pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
69,950 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
  2. replace engine (1 reports)
  3. replace head gasket/resurface head/valve job (1 reports)
  4. replaced spark plugs and distributor cables/cap (1 reports)
  5. scrap yard (1 reports)
2003 Nissan Sentra engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Nissan Sentra Owner Comments

problem #5

Oct 162015

Sentra GXE 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles


$1400 repair. Haven't had another problem with the engine since, now at 113000 miles.

- hustlerlax, Millsboro, DE, USA

problem #4

Sep 012015

Sentra GXE 1.8L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,750 miles

I was a pretty happy camper for 13 years with that car.Never had major issues until... the freaking head gasketcracked. WTF Nissan ?You call yourself a RESPECTABLE car Dealership?

Symptoms were: No heat, motor overheated.

My mechanic told me that cylinder #2 had coolant in it,meaning that there was a crack somewhere in the motor.

Wanting a second opinion,I went to the Dealership in Longueuil. I specifically asked if in fact the motor was blown and they told me No.They replaced the radiator cap and that lasted 3 months...the symptoms returned again: no heat and motor overheated.

So the way I see it, Longueuil Nissan screwed me 'cause they knew about that problem, and now I will switch manufacturer, I think Toyota.

Way to go Nissan, you just lost a customer.

- John B., Mtl, QC, Canada

problem #3

Aug 182009

Sentra GXE 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Thought I had a reliable car, low mileage. On the highway, out of state, car started shutting down. The head gasket had blown. Out of warranty by a few months. Mechanic ordered replacement engine - and it also had a cracked head gasket! Had to find another engine. In the meantime, I'm riding the bus to work and renting a car on the weekend. I was blaming the place where I had regular maintenance done, but one of the men who replaced my engine said he took it apart and there was a screw that was too tight and caused it to crack.

- barbaraoh, Lisbon, OH, USA

problem #2

Dec 182003

Sentra SER 2.5L

  • Manual transmission
  • 19,884 miles

This car is a total piece of crap. The SER model have all the problem a car can have. Never buy this.

- S├ębastien M., Quebec, Quebec, canada

problem #1

Nov 152008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

In November of 2008, I took my 2003 Nissan Sentra to Maroone Nissan of Miami on SW 8th street. The car shook during driving and the "check engine" light was on. The service rep told me that my car had a "broken head gasket" and that I would need a new engine, estimate $5,000.00. I argued with him. My Nissan JUST had the head gasket replaced a little over a year ago at the same dealership. He told me that repairs were covered by warranty for a year and, of course, I was over the year limit. I declined the repair and drove the car home. Weeks later, my father, a mechanic of 30yrs managed to look at the car. He replaced the sparkplugs, the distributor cap and wires. The car ran great.....and continues to run great almost 2 years later. He also said that it looked like the engine had NEVER been opened (in other words, my first "blown head gasket" never happened). I reported Maroone Nissan of Miami to Dade County Consumer Protection Division (305 375-3677). I also reported them to the Florida State Attorney's Office. To make extra money, many of these "service repair centers" make false repair claims while the vehicle is still under warranty (my first "blown head gasket"). The consumer doesn't get too upset because the cost is covered. As long as we continue to tolerate these abuses, they will continue. I would encourage everyone to file complaints with their local consumer protection agencies and State Attorneys offices.

- mina in miami, Miami, FL, USA

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