This article was written by Brian Jones, ASE Certified Master Tech and Lemberg Law Automotive Contributor
Click on other model year to view more problems: 2018
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Problems with the Electrical System
With today’s modern systems, cars rely on the electrical system more than ever. Yet, Sentra owners continually find themselves at the shop for electrical problems.
Here’s one such complaint left on the Edmunds website. “I have a 2019 Nissan Sentra SV. I’ve only had the car for a week I’ve already had major problems. Car battery has died 2x, the car is not recognizing the key fob, power steering sensors light on , front radar crash detector light on.”
The issues get even larger when recalls get involved. Nissan issued NHTSA Campaign Number 19V654000, which affects over a million vehicles. This recall states that the back-up camera display isn’t functioning properly, further putting people in danger. I guess the automaker figures drivers can “rock every city block” without going in reverse.
Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 Nissan Sentra Electrical Problems:
EVERY TIME I DRIVE ABOUT 4 MILES THE FRONT RADAR SENSOR GETS DISABLED AND DISPLAYS A WARNING, THIS DISABLED THE CRUISE AND TURNS OF AUTOMATIC EMERGENCY BRAKING, THIS IS DANGEROUS FOR ME TO DRIVE WITH, I HAVE TAKEN THE CAR TO THE DEALERSHIP 3 TIMES AND ITS STILL HAPPENING, THE DEALERSHIP CLAIMS THEY FIXED IT BUT DID NOT
Problems with the Visibility
While looking at the rear visibility, it becomes evident that there are also issues with the forward view.
Another Edmunds user says, “The matte-chrome accents on the vents and ultra-illuminated dash board reflect off the drivers windows and side mirror so much that it obstructs my view. It’s similar to a mirror reflection- and yes, I’ve dimmed the dash lights too. I’ve had to drive with the window DOWN in the RAIN in order to see on the highway when switching lanes.”
The company hasn’t discussed any efforts to correct the poor visibility. At this time, there are no instructions to technicians, nor any plans to create a new design. Basically, Sentra drivers are operating blind, whether they are moving in the forward or reverse position.
Problems with the CVT Transmission
Without visibility, one would hope that the vehicle at least moves as it should, but that’s not the case either. The Sentra suffers from serious transmission concerns.
Here is one NHTSA complaint. “I was coasting towards the traffic light wanting to make a left hand turn when the light turned yellow and I was already past the point where I could back up. I had to hit the gas pedal to make the turn in a quick fashion and beat the oncoming traffic. The car just puttered along and I almost got hit by the oncoming traffic. It seems like the CVT transmission gets disengaged when the car is coasting at low speeds (5-10 mpg) and there is a loss of power to the wheels when I hit the gas pedal again. RPM is 3000 and the car still doesn’t move quickly enough to get out of that dangerous situation. The reason I believe that the transmission is the culprit is because when I stop at a light or stop sign and I barely come to a stop and I hit the gas pedal again, it makes a jerking motion, like the transmission didn’t downshift to 1st like it is supposed to. It gets stuck in the high gear and when I hit the gas pedal it downshifts hard. I have to stop a few feet away from the light and then release the brake a little in order for it to downshift to 1st.”
It turns out that Nissan knows this transmission is a piece of junk. Even Service Bulletin #NTB19-068a talks about how the vehicle might exhibit a lack of power and noticeable hesitation with the MIL illuminated. This problem will also set DTC P0868. Yet, owners are currently stuck in intersections around the country, hoping that their little car would go.
Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 Nissan Sentra Transmission Problems:
THIS CAR MAKES ME LOOK LIKE I DRIVE LIKE AN OLD LADY, PEOPLE ARE GETTING UPSET, AS IT HAS NO PICK UP POWER AT ALL EVEN THOUGH THE RPM IS PAST 3000. THERE IS JUST NO WAY OUT OF A POTENTIAL DANGEROUS SITUATION. THE REASON I THINK IT IS THE TRANSMISSION PROBLEM IS BECAUSE WHEN SHIFTING FROM 2ND TO 3RD IT LOSSES POWER, LIKE WHEN THE TRANSMISSION IS SLIPPING.
Problems with the Brakes
The Sentra is a lower-cost car, but it still should come with a reliable engine. Sadly, that’s not the case.
For an example, check out this statement on Edmunds. “I was driving a 2018 Sentra with 18,190 miles on it when this happened. I was driving on the downtown main street going at 10~20mph with frequent stops due to heavy traffic. The engine decided to shut down while I’m still driving, of which I’m so glad of the speed I was driving at that time, otherwise, it would be a lot worse than just honk from the cars behind, I could be in a fatal accident. Having to rush to the court, I had to drive an hour to the court with this known issue with lots of anxiety. I got the car exchanged at the rental car company after attending the court and was talking to an old lady who had five Sentra in her life. She was complaining about newer Sentra (after 2012 or so), she also mentioned her daughter’s Sentra wheel was locked while driving on the freeway and had to spend three thousand dollars to fix it. I am seriously playing safe to avoid Sentra at all costs.”
For once, Nissan has talked about some of the issues plaguing this engine. Service Bulletin #NTB17-082b says that there could be an evaporator leak at the vent control valve O-ring on some engines. While it’s nice to see the company take responsibility for something, it would be far better if the automaker made a better car, which kept the occupants protected and safe. After all, the only “new direction” this car is worthy of is a trip to the junkyard.
Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 Nissan Sentra Brake Problems:
FAULTY RADAR ON FRONT OF MY CAR CAUSED SPEED CONTROL AND EMERGENCY BRAKING SYSTEM TO MALFUNCTION WHILE IN MOTION. THIS OCCURRED SPORADICALLY SINCE NEW AND THEN CONSTANTLY FOR LAST 3 MONTHS. I FINALLY TOOK THE CAR IN FOR TROUBLESHOOTING LAST WEEK AND THE RADAR UNIT ON THE FRONT OF THE CAR WAS REPLACED. THIS FIXED THE PROBLEM BUT IT SHOULD BE BROUGHT TO SOMEONES ATTENTION BECAUSE OF THE SAFETY HAZARDS INVOLVED.
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