really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
66,834 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.

2003 Nissan Sentra engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Nissan Sentra Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #32

Apr 102008


  • 62,777 miles


2003 Nissan Sentra SE-R has been giving me problems. The engine would just shut down while driving twice on me now, which is so dangerous when driving on highway. The engine lights come on at all times, take it to dealer and they said it sensors, did this about 5 times now within a year. Now the engine wont start, again take to dealership this time engine is flooded cause the sensor weren't working, they just reset the sensor. I am in constant worry when driving this car never know when the engine will stop running when driving.

- Brighton, MA, USA

problem #31

Mar 042009


  • 64,255 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Sentra. While driving approximately 40 mph on normal road conditions, the vehicle hesitated, vibrated, and misfired when shifting from second to third gear. Suddenly, the RPM's increased excessively high when the gears were shifted downward. In addition, the check engine warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel and remained lit until the engine was turned off. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing and they stated that the failure was related to the secondary butterfly screws and an internal component in the engine. The vehicle is currently inoperable and has not been repaired. The failure and current mileages were 64,255.

- Rapid City, SD, USA

problem #30

Feb 172009


  • 70,459 miles
The "service engine soon" light came on. I took it to my mechanic. He ran it through the computer and told me that it could be a transmission problem. I had a transmission flush done and light went off. A week later the light came back on. And now the car wont start. I went to the NHTSA.gov website, read that the crank position sensor, or the camshaft position sensor or the variable timing control sensor, on the make, model and year of my car, could be causing problems. It could be causing engine power loss, which it does struggle. The "service engine soon" light to come on, which it did. Or a "not starting-up condition" which is where I'm at right now. The car does not want to start. Please help me because I think that I qualify for these services to be done to my vehicle. Thank you for your time.

- Canoga Park , CA, USA

problem #29

Feb 162009


  • 71,000 miles


Check engine light has been on for a while with erratic gauges that only work sometimes.... then recently car has been shutting off, completely dying while driving sometimes at low speeds, sometimes on the highway. Sometimes will restart for me, sometimes will not. After research online, found out about recall on 03 Sentra with the exact things that my car has been doing. Called Nissan and took my car to a local dealer and they said my cars VIN number was not included in the recall, even though the same year, model and engine as the recall listed. This is so dangerous and it is happening very frequently now.

- Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #28

Jan 222009


  • 59,716 miles
This is what has happened to date: 1.my wife was driving our "03 Sentra at 11 pm on January 22, 2008 when the engine suddenly quit. It would not restart. Fortunately, it happened on a side street with light traffic. 2.I had the vehicle towed to my usual mechanic, a Firestone dealer in norcross, ga. 3.the next day the Firestone mechanic informed me that the vehicle?S issue was a crank position sensor that was bad and that this was covered by recall #03V455000 for "03 Nissan Sentra, among other Nissan vehicles. It was recommended that I take the vehicle to a Nissan dealer. 4.that next morning, the vehicle was towed to the capitol city (formerly peachtree) Nissan.. the capitol city Nissan service agent informed me that my vehicle was not covered by the recall. He showed me the document that indicated that the recall only applied to "03 cars manufactured on or before 30 June 2002. Mine was apparently built in December of ?02 5.capitol city Nissan also wasn't convinced the problem was the crank position sensor so insisted on running their own diagnostics to identify the problem. In the end, it was confirmed to be the crank position sensor. It is my contention that the failed sensor was defective and should have been covered by the recall. The defective sensor caused a sudden engine failure, exactly as described in recall notice 03V455000. Fortunately, the failure occurred while the car was moving slowly in light traffic. I brought this to Nissan's attention. They have refused to correct the defect at their cost. It is my contention that the recall should be expanded to include all "03 Sentra as I have read of several of these occurrences to vehicles just outside the recall manufacturing period.

- Norcross, GA, USA

problem #27

Jan 102009


  • 62,000 miles
My 2003 Nissan Sentra, is recently experiencing related items in recall campaign 06V24000, but Nissan states my VIN does not show on the recall campaign. I took my vehicle to a Nissan dealership, and was told it was the mass air flow sensor, which was replaced for $698.41. Soon after the dealership fixed my vehicle, I experienced the engine stop running at a low speed while traveling onto the highway. I called the dealership and Nissan, I was assigned case # 6389764 I was told I would be contacted by Nissan within the next 48 hours. I am posting this complaint, because of the jeopardy of Nissan putting my life and my family's life at risk. My loved ones are afraid to travel in the vehicle with me. I find it somewhat of a enigma, that my VIN does not fall under the recall, but I am experiencing the exact problems per recall campaign #06242000.

