The Nissan Sentra is a reliable sedan that looks good without being too flashy. While later generations may come with modern designs and the latest electronic features, an older Sentra can still give you a lot for your money. But before you consider buying this car, read up on common Nissan Sentra failures .
The Sentra has a fair resale value, as its price depreciates 49% after 5 years if the car is in good condition.
How good is the Nissan Sentra?
When it comes to reliability ratings, the Nissan Sentra scores above average. It earned a score of 4.0 out of 5.0, ranking 14th out of 36 compact car models.
The Sentra also costs less to own, drive and maintain than other models in its class. Not only do you need repairs less frequently, but your most common problems are usually medium in severity.
Fuel economy is another point in favor of the Nissan Sentra . Some reports showed that model years 1982-2019 averaged around 27.4 miles per gallon, with newer Sentras achieving higher mpg thanks to advanced fuel economy features.
Between its impressive fuel efficiency and above-average reliability, a Sentra can last for many years. You can easily achieve 100,000 miles or more with regular maintenance and prompt replacement of faulty parts.
Common failures of the Nissan Sentra
Having seen continuous production for more than three decades, the Sentra has its fair share of problems. Specific Nissan Sentra reliability problems vary in severity and frequency depending on the model year in question. These are some of the common failures of the Nissan Sentra depending on the model:
1. Brake failure
Brake problems are a recurring problem for Nissan Sentras. Many 2013 Sentra owners report that the brakes do not engage after pressing the brake pedal until the brake pedal hits the ground. In some vehicles, the problem is caused by a prematurely failed brake master cylinder. Replacing the bad cylinder will solve the problem.
Even the relatively new 2020 Nissan Sentra isn’t immune to brake problems. Some units have anti-braking interlock systems that can stop working without warning . When the ABS gives out while the car is on a slippery road surface, the driver can potentially lose control and end up in an accident.
2. Inconvenience with unusual noises while driving
Drivers of some units of the 2016 Nissan Sentra report hearing loud howling or screeching noises during windy days and when driving at high speeds. While some homeowners suspect loose weatherstripping, others have had no luck determining where the sounds are coming from. The car could also vibrate enough to make a noticeable noise at highway speeds.
3. Paint and trim issues
A plethora of body and paint issues beset many vehicles pertaining to the 2016 model year of the Sentra. The paint and clear coat on the bodies of affected vehicles may fade prematurely or peel .
Chrome trim could also develop rust, while moldings and trim could become loose and eventually fall off.
4. Suspension problems
The affected 2017 Nissan Sentra suspensions can make loud knocking noises when going over fairly low speed bumps at 10-20 mph. The problem becomes more noticeable during the colder months of the year.
Depending on the model year, the transmission in the Nissan Sentra may also make strange noises such as screeching, knocking, clicking, rattling, and clicking. You may lose traction on a road surface covered by 1-4 inches of snow.
Strut assemblies that absorb the shock from driving on uneven surfaces can also fail without warning. Bad struts will make your ride more bumpy and unpleasant until they are replaced.
5. Problems with steering and power steering
Some 2012 Nissan Sentra owners report that their vehicles pull to one side while driving on the highway. In some cases, the car drifts from one side to the other and vice versa. This problem can arise even after the wheels have been properly aligned.
On at least one 2017 Nissan Sentra, turning the steering wheel can inexplicably produce a noise similar to static. Other problems include difficulty turning the steering wheel as the vehicle veers uncontrollably from side to side.
6. Wheel and hub failures
There are not many problems related to the wheels, tires and related parts of the Nissan Sentra. Of the different model years, the 2008 Sentra garnered the most complaints in this category.
Several drivers report that their tire pressure monitor light would come on and stay on when they started their car. This warning light normally indicates that the air pressure in one or more tires has dropped below recommended levels. However, when checking the tires, owners usually do not find any problems with tire pressure.
A similar problem can arise on some units of the 2014 Nissan Sentra. Drivers have also filed complaints about faulty 2008 Nissan Sentra hubcaps and tires . The finish on the hubcaps can peel off, while the rims can corrode faster than expected. These problems can ruin the appearance of the car and also weaken the wheels.
7. Transmission problems
Transmission problems are among the most common and serious that can happen to a Nissan Sentra. Notably, some units from model years 2013-2017 have faulty continuously variable transmissions (CVTs). These transmissions are prone to losing power, which can lead to jerkiness, stalling on acceleration, or total failure in the worst case.
Among its model years, the 2014 Sentra is considered the worst due to its numerous transmission-related issues . Aside from the poor CVT, owners also complain of unpleasant pulsations and vibrations while the vehicle is not moving.
The Nissan Sentra is a good choice of vehicle. Both old and new models will serve you well, especially if you take good care of your car. Whether you own or plan to buy a Sentra, you can get the most out of it by familiarizing yourself with its most common problems and being aware of its repair and maintenance.