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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
44,134 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Nissan Sentra engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Nissan Sentra Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #41

Sep 082006


  • 132,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Sentra. The contact stated that the engine oil dipstick tube would fracture every one to two years. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the tube was replaced with a newer one at the contacts expense. The manufacturer was contacted and informed the contact on how to remove the broken dipstick. No further assistance was offered. The failure mileage was 132,000.

- Liberty, SC, USA

problem #40

Jul 192010


  • 117,234 miles
The car just started cutting off. First mechanic said bad gas, did computer check nothing. Would cut off turning, full idle to silent cut off. Now does it on start up.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #39

Apr 142009


  • 140,000 miles
My 2002 Nissan Sentra will stop running, shut off when in low speed. This started about one year ago. I have contacted the dealership and have been told there is not recall on my car. But I have read on the internet many people with the same problem, when trying to find a fix for my problem. I also have had three dip stick come off into the dip stick holder. 12/4/08.

- Kansas City, KS, USA

problem #38

Mar 072010

Sentra 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles


This was the third time that my engine has cut off due to a malfunction of the butterfly screws on the intake valve of my 2002 Nissan Sentra SE-R spec V. I have contacted Nissan corporate about the issue and they have issued a recall on the 2003 and up models but refuse to issue the recall on the 2002 model. This could have resulted in a highway crash on two occasions as well as continuous damage to my engine.

- Ridley Park, PA, USA

problem #37

Oct 252009


  • 145,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Sentra. While driving 45 mph the vehicle stalled. After the failure, the check engine warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel. A mechanic concluded that the crank shaft position sensor failed. She contacted the dealer in reference to recall# 07V527000 (engine and engine cooling).her vehicle identification number was excluded from the recall. The vehicle was in the process of being repaired. The current and mileages were 145,000.

- New Port Richey, FL, USA

problem #36

Oct 032008


  • 90 miles
Hi, I have a 2002 Nissan Sentra ser, this car is equipped with a qr25de engine, the piston rings came defective from factory, Nissan doesn't assume their responsibility, but they sell improve piston rings for this type of engine... engine oil disappear with stock piston rings, car doesn't have any leak.... machine shops know this problem... consequence of this matter is that people brakes connecting rods, cylinders have uneven waste... Nissan only give 60K miles warranty on power train, but before that I notify them about this problem, they said that "was cylinder head". my point is the next: " if there is not any problem with the stock piston rings why they sell improved piston rings? ".... they know that are a problem with the stock piston rings.... thank you

- Davie, FL, USA

problem #35

Oct 132008


  • 95,100 miles


2nd time since owning the car that my dipstick has broken off in the oil tube. I now must either pay $150 to get it removed or try and figure out what to do to get it out.

- Salinas, CA, USA

problem #34

Aug 142008


  • 190,000 miles
1. car overheated first night it was bought new zero miles. Dealership fixed a stuck thermostat. (car should have been checked before it was sold to the customer!) this may have forever damaged this car. 2. 59,000 miles - car blows head gasket. Fixed by dealership. 3. ~60,000 miles - car running rough because the spark plug sleeve was not put in correctly after head gasket was replaced at the dealership leading to a pressure leak in a cylinder. This miss should have been found by the dealerships mechanic before releasing the car back to the customer. Fixed by dealership. 4. ~119,000 miles - car blows second head gasket. Dealership and Nissan both say they wont help pay because the car has too many miles on it. 5. car is currently at dealership where they are repairing the head gasket at my expense of 2,000 dollars plus I won't have a car for over a week. I asked if I would have to pay another 2,000 dollars in 60,000 miles for another head gasket because of this defective engine. I was told that it was a possibility. I did a google search on this model Nissan Sentra and found this to be a common issue. We even purchased a warranty that is good for 100,000 miles or till 2009, whichever comes first. We are just barely out of that warranty which we spent extra money on.

