06 Nissan Sentra

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Oct 10, 2005
The better half is thinking of trading in her 03 Saturn Ion(yeah, the one with the reddish colored oil that I posted about before) and getting an 06 Nissan Sentra. They're giving huge rebates on it since there's a complete redesign coming for 07. She would be getting the 1.8L w/5 speed.

I believe this engine is spec'ed for 5w30 - anyone have a good recommendation for an oil for it or a general opinion on the car?
Here's one Sentra fantasy we managed to kill a few days ago...


though there is a lot of good info in the thread above, I will say that I used a sentra 1.8 for a number of days out in Pittsburgh. I have to say that the time I had it made the sentra to be my favorite economy car.

I averaged 35.2 MPG in hilly driving with a fair amount of traffic - better than the economy gotten with an 04 civic driving across A with cruise and no traffic. Not too bad. I felt that the engine (1.8 no less), even though coupled with an AT, had more getup and go than the 04 civic that I dorve across PA (by a long shot), and thinking back, the 1.8 sentra was a better powertrain than the 2.0L AT focus rental that I got brand new and have put 9000 miles on currently.

I have always liked the lines and driving experience of the sentra. MT would surely make it even better.

You do have to watch out about the gasket issues and whatever else the above posters mention... that said, if it is a good enough deal to be able to come out OK with getting rid of an 03 saturn (get ready to get burned, this is normally a stupid move), and can get a real nice rice on the sentra, then it might be worth it. Youre in touch enoug with the engine operation to know when something is wrong - if your savings are good enough, you can create a repair savings fund to pay for a headgasket or whatever else, IF it comes along, which it may not.

I dont think Id easily be able to beat a good deal on a sentra if I was looking for an economy car today. that said, YMMV.

My wife has had an 04 Sentra 1.8 liter with an automatic transmission for a couple of weeks now. Overall she loves it, as do I, it's a good car for the price, good fuel efficiency, and the maintenance doesn't appear to be too hard (but that's a plus for me). I believe the 06 models are still fairly similar in all ways, as you mentioned there's going to be a complete redesign with the 07 models, so it should stay close till then.

Other than the head gasket issue, which doesn't seem to be as big a problem as GM and their intake gaskets, I have no negatives about the car.
Only real problem with my 2003 was a faulty head gasket that was repaired under warranty.

For what it's worth, and just my opinion, the oil filter location was designed/engineered by an idiot on this car. On the firewall side of the engine up and away is not a fun spot even when the car is on ramps...

MT would surely make it even better.

Yeah, I'd enjoy mine much more if it had a MT.

I haven't checked mine for head gasket issues - It's a leased company car, so I don't really care as much as if it were my own. On the other hand, the cat had to be replaced (under warranty) at 25K miles. Other than that, with 30K miles on the clock (it's an '03), the interior rattles a bit here and there, but overall it's a decent economy transportation.

Not sure if you'll like it more than the Ion, alas if you're having serious issues with the Ion, then I understand the urge to unload it.

As far as oil, while it was serviced at the Nissan dealer under the maintenance contract, they were using some bulk 5w-30 mineral oil. Last time I took it to JL for an oil change and they used mineral Pennzoil 10w-30. The engine appears to be running a little smoother, but maybe it's just in my head.
the fiacee's integra has one like that... tucked neatly under the intake manifold, so you not only cant fit your hand in, but when you try, you get scalded.

Cartridge filters for me!

Or maybe her car is a good candidate for a remote mount?!?

The engine will last forever with ANY synthetic oil, quality filters, and reasonable OCI's like 7.5k or twice a year. This engine is easy on oil. But, the oil sump is small. Don't neglect the oil dipstick until the engine is broken in and consumption is nil.

Its a great commuter car for the money. Sentras tend to be a little rough around the edges.
Dealer discounts, rebates, and the redesign should make the leftovers a steal. I saw a local dealer advertising them for under $9k.

I've heard of the head gasket issues but some of the owners that I've talked to also were also negligent with maintenance. And, I haven't seen any statistics that the 1.8 was any worse than other vehicles. Basically, I seen head gaskets fail on just about every make and model.