- Portsmouth, VA, USA

problem #26

Oct 012008

Sentra 4-cyl

  • 134,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Sentra. She experienced stalling consistently in November of 2008. She thought it was the gasoline she used that caused the vehicle to stall. On December 3, 2008, the vehicle shut off while driving. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The dealers diagnosis found failure codes for the head gasket and crank sensor. The third cylinder and the crank sensor circuit were replaced. The cost of the repairs were $1,678.58. The repairs did not correct the failure. The dealer rediagnosed the vehicle and stated that the stalling was due to a faulty fuel pump that needed to be replaced. A report related to the failure was filed with the manufacturer who stated that there was a recall; however, the VIN wasn┐T included. The contact was advised that she will receive a refund if they found that her vehicle should have been recalled. The failure mileage was 134,000 and the current mileage is 135,000. Updated 02-23-09 updated 02/24/09.

- Waynesville, GA, USA

problem #25

Aug 202004


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Sentra. While idling at a traffic light with the heat, headlights, and radio activated, the vehicle stalled. The interior lighting was still illuminated; however, all of the electrical components would not operate. The contact was unable to restart the vehicle. Through online research, she discovered NHTSA campaign id number 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling). The VIN was not included in the recall, although the failures were identical. On a separate occasion, the vehicle rapidly idled without the accelerator pedal being depressed. The failure and current mileages were less than 70,000.

- Burke, VA, USA

problem #24

Dec 192008


  • 33,491 miles
My 2003 Nissan Sentra died out while driving again within two weeks (12/05/08 & 12/19/08)! the problem is that my car dies out while driving -then, service engine soon light comes on & all gauges go erratic, or vice versa. These conditions come out without any warning. The first time my car died out on the road was on 03/21/2007. However, since I purchased this brand-new car in 2003, there was something wrong with the engine. It was hard to start the engine and died out, which resulted in damaging the starter. (approx. 6 times of services and possibly, a recall seemed to solve this one.) then, another problem came up. Service engine soon light comes on more and more frequently as years go by since 2004. (approx. 8 times of repair attempts and not fixed yet as of 12/23/08) also, all the gauges suddenly go erratic (bouncing around or up& down movements) when start a car or while driving. Again, these conditions come up without any warning. Especially, in the morning when start a car, it happens more (more than once a month) than while driving. This year the oil gauge became completely inoperable and cost me $550. Recently, I sometimes notice that my car does not creep, which makes it hard to speed up. Every time these conditions come up, I take my car to the Nissan dealer. However, they are unable to find what is wrong. It has been years, and my car is getting worse even though the mileage is only 33491. Now, my car has been stuck in the dealer for days as of 12/23/08. Nissan should repurchase my car because it jeopardizes others' and my safety/life on the road.

- Carson, CA, USA

problem #23

Dec 052008


  • 33,430 miles
1. the car dies out while driving -suddenly all the gauges become erratic and engine dies out. Service engine soon light comes on. Bouncing gauges occur while driving. 2. service engine soon light comes on every 3-4 months. The car dies out while driving once a year. Bouncing gauges occur at least once a month -erratic and sporadic. Because of this ongoing problems that the dealer has never been able to fix, it gives me great emotional distress and fear of driving. It was pure luck that I did not get into accidents so far. But it is time that something has to be done to stop this ongoing unsolved problems. 3. the dealership always takes a look at it, but they are unable to find the problems for years. One time they returned my car, stating, "there is a ghost in your car." During the last visit at the dealership, they stated it (car dies out) would come back again, and that next time it happened they would do further test. What if the "next time" gets me into a fatal accident?

- Carson, CA, USA

problem #22

Sep 152008


  • 95,000 miles


Was told by Nissan that my 2003 Sentra SE R spec V need a new engine. Engine failed because of defective catalytic material being ingested through exhaust valves. Thus scoring the cylinder walls, leading the car to consume oil. Without oil the engine will fail. The car was brought to the dealer concerning an oil consumption problem, dealer declared that it was within parameters and there was no problem. This was just before the 60,000 mile warranty was up. The car now has 95,000 and needs new engine. Nissan claims to know nothing of this problem, yet there are thousands of people with similar problems.

- Middletown, CT, USA

problem #21

Sep 092008

Sentra 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 50,700 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Sentra. While driving 60 mph, the vehicle suddenly shut off without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they stated that the cam shaft sensor needed to be replaced. The current and failure mileages were 50,700. Updated 10/20/08. The consumer stated a recall had been issued, but the consumer's VIN did not apply to the recall. Updated 10/20/08.

- Woodstock, MD, USA

problem #20

Sep 012008


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Sentra. The vehicle would crank, but failed to turn over. An hour later, the vehicle was able to be restarted. Later, the vehicle would not start once again. The contact was able to finally start the vehicle. While driving 60 mph, the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic and the cam shaft was replaced. The failure and current mileages were less than 100,000.