- Pacifica, CA, USA

problem #33

Apr 282007

Sentra 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 107,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Nissan Sentra. While driving 55 mph, the engine failed and the vehicle shut down. The vehicle had to be towed to a mechanic. Nissan stated that it would cost between $400 and $500 to dissect the engine and locate the cause of the failure. The vehicle has not been inspected by the dealer. The purchase date was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 107,000.

- Mumford, TN, USA

problem #32

Aug 222007

Sentra 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 82,416 miles
The dipstick cap on my 2002 Nissan Sentra gxe is plastic. Due to this and the normal heating and cooling of the engine, it has broken away from the dipstick and the dipstick is stuck down in the dipstick tube. To get this out and replace it, the dealerships and repair garages want $100-200+ dollars. This I have learned is a common defect among most cars of this make and model.

- Glenville, NY, USA

problem #31

Oct 102005

Sentra 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 63,000 miles


Severe engine failure. I bought my 2002 Nissan Sentra spec-V with only 7,000 miles on it and thought I had a great car. Thank goodness I opted for the extra 100,000 extended warranty. My car's engine experienced massive oil consumption around 60,000 and I noticed the whole time I owned the car that the oil was always low each time I changed it. I used only mobil 1 full syn every 5,000 miles. The engine failed 3,000 over the standard 60K powertrain warranty. I fought with Nissan for 1 month while they kept my car until I provided oil change receipts. Once I provided them they changed the complete engine which totaled $8,500 and more than the car was worth anymore. Further for about 70,000 the car had extended crank problems and were severe in hot or extreme cold weather. The car would take 20 seconds or longer to crank over while pumping the gas. After my 3rd complaint at my 3rd Nissan dealer they finally fixed the problem and put in a new fuel pump and sensor. The car has 98,000 and 36,000 miles after the new engine. I am thinking of getting rid of it before more trouble happens beyond my 100K warranty.

- Macomb, MI, USA

problem #30

Feb 282007

Sentra 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles
- the contact stated that while driving a 2002 Nissan Sentra at 65 mph the vehicle kept misfiring, causing the check engine light to turn on. At the dealer they determined that two screws were missing, causing the throttle plate to fall into the intake. The current and failure mileage were both 77,000.

- Winston-Salem, NC, USA

problem #29

Nov 012006


  • miles
2002 Nissan Sentra had a recall done and the same parts failed again. ** the vehicle was recalled for contaminated engine control module by the inner lining material. This proble caused the vehicle to stop running while deing driven. The recall repair was complete on 4/2004. Nov 28, 2006 the problem recurred. The dealer only paid for part of the repair. The consumer believes that the dealer should have covered all cost.

- Coram, NY, USA

problem #28

Oct 212006


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Hello, thank you for taking the time to read this E mail, it started with a simple oil change for my sister Nissan Sentra, I had just finished taking the used oil out and replacing a new oil filter, I went for the dip stick, and it broke, my day was already bad and it went to worst. The failure of the poorly design dipstick, its plastic handle, broke and the dipstick metal went in, I have tried players, metal stick with no luck, I went to the internet and found others in the same boat as me, talking about how at an oil change place or house when the dipstick broke, I have search the internet for hints and advice to how to get the piece out, many people put that it takes $210 dollars to fix, I don't have that kind of money to be using it on detailed areas of my car I haven't been able to do much, it to late, I have waited for my brother in law to help me out but the sun has set and its real cold I write this E mail so that Nissan cars don't get such a bad reputation,, is a internet source you may or may not know, some people say that they well change to Honda, Honda is one of the most roomiest cars I have every been in, my sister car is a 02 Nissan Sentra, I thank you once more for your time in hopes that something might be done to help Nissan owners feel that they did get their moneys worth buying a Nissan, thank you.

- Menlo Park, CA, USA

problem #27

Aug 222006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
June 15, 2006 - I was driving on the freeway and all of sudden, car stalled. Took it to the dealer. They replaced the emc. It ran fine for 2 months. Today again it stalled. Luckily I was able to restart the car. Taking it to the dealer for checkup on Thursday. Talked to the dealer, as of today no recall is due on my car.