To alleviate any head gasket anxiety, change the coolant & thermostat(use OEM) every 2 years, and use an antifreeze sealant like Barsleak, GM, BG44k, Alumaseal, Prestone, RadiatorSeal... Toss the sealer in when you take delivery of the car.
Or, prior to expiration of the powertrain warranty, get a UOA on the oil.

Nissan oil filter placement really is pathetic on some of the cars. Remote mount is the way to go if you are a backyard mechanic. But, I've never had any problem removing any Nissan oil filter. So it takes an extra minute and I'm more competent than the typical grease monkey.
If you practice jippylube service, it is wise to verify filter replacement. I know of several Nissans that had 3-4 quick-lube oil/filter changes. When I serviced them, they still had the gorilla installed tough to remove OEM factory filter from the factory, and not the quickeelube filter.

The transmission also shifts well. A move to a synthetic fluid will make winter shifting easier.
I had to trade in my 03 Saab for a 05 Sentra 1.8L. I been very happy with the car. I can't complain one bit about it. I paid $13K for it. I get over 32mpg on my work commute.

I been using Mobil 1 5W-30 for the last four OCI's. The engine seems to like it. It has been staying in grade every time. The oil filter is kind of tough to reach. You just have to make sure to lay a rag over the exhaust manifold. If you don't, the oil from the filter will spill all over it. I made this mistake the first time I changed the filter. It smelled like burnt oil for the next 1,000 miles.
what?!? you traded in your saab?!? Was it a company car? Why did you do that?

How does the economy of the sentra compare to the economy of the saab? 32 is on the low end of what I get commuting, even with a lot of traffic.

good luck with your sentra... If I needed a commuter car it would be on the top of my list!

I have a 06 Sentra 1.8S SE and I love it.

I only have about 2800 miles on it. I'm not concerned about the head gasket. If it leaks, I'll get it fixed. We used to have a 96 Saturn SL1, these were also known for head gaskets (Saturn sent us a letter and extended our warranty for this) and we drove it for 10 years and never had a problem.

You will never find the perfect car... There is always going to be something that goes out. With the Special Edition package, you get a ton of features for the price!

Personally I enjoy the 32 to 35 MPG I get on the highway (and it's an auto)!


Edit: I changed my oil to Pennzoil 5w-30 at 1000 miles. Hasn't used a drop and runs nice and quiet. At 1000, the factory fill was still right at the full mark.
one funny thing is that if the sentra has a bad gasket, nobody in this thread, myself included...and if it needs to get fixed, it gets fixed.
if we were talking about a domestic product, the bashers would be out so fast this thread would already have 5 pages!


Originally posted by JHZR2:
..if we were talking about a domestic product, the bashers would be out so fast this thread would already have 5 pages!


Hehehee.. aint that the truth! I had a 2001 sentra GXE with the 1.8L. Had a 1993 sentra before that. Both were nice commuter cars. For babies, car seats and families, not so much. Had to trade the 2001 a few years ago for something larger, but we never had a lick of trouble in 45Kmi. Nissan must have tweaked the 1.8L as we never saw MPG better than ~27mpg-ish (4spd auto). They are a nice small 2 person car, but there are a ton of choices in that segment. To the original poster. I'd keep the ion. You cant beat the ecotec, and the saturn has a higher-up more comfortable seating position IMO.


Personally I enjoy the 32 to 35 MPG I get on the highway (and it's an auto)!

How do you guys do that? It seems that no matter how I drive it, city or hwy, I can't get better than about 27-28 mpg.

Originally posted by JHZR2:
what?!? you traded in your saab?!? Was it a company car? Why did you do that?

Does this ring a bell??


How soon you forget JHZR2

I drive 25 miles one way to work. I would get around 35 mpg with my car. The problem is all the tree huggers driving their Subaru Outbacks 55 mph in the fast lane. I have to slow down, speed up, slow down the whole way to work. My car has to shift gears often.
no, I must be missing something... do you still have that beautiful car, or is it gone??? I havent been to saabcentral in a while...

35 MPG sounds about right

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