' 3 times, the code will read out on the odometer. Is anything like this possible on the 01 Sentra? Thanks in advance.
  • Some idiot broke the shell around my right mirror on my Sentra SE 2001. Had to buy an entire replacement mirror (since they don't sell the just the shell). Paid $82 to have it painted too!

    Can't afford to have a mechanic install the thing, plus, parts guy said all I had to do was snap out the little panel near the mirror on the inside of the door, undo the old mirror, plug the new one in, etc.

    Problem is step 1 -- I can't "snap out" the panel!

    Does anyone know if it actually snaps out, or is there something else I need to do??

    As I said, I can't pay the mechanic to install the mirror -- especially if it's something I can do for myself. Please help.


  • hello girls 2003 sentra hasa machine gun sound from lefttire when brake pedal is depressed all the way down and stopped. it does not happen when braking any idea what it could be? car has 6k miles on it . should nissan be responsible? thank you . Tom
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    Anyone know of a good place to get some new wheels for a 2003 GXE in the Ft. Lauderdale area? The bolt ons are pretty nice , but really want some nicer 15 inchers.
    Thanks for any help and Happy New Year!

    The Sandman :-)
  • have all been good at convincing me to get a Nissa Sentra....not too many nightmares on this board about this particular model...I was about to buy a used GXE but instead I paid 700 more and got the 2004 model brand new....buying a new vehicle is normally against my religion but I could not resist because of the price. I paid 14k for it.(out the door price). I'll hang out here and tell you my experiences. While the sales person was so good to give me a good deal, I ended up realizing that I did not get cruise control which I needed and specifically asked for. Sales relented and will pay for it to be added. Now that the burden of the sale is behind me, I'll see how this all goes. I'm in California.
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    Did you also get the 7 speaker cd/stereo? I'm sure glad I did, makes the car much more enjoyable to drive.
    I got a '03 GXE with the Road Trip Package for $14.3k out the door and was very satisfied with the price.

    The Sandman :-)
  • No, it came with the standard 4 speakers but the sound system still sounds very good. I took it for its first couple of commutes this week and I'm "settling in". Feels pretty good right now.....of course I am going to be curious about the gas milage.....I've been warned not to expect much until after it's break-in....I have 220 miles on it so far. You sound like you got a really good deal on your car....right now there are $2500 rebates on the sentra GXE's....but just so you know.....the car dealerships will take rebates and apply them to new cars also......they do whatever they need to in order to get those sales numbers....and I was a 7:00 PM customer....hehe.
  • Hi Steven,

    Just bought my daughter a 2004 sentra 1.8s with 10,000 miles on it. Called today to get cruise put on it, Nissan says they don't do aftermarket, referred us to other shops. Both shops say you CAN'T put cruise on a 2004 1.8s -- something about "drive by wire" -- one shop said they tried it, finally had to take it off, it didn't work. I'll be interested in your response, my daughter is distraught, she really loves cruise.
  • ampaampa Posts: 1
    I'll be in the market for a new small car in late Spring/early Summer and the Sentra 2.5S really caught my eye. It has all the safety feature I'm looking for, including Side airbags and ABS, STANDARD.

    I did a dealer inventory search on Nissan's website, and there are no 2.5S models in stock at my six closest dealerships. I started to randomly type in ZIP codes and was able to locate only three 2.5S models out of about 50 dealers. All they have are the 1.8 models.

    Has anyone else noticed - Are the 2.5S Sentras in short supply? I could probably inquire at a dealer, but I'd rather wait a few months before dealing with that "headache".

  • Hi all, I am still waiting for my dealership to contact me about the cruise control issue. I have an automatic and I noticed that the light is already attached if the option was installed when the car was built. My dealership told me that they will have it installed. I bought my car in Grass Valley, California at a Ford Mercury Nissan Dealership. Is the question specified for the Automatic or the Manual shift? I don't know if it makes a difference but when I find out if it can be done, I will post the answer here.
  • I have had my Nissan Sentra 1.8s for about a month, the MPG should be 28/35 (city/highway). So far I am only getting 24 to 25 MPG. Is anyone also having this problem? 90% of my driving is to and from work, all highway. Anyone have any ideas?
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