My wife's nissan

Hello, I’m new here. Apologies if this is the incorrect place to post this question.
My wife and I are complete newbies to this world but have a very real question.
How can we make our car drive better and smoother on a very tight budget?
We know “shocks” are a way to accomplish this. But have no idea where to go past that.
Any help in updating and making our ride better would help.
My wife uses the car regularly for work. You can say safely that the car is her office.
After a days work, her body is pretty beaten up.
Wed like to remedy this.

Thank you.

What’s the model, age, and mileage of this car?

New shocks could be a disappointment for your situation depending on which model and year the Nissan is and how many miles are on it and which shocks or struts you chose to buy.

It is possible that you could do better with new tires that are designed for a smoother and quieter ride or new seats or additional seat and/or lumber cushions.


Sorry, I should have included this information in my initial post. Its a Nissan Sentra 2014 with about 40 miles (maybe 60. I know this is a big difference but Ill check shortly. This is off of memory).

I agree, these Nissans drive horribly-


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Its the only car we have. Any help would be appreciated.

If it has the optional 17 inch rims and tires, you might check if 16’s will fit.

Would give you a taller tire sidewall and help with the ride.

Might be kind of expensive to switch them.

You can help by describing in more detail what kind of issues it has. Has it gotten worse over time or has it always had a poor ride? Does it make any noises when going over bumps? Does it track poorly? Does it bounce excessively over bumps? What about the ride is causing physical distress? Is it amplified by some physical issue like a bad back or something? Those kind of details will help people to diagnose and suggest repairs or improvements.

I think I might not have proper expectations.
I work in the IT field and I know of a few ways to increase performance of any PC.
Added (faster) Memory, (faster) hard drive, maybe a (better) video card? All of this information I base off of type of mother board and user usage.
However, some are so generic that I know we can improve the device by making some simple changes.
I know vehicles are different but I am wondering if they follow the same principles?

We use this car on a daily basis. Its never had anything special or anything done to it. The ride is “serviceable” wed like to make it the best ride we can on an extremely tight budget.
Is this possible?
I read that air suspensions are a good way to go. Tighter higher tires are a good way to go.
We want the imperfections of the road to be absorbed by the shocks not the chassis (and ultimately us).
Right now I am only speaking about a smooth ride. If she hit a huge pothole Id like for her to almost feel nothing. I know that exists cause I’ve experienced it.
Is there something like that, does car upgrades follow the same logic as PC work or is there something I am missing??
Thank you.

Cars are more like laptops than desktops. There might be some shared components but the assembly is different enough that there’s not a one solution fits all approach to altering its characteristics.

A lot of ride comfort depends on chassis tuning, suspension, suspension travel, seat cushioning, tire characteristics, etc. Of those, only the tires and maybe the suspension can be changed for relatively little money, and there’s no guarantee that there’s a suspension or tire out there that would make the car ride to your liking. Especially since most Sentra buyers aren’t looking for a limo-like ride.

You say you’re on a tight budget, so air suspension is out.

Tires could make a difference. Unfortunately a lot of the best-riding tires are also expensive. A free option is to be sure the tires are not overinflated. The recommended pressure will be on a sticker on the driver side door frame. If they’re overinflated, they’re harder and the ride will be harsher.

That’s not feasible. Especially today. Even in a luxury car. I feel potholes in my Lexus - you’re definitely gonna feel 'em in a Sentra no matter what you do. Some tweaks might get you to a softER ride, but you’re never gonna get to a soft ride without spending enough money to get a car that rides better in the first place, or to do a hovercraft conversion of your Sentra. :wink:


What are my options?
What is the least expensive upgrade I can do.
Let me see what we need. This is all new to us.
Let me know the options. How much is air suspension? What manufacturers are best. What other options are available to us?
I’m here for knowledge. I know the Sentra isn’t the bees knees, but I want to take the car and fix it so we go from serviceable, to good if not great.
Then work on the amenities inside.

That’s the point. Unless your tires are overinflated or rock hard, you probably don’t have any viable options unless you can throw thousands (and thousands) of dollars at it.

