2003 Nissan Sentra GXE from North America


Don't buy this car! (unless you want to buy mine.)


The "check engine soon" light has gone off 6 times.

My car breaks down under extremely hot and cold weather conditions.

The glove box has a tendency to fall off.

The heat doesn't work.

General Comments:

For a relatively new car my Nissan Sentra has had more problems then its worth.

I've taken my car to the dealership for service (other than routine maintenance) about 10 times in 3 years.

Two months ago my car broke down due to overheating in... well... the heat. I left my car for a week at a nearby dealership for repairs that cost me over $800. Last week my car decided to stop providing me with heat and broke down during a recent ice storm. I returned the car to the same service department (since the symptoms of the break down were the same) and spent over $200 in repairs. As I drove my freshly repaired car home, I decided to test out the heat. Well, I don't know if 25 minutes is enough time for a car to warm up, but it wasn't for mine.

I wish I spent more money on a car that was more reliable. Don't waste your time and money on this car and the people that service it. Well, unless of course you don't mind a car which only form of heat comes from the warm glow of the "Service Engine Soon" light.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 4th December, 2006

2003 Nissan Sentra SER 2.5 from North America


Great bang for your buck in the beginning


I financed a 2003 Nissan automatic SER that was a trade in at a GM dealership for $15,000.

For the first 8 months I had no issues at all.

I owned a 1988 Z28, 88 Trans am, and a 95 Dodge spirit all of them had repairs done every couple of months.

I decided to try something different buying this Sentra.

I bought it because of its look and speed. Took it for a test drive and it blew me away the quickness of this car.

However since April I have had nothing, but problems with this car.

First the car would take at least 5 cranks before I could get it started.

Took the car in and Nissan then told me it was foam in the ECM. They fixed that.

The car then began to stall in traffic. Took the car in to Nissan they told me there is nothing wrong. Called Nissan Canada they said that its possibly a cam sensor.

Back into Nissan and told them about the cam sensor. they told me its not on recall and I will have to pay for it. Told them no way.

Month later get a recall letter for the cam sensor. Took it into to Nissan they fixed it.

Month after that I got another recall for another sensor. Took it in again they fixed it.

Sub woofer that comes with the car no longer working. Took it into an audio shop they won't touch it. Took it to Nissan it would cost me hundreds to replace. Forget that!

Month later engine light comes on. Nissan said it was a small issue fixed and repair under warranty.

Week later rattling coming from the pre-catalytic converter. Nissan took my car for 4 days stating that the catalytic is fried and that they did not have screw for a new one they were on back order.

Left the dealership and they forgot to tell me that they spilt coolant all over the manifold and engine. Drove car in traffic with steam seeping from the hood for over an hour.

NOW the engine is eating the oil in the car like nothing I have ever seen. Checked the oil level 2 weeks ago it was full. Checked the oil level today and it is bone dry not even a tiny bit... its empty!!!

Called Nissan they said they don't know what it could be. Told them what I read on here about the Pre-Catalyst they said they never heard of it.

I now have to bring the car back in again for them to look over.

I honestly loved the car when I bought it and now with all the issues I will never buy another. Now I'm stuck with this car for the next 4 yrs.

General Comments:

The car handles great looks mean from the front, has torque like a V6, V8.

No stock Honda on the road could compete.

Even gave a 2000 Mustang a run for its money.

Other than that the transmission feels like its banging into each gear no matter how slow you go.

The speakers in the car are horrible and expensive to replace.

Once you spill anything on the crappy cloth seats you can't get the stains out.

The engine fan sounds likes its on all the time Nissan says that's normal.

Sometimes the car takes off like a rocket and other times its slow. Not reliable HP!!

If this car didn't have the problems it would be a fast and fun car.

Advice is never finance one... you will be stuck with it for life. I love Nissan, but all of these cars should be pulled off of the streets and replaced with new ones!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 24th November, 2006

16th Jan 2007, 11:37

Well, I own a SER Specv. All I can say is if you research a bit before you invest and take care of the car, you wouldn't have a problem with it. G'luck!

26th Feb 2007, 14:15

As for the original post.. there is an issue with these cars in which the Butterfly valves, inside the intake manifold, they have 2 screws holding each valve down. They tend to come loose in 2002-2005 models, 2006 has revised screws. It is possible a screw got sucked into your engine, possibly scoring your cylinder walls a little, then getting sucked into the CAT. This happened to me, but I was lucky enough to have no scoring of the Cyl. walls. I bought new revised screws and replaced them, and loc-tited them. GOOD AS GOLD now with 80k.

28th Feb 2007, 15:54

I'm not defending the Sentra - the 2003 wasn't up to Nissan's normal durability standars. But I do find it interesting that the original poster has had, by his own admission, FIVE cars that needed service in the first few months.

In fact I've owned numerous Nissans and Hondas that needed nothing in their first 100,000 miles other than normal service.

I'm 55 years old and have owned too many cars to remember, and I haven't owned a single car that needed a repair in that short a period of time. If I were this poster I would step back and 1) look at how I'm treating and driving my new cars, and 2) get help from somebody who knows something about cars next time I shopped.

9th Jul 2008, 14:18

That's Nissan in a nutshell. Great cars, but one of, if not the worst company for customer service.