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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
80,841 miles
Total Complaints:
6 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced gasket (4 reports)
  2. not sure (2 reports)
2001 Nissan Sentra engine problems

engine problem

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2001 Nissan Sentra Owner Comments

problem #6

Jun 122015

Sentra 1.8L I6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles


For many years Nissan put inferior head gaskets in their cars with 1.8L engines. A lot of them last the life of the engine. A lot of them don't. Our car needed the entire head replaced, along with the gasket because of damage as a term of purchase. If you are looking at buying one check for signs and symptoms, leaking coolant, high coolant level, bubbles in coolant while running, a heater that blows cold air, low coolant level, overheating. Any of these symptoms and the car needs to be inspected by a trusted mechanic immediately. Running the car until it blows will cause further damage. Always take your car into a mechanic to be inspected if you are about to buy. I test drove a half dozen examples while shopping and about half of them either had a gasket going, or had already replaced the head gasket with a better one. You do not want to pay full price for a car with head gasket issues! I put 800 for repairs as a high estimate for a DIY job with complications, but if you take it into a shop to fix it will likely cost significantly more for labor.

- , Randolph, USA

problem #5

Sep 012012

Sentra EX 1.8L

  • Manual transmission
  • 124,000 miles

bought this car cheap on a on-line auction! but had to invest on it. Bought it on 4/2011 and it came from Hawaii, after running a car fax on it i found out im owner #7 no wonder!!! had to replace the ECU (twice), Radiator, Catalytic converted, O2 sensor, upper and lower hoses, thermostat and misc parts. After about a year of usage and about $1200 in parts replaced (all from dealership) the car was running good. I also spent about 3K on low profile aftermarket wheels and tires, sound system, alarm, tail lights, headlights, HIDs, all seats, shift knob and some other misc body/interior parts, it looked good! now a year and a half later its starting to give me the same symptoms as every one is describing here. A "diagnostic specialist" found that cylinder #2 was not firing and it was caused by the ECU (fortunately it was under warranty but NIssan wanted to test the car before the exchange, I know some one at the parts counter and was able to swap for a new one with out hesitance) I replaced the ECU and after about 20 miles it started doing the same thing, i noticed that the plug from cylinder two was real fouled and i keep on replacing just that plug for a few months, this has worked ok for a few months but has not yet fixed the issue. My dad is a mechanic and after reading this he totally agrees on replacing the head gasket because it makes total sense, the gasket it self is no more than $30 and no labor will be charge, after replacing this ill post an update on my status......

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #4

Sep 092011

Sentra 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

car started overheating and running heat only occasionally.replaced the motor after finding out it was the head gasket and this motor was not fixable without great expense.replacement motor having only 50,000 miles had same problem after only a few hundred miles.

- , Villa Park, IL, USA

problem #3

Nov 102008

(reported on)

Sentra GXE 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,458 miles


Only 115,000km on the car. Took great car of it, and had so many problems. The head gasket was the final straw to buy a new car.

- , Cambridge, ON, Canada

problem #2

May 172007

(reported on)

Sentra XE 1.8

  • Manual transmission
  • 47,412 miles

Low mileage, a car that has been looked after SO well, always at the dealership. No help from Nissan

- , Vernon, BC, Canada

problem #1

Apr 222007

(reported on)

Sentra GXE 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,175 miles

Nissan Canada To Whom It May Concern:

It has been quite a while since my problems occurred with my 2001 Sentra, but I still can’t stop feeling disappointed in the car, the dealership and Nissan in general.

Last fall, the head gasket failed on my car and cost me $1200 dollars to repair. Although the cost left a hole in my finances, that was not the worst part of the experience. This problem occurred when the car was barely out of the 100,000km/ 5 year drive train warranty and my biggest disappointment was that Nissan Canada refused to discuss any type of compensation or assistance. I was left feeling abandoned and on my own.

I purchased the car new in 2001, and this was my first Japanese car. I had heard so much about the quality of cars made by manufacturers such as Toyota, Honda and Nissan. We decided on a small Sentra as a second vehicle for my wife and my two sons who were just getting to the point where they would begin driving. Unfortunately, the joy of a new car quickly evaporated as problems started. At about 16,000km, the front brakes gave way. During a routine inspection, I noticed that the front outer pads were worn away. I was surprised to see that this had happened after this short distance. I did the work myself, and when I removed the discs, I found out why the outer shoes were worn. The inner pads were not making contact with the disc. The caliper sleeves were seized up and the inner surface of the disc was completely rusted out. I should have gone back to the dealer, but I knew that brakes were not covered by warranty and I decided to purchase the parts and replace them myself. I had to replace the rotors and pads and had to spend a lot of time cleaning the calipers to get them to operate smoothly. If the brakes had been properly PDI’ed, this problem could have been avoided.

My next experience with the car occurred at about 32,000km. A front shake developed in the front end. I brought the car into the Plaza Nissan dealer thinking that a front end component had given way. It turned out that the belts had slipped on the tires. Once again, I was very surprised that tires would go this early. And as an added surprise, because tires were not covered by warranty, I was on the hook for replacements. The dealer offered to sell me the exact same tire for $185 a piece. Needless to say, I was not willing to pay that amount for tires that obviously would not last, so I went elsewhere.

The icing on the cake happened this past fall. Early in September, my son noticed that there was not much heat coming out of the heater. However, it was a warm Fall, so we did not do anything about it. A few weeks later when the weather got cold, it became a problem. We took the car into the dealer and were informed that the problem was a faulty head gasket and the bill to repair it was $1200. And by the way, we were 2 weeks out of the warranty period, so there would be no help from Nissan. Knowing that the problem really happened a few weeks earlier when the car was still in warranty made this even more frustrating. The dealer called Nissan on my behalf to no avail. I placed a call to the Customer Support help line at Nissan but was basically told “Sorry about your luck!” and was given no other avenue of appeal. I wound up having the work done at Plaza Nissan and to their credit; they did give me a 10% discount.

To throw some salt into the wounds, they then informed me that the click that I was hearing in the steering was a faulty upper strut mount, and in fact the struts and tie rod ends were worn to the point that they would not pass a safety either. I asked the dealer if the head gasket failure and front end wear seemed a bit unusual for a car that only had 65,000km on it. I was told that no, this was normal.

As a result of this, I now want to get rid of this car as soon as I can. The general notion that Japanese cars are superior to domestic products is a joke. I’ve never had so many problems with any of my dozen or so North American vehicles. But cars are cars and failures happen. The worst part of the experience was the manner in which I was ignored by Nissan. There was no attempt to discuss my issues or any offer of compensation. I understand that the warranty had expired ….. But only by 2 weeks …. ? And the mileage on the car was still so low.

They say that when you are happy with a product, you will tell a few people. When you are unhappy, you will tell the world. This adage is true; I have told everyone that I work with about my experiences. My wife has told everyone that she works with.

In the end, you kept a mechanic busy at Plaza Nissan for a couple of hours but you lost a future customer for sure and probably a lot of sales from people where my wife and I work. I don’t expect to hear back from anyone but I needed to let someone there know about this experience.

I won’t buy another Nissan again…….

- , Hamilton, ON, Canada

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