- Riverview, FL, USA

problem #19

Jun 012008


  • 99,000 miles
Re: 2003 Nissan Sentra spec-V. several times the engine would stall while driving on the highway both at high speeds (starting around 50mph) and low speeds (while at full stop or low speeds), causing engine failure and steering wheel lock while driving. While driving on the highway I practically almost died trying to get over to the shoulder when the engine stalled. I researched online for possible causes, and found this website regarding the recalls for my vehicle. I dropped the car off to a Nissan dealership service dept in the morning and informed the service technician re: The recalls. They inspected the vehicle and informed me that the ECM had to be reprogrammed. Once they reprogrammed the ECM, they called me back and informed me that the crankshaft position sensor needed to be replaced as well, which was the possible cause of the engine failures. Once they completed all repairs, they told me that the ECM reprogramming was free of charge, but I had to pay for the crankshaft replacement because it was not VIN specific. Even with all these services performed, the service engine soon light is still on. I called Nissan Consumer Affairs.

- Colonia, NJ, USA

problem #18

Jun 092008


  • 76,000 miles
2003 Nissan Sentra engine quit and check engine light came on. Would not start. Nissan had a recall 03V455000 but my VIN is not included in the recall even though it is a 2003 Nissan Sentra. I had to pay for the repair- around $280 out of pocket.

- Schenectady, NY, USA

problem #17

Mar 252007


  • 84,000 miles
I bought a used 2003 Nissan Sentra for just a little more than a year ago from a used car dealer. Less than a month later I found some listed recalls on the web for the on board control unit which was causing the computer to miss read the crank case positioning sensor, and oxygen sensors, & causing cars to stop running for anywhere from split second to several seconds. This could cause an accident for this on board computer was making error codes show up when doing smog test and there was nothing wrong with these sensors. I went into my local Nissan dealer to have these recall repairs done, I was told that only one of the four repairs would be done to my vehicle because my 2003 Sentra was made in Dec. And the recall for the other were for up to Nov of 2003. My Sentra has been having the same exact problems that the recall repairs were suppose to fix, only they wouldn't fix mine. Since about a month after that my check engine light has been on and about a half a dozen times a week my car will just stop running for about a second and start up again. Also since then I have had both the crank case sensor and the oxygen sensor replaced and not only will the check engine light not go out, but now even after I have replaced both of these sensors because they were showing up as defective when I had the smog checked, this defective on board computer still shows the exact same defect codes even after putting new parts in. This has now cost me over $150 for parts I didn't need and even worse, the car won't pass smog even though there's nothing wrong with the parts I had to replace. So now because Nissan wouldn't replace what they knew was a defective part, the on board computer or what the service manual calls it then (ECM) controller, I have 3 days (Nevada only gives you 10 days extension if your car doesn't pass smog to fix it). ECM controller will have to be replace II don't have $700 to $1000 dollars to pay for one.

- Henderson, NV, USA

problem #16

Mar 082008

Sentra 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Sentra. When stopping at stop signs or traffic lights, the vehicle hesitates and stalls. The mechanic stated that the engine control module failed. The manufacturer stated that the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign id number 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling). The powertrain was unknown. The current mileage was 94,000 and failure mileage was 93,000.

- Griffin , GA, USA

problem #15

Jun 022003

Sentra 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 4,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Sentra. While driving at any rate of speed, the vehicle shuts off without warning. The vehicle restarts occasionally, but most times the battery needs to be replaced in order for it to start. The vehicle has been taken to a dealer three times and the battery was replaced approximately five times. The VIN was included in NHTSA campaign id number 03V455000 (engine and engine cooling), but the failure continues. The current mileage was 65,000 and failure mileage was 4,000.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #14

Jan 172006

Sentra 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 69,321 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Nissan Sentra. While driving 10 mph, the engine shut off. The check engine light illuminated prior to the failure. The engine's computer was replaced. There was a bearing that failed and a couple of push rods bad. The vehicle's warranty expired and the contact had to pay for the repair. The Nissan manufacturer informed him to take the vehicle back to the dealer and start a file. The mechanic stated that because of the oil burning in the engine, the contact was not maintaining the vehicle properly. He felt that his engine was the same as those in the 2006 Sentra and should be included in NHTSA campaign id number 06V223000 (engine and engine cooling). The purchase date was unknown. The current mileage was 94,000 and failure mileage was 69,321. Updated 02-12-08 the dealer stated replace front brake pads and resurfaced rotors. Updated 02/12/08

- Deltona, FL, USA

problem #13

Dec 052007

Sentra 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 90,000 miles
(1) events leading up to the failure, normal driving. Pulled up to stop sign and engine died. Will crank, but not start. (2) failure and its consequences, and car is inoperable. No damage or injuries. Error code is 0340. Crankshaft position sensor (3) what was done to correct the failure; I.e, parts repaired or replaced (and if old part is available) called power Nissan dealership at 1 888 295 7489, advised service personnel of, was told NHTSA campaign 03V455000 does not apply to vehicle.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

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