- San Leandro, CA, USA

problem #26

Aug 092006

Sentra 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,260 miles
My 2002 Nissan Sentra SE-R experienced a power valve screw liberation consistent with Nissan voluntary service campaign # 5202. The issue is that the campaign is written to only cover 2004 and 2005 models. Obviously this manufacturing issue predates the dates covered in the vsc.

- Mauldin, SC, USA

problem #25

Jun 112006

Sentra 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 78,900 miles
I own a 2002 Nissan Sentra SE-R. it has approximately 80,000 miles on it. One day last month, on the way home from work, my car stalled at a red light. I was able to get it started and drive it the 15 miles to my dealership, but it stalled at least twice on the way. The engine also was not running smoothly and the "check engine light" was on. When I got to the dealership, they told me that a "power valve screw" had come loose and worked its way into one of my cylinders where it then proceeded to smash a spark plug. Also, I was informed that this was a known recall issue on the 2003 and 2004 Nissan Sentra SE-rs and on the Altima's, but that there was no recall issued for 2002 Sentra SE-rs. My extended warranty (75,000 miles) had just run out and my dealership suggested that I contact Nissan corporate to see if they would intervene and help, since all of the parts involved and the nature of the problem exactly matched what was happening in the '03 and '04S. The only difference was that my car was an '02. To make a long story short, Nissan corporate basically told me that since there was no recall issued for my model year and since my warranty had run out, there was nothing they were obligated to do for me. They also said, "don't worry. We are constantly assessing the status of recalls and if a recall is issued for the 2002 model year, we will reimburse you." I ended up paying over $600 (and it would have been more, had my dealership not taken pity on me and given me a discount) to get something fixed on my car that was a known problem for the 2 model years following 2002, but that (for some reason) didn't include my car. As I stated above, my dealership verified that all of the parts that were affected were the same as those involved in the recall, and that the actual problem was the same as the recall.

- Lincolnwood, IL, USA

problem #24

Mar 012004


  • miles
The contact states their check engine light is under a recall but their vehicle manufacturer states it is not. There are no other consequences that this has caused, the contact just wants the dealer to pay the bill so they can pass their state inspection.

- Spring Valley, NY, USA

problem #23

Apr 122006


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Went to get an oil change today and the mechanic pulled the dipstick and discovered that the half of the plastic handle that the dipstick was attached to had broken off. We luckily were able to remove the dipstick from home with a pencil and tape, however this signifies a more common problem that this vehicle is made of shotty parts. I had to get a tune-up at 25,000 miles, my battery has corrosion problems that have been communicated multiple times to the dealer with no fix, and my computer died at 40,000 miles and had to be replaced. I will now have to purchase a dipstick since they used a shotty plastic part that corroded and broke. This seems to be a very common problem. It may not be a safety hazard, however, the manufacture needs to be held liable. Here is a link to many other Nissan consumers who have had this same problem:

- Charlotte, MD, USA

problem #22

Feb 012006

Sentra 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 77,000 miles
Butterfly valve on the 2002 Nissan Sentra the car started to idle very rough while driving on the highway at 70 mph. The check engine light came on & the engine vibration became worse. The car stalled & I was almost killed trying to get to the side of the road. I was able to restart the car & drive a few more miles to work. The car was then towed to the dealership where they found spark plug #1 smashed because a screw was found in the intake manifold. The dealer said there is no recall for this problem. The dealer replaced several parts within intake manifold. Nissan North America refuses to address the problems in the 2002 and 2003 models as I have attempted to work with them in a reasonable manner. This is a potentially fatal issue as noted in different individuals experience the same problems with engines catching on fire or car stalling and locking up in traffic. Interested in pursuing a class action lawsuit.

- Easton, PA, USA

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