1989 Nissan Sentra 1.6L SOHC from North America


Great car, fun to drive, easy repairs


Timing chain around 130k.

Alternator around 140k.

CV axles a few times.

Suspension bushings.

Rear struts.

Driver's seat torn.


Exhaust rusted off.

Tiny bits of surface rust.

Mass air flow sensor.

I consider all of the above routine maintenance for a car of this age.

General Comments:

This car has never left me stranded. I bought it for $500 about 7 years ago, it had been flood damaged so a few things about the car have always bee quirky. For instance, it sometimes idles rough and has to be tuned up regularly. I think some of the sensors were damaged in the flood. However, with routine maintenance and only minor repairs, this car has actually improved over the years. It is better today by far than when I bought it.

Performance is decent for an economy car. It is geared higher than most, which means it's okay to downshift to 3rd on the freeway to go up hills. I added a 2.25" cat-back exhaust with a Cherry Bomb Turbo II (basically a truck muffler) and noticed a slight performance gain without being obnoxiously loud.

I get 33 MPG on the freeway and 30 MPG around town. The car isn't very aerodynamic, and lacks sound deadening, so long rides can be a bit fatiguing due to road noise and vibrations. However, it handles well and gets me from point A to point B every time.

I do most of the repairs myself. I love the way the engine compartment is laid out, that makes it very easy to work on. I probably spend $500 every year in parts, and if I paid for labor it would be another $500. For a car that sees over 10,000 miles each year and only cost $500 up front, I consider it to be highly reliable. I have owned other vehicles as well, but this was my first one and it's still going strong. These engines will run forever if you take care of them.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st May, 2010

1989 Nissan Sentra from North America


Starter failed 2 days after I purchased her.

Fuel pump was "buzzing" loud during my initial test drive.

RH rear shock was "clunking" during my initial test drive.

Heater core leak at 117,000.

Just to be safe, and since I was relying on her for long drives from San Francisco to L.A. and back, I replaced the water pump and hoses at 117,000.

General Comments:

This car has never left me stranded. Even when the starter began to fail, I tapped it lightly with the jack out of the trunk and VROOM! Started right up. I found a used starter on eBay from a high positive feedback seller with zero negatives, for $25. Went to the local wrecking yard where I came across a 90' Sentra with only 85k on the odometer and snatched the fuel pump for less than $60. Out of that same car I grabbed the heater core for less than $40. Purchased (2) oem KYB rear struts online (Autohaus Az) for less than $100. Ordered a water pump for less than $60 from the same place.

It's definitely not going to win any races, nor is it flashy or even pretty, but man I've never loved a car so much. It really is such a reliable, simple little ride.

It's such an ease to change things compared to other cars. I was tempted a few times to pick up a better looking Honda Civic from around the same year, with slightly more miles... But in the end I decided to leave the money in the bank. I figure, why bother?

The only other things I foresee having to replace in the near future are the belts. Maybe in the distant future the timing chain... but I don't expect this to happen till around 200k.

Other than that this car can go 85mph easy. Races onto the freeway just fine. Actually pretty zippy for an old car.

Again, I absolutely love it and will own and drive it till the wheels fall off.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st July, 2009