Again, cars aren’t computers. I just ripped the guts out of my Thermaltake case and built a new gaming rig in it for less than $1,000. That’s not something you can do with cars. I mean, you can, but it’s gonna cost you eye-watering amounts of money. There’s a car customizer near my house who could do it. He strips cars down to the bare chassis and then meticulously builds them from the ground up to be whatever the owners want them to be. His projects start at around 100 grand.

Air suspensions can be more than 3 grand just for the parts. Then you have to pay someone to install it. And even then most aftermarket air suspensions these days are designed to allow you to lower the car on command to make it look “good” (subject to interpretation) at car shows or to keep the vehicle level when you put a lot of weight in the back (which is why freight trucks and motor homes often have airbag rear suspensions).

So you need to get the right kind of air suspension, preferably adjustable on the fly. And once you’re done, you still have the same chassis which was designed for economy and handling over ride comfort, and there’s no making that better without another large investment.

I suspect that you might be on this air suspension thing because some luxury cars come with it. Yeah, they do, but they also have well-paid chassis and suspension engineers going through a squillion research dollars to set the vehicle up for the best ride from the get-go. You’re not going to get those results by going to Al’s House of Customz unless you’re willing to give Al a ton of money.

Usually when you’re talking about modifications that radically change an aspect of a car’s performance, whether that be making it significantly faster than stock, or ride significantly better than stock, it’s much more economical to sell the car and replace it with one that’s closer to what you want.


Hmm. I thought we could improve on the car somehow other than the inflation of the tires.
So if one buys a stock car, then the only other options are to either sell it for a better car or have everything ripped out and made to custom for hundreds of thousands of dollars?

I thought there are upgrades sorta speak. Things you can get aftermarket. I don’t know air suspension from duck soup. I have no preference. I thought there were things in-between to make your car run better etc.

Simple answer NO

Dropping tire pressure about 2 psi is about the best you can do with out spending much money.

New shocks may help, probably not though, new shocks usually give a firmer ride than what is on the car now. You would have to try several brands to MAYBE find ones that give you a softer ride at your expense.

I’ll try to rephrase this into something that might be more understandable. Your Sentra is like an AMD A4 dual core with 4 GB of RAM, low end mobo with two RAM slots, maybe one PCI-E slot that’s hardwired to x4 at most, 220 watt PSU , and a 500GB 5400 RPM HDD. In short it’s very basic and doesn’t much capability for expansion.

You’re trying to get this computer to play the lastest AAA game title at 4k res at max detail settings and not drop below 60 FPS. While there are computers that can handle that job. The one you have isn’t one of them ,and it cannot be reasonably/practically upgraded to made to do so.


Just to entertain some lesser explored paths…
Check if you would be able to procure some demilitarized tank or similarly big beast, you will not feel much difference driving over potholes, ditches or making a fresh path in the woods. :slight_smile:
In absence of that, your options with on-the-road vehicles are very limited to meet your required standard.

That note comes from a computer professional having quite a lot of hands-on car repair/maintenance experience.

OK. So nothing can be done for the car in respects to making it a smoother ride. Other than the tires. Understood.
Does anyone know of a site, newbie friendly that can help me with things like brake replacements…etc. Id like to learn about this.
We do need new brakes and I wanted to get myself informed.

So far, IMHO, the most likely way to soften the ride is that of It_is_me, smaller diameter rim with a higher profile tire, bur I suspect tires and rims would be over $1000. Even then ride change would be negligible.
Invest $20 in a gel/memory foam cushion. :wink:

Ask anything you want, we can help.

If you want to watch some really good general videos on how to do various mechanical things from beginner to advanced, look up Eric the Car Guy on Youtube. His stuff is very good.

What of brakes? We need new brakes for the car. Do I just say give us brakes or should I ask for something specific?

Also, we have a messed up bumper. We had a small accident and we need to replace it. What is an economical way to do it?
I was told to go to the junkyard get the piece then find someone to put it on for me and buff it…etc?
Is this true or more manure?

Thank you very much.