Nissan Sentra worst driving car I’ve ever owned

I’m going to try and condense this as much as possible,

Basically somebody totaled my previous car, a 2014 Nissan Altima. Best car I’ve ever had, it had 200,000 miles when someone wrecked it and never gave me any trouble at ALL. This was during the used car price spike. I got my money from insurance for another car which during this time really wasn’t enough for anything decent. I settled for a 2015 Nissan Sentra, used with 108,000 miles on it taken very good care of. I’m aware of the crappy transmissions in this car, however there was a brand new transmission just put in it at 105,000 miles with paperwork from the dealer. So I figured if I bought it and took care of it the transmission would last me a while. On top of my previous amazing experience with my Altima.

I test drove it before I bought it and noticed a steering wheel vibration that felt exactly like tires needing balanced so I just brushed it off. Other than that it drove fine. God do I regret that

This has been THE WORST VEHICLE I have ever owned. What I thought was wheels needing balanced turned out to be I DONT KNOW STILL. The steering wheel vibration has gotten 10x worse and there is now vibration in both pedals, floorboard, and the seats. The car permanently pulls to the right no matter how many times I get it aligned. When I’m driving at highway speeds the car vibrates so bad all around it feels like the car is about to just fall apart. And worst of all, nobody can figure out what is causing it. Here is a list of everything I’ve had done with no results:

Took it to get the wheels balanced 3 different times by different shops

Gotten it aligned by 2 different shops, one time It was pulling to the right immediately after I left the shop. Took it back to them and they realigned it and it was still pulling to the right bad

Was told I had a bent wheel possibly causing the problem, okay so I buy a brand new wheel to replace it. Nothing

Told I had 2 bad tires almost showing wire, got them replaced with brand new very nice tires. Nothing

Brand new motor mounts AND transmission mount

Brand new wheel bearings and CV axles on the front. Nothing

Checked all tire pressures they’re all where they’re supposed to be on all 4 tires

The only thing I can possibly think of at this point is taking it somewhere that can look at my frame and see if it’s warped or bent. I looked up the carfax and there is no accidents reported.

I understand the Sentra is a lower budget model / trim car than the Altima, but surely the car just shouldn’t be driving like it is about to fall apart. I have asked these alignment shops and the mechanic that did the CV axles and bearings to inspect thoroughly and look for ANY problems they can find and they all say everything looks fine.

I’m at a loss. Does anyone have any ideas as to what could make a car vibrate so bad that I haven’t touched on?

1st question, at what speed is this happening?? Does it get progressively worse the faster you go??

Next question, does it have custom wheels??

Yet another question, did you have an automotive shop that does more then just tires (like Discount tire, Walmart, Casco) or more like a Goodyear, Firestone, Midas or a well know independent shop to the balancing??

Last one for now, have you paid a real shop to check out the vibration or are you just guessing and throwing parts at it???

I think most of the pro mechanics on here and in the real world could figure out that bad of a vibration with a good test drive to confirm the vibration and then rack and raise the vehicle and checking it out… Checking for any loose steering/suspension parts as well as start the vehicle put it drive and give it some gas to get it up to speed while observing the driveline… Hell I would even check the harmonic balancer (vibration damper) to make sure it is not about to fall off… lol

I kind of have a bad feeling about that 3,000 mile transmission that was just installed, that might be why the owner dumped the vehicle after spending all that money on it, especially with the vibration just getting worse and worse…


Sounds like it has been wrecked and not repaired properly.

CarFax is NOT infallible.

Trade it for something else. Life is too short for this.


Anyway you can post the alignment sheet(s) they should have given you with the alignment(s)??

The pedal vibrations start as soon as I start the car. Idling and driving the pedals vibrate. The steering wheel, seat, and floorboard vibration starts at about 65 mph gets worse the faster I go.

Stock wheels

So far I have only taken it to local independent alignment / tire places that I take all my other vehicles to. They’re all very reputable and I’ve worked with them for years

As far as the mechanic that did the front end work, he is reputable i’ve also been with him for years. He is also local and independently owned. I don’t take my vehicles to big name shops from bad experiences before. When he first looked at the car after I bought it he told me the front cv axles and bearings were in bad shape. After that, he couldn’t find anything else wrong just like the alignment shops.

I can if I kept them, I can’t remember if I threw it away like an idiot or put it in the dash.

Trust me I’ve been wanting to at least sell it and buy something else but money is tight and for the amount that car is valued at I couldn’t really get enough to buy anything else that doesn’t also need work

Never mind!


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I don’t see struts on the list but if it has been inspected by good mechanics, I’d assume that the struts have been tested and are good. But I’d have someone look at the strut upper mounts.

All you can adjust on the front end is the toe in. Caster and Camber is fixed. There is a camber kit that can be installed to correct camber but it does not come on the car from the factory.

If you have a carpenters level about 2’ long, or know someone who does, park the car on a very flat surface and put the level vertical to each front wheel and see if they are perfectly vertical or only very slightly tilted in at the top. If one is very tilted in or out at the top, then there has been some damage to this area. This would account for the pulling to the right and if bad enough, even the camber kit won’t help.

If the engine vibrating at idle isn’t due to a misfire, then the engine damper could be defective. It’s like a little shock absorber that goes between the center of the head to the firewall.

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Did someone take apart the engine and put the balance shaft back together incorrectly? I’m qust guessing that it has one. 4 cylinders usually do except budget and racing engines.

Engine mounts would be next. They can be fluid filled for best performance. The cheap non OEM ones are not fluid filled. It can make a big difference. Does the problem get worse in cold weather? That means it is engine mounts.

The engine subframe usually has rubber mounts going to the body. I doubt that would be an issue though.


I wouldn’t expect a perfectly smooth idle from a 9-year-old Sentra, especially if you have installed cheap engine mounts.

Only paperwork? Or did you buy the car from a dealer? This type of malfunction should have been repaired via a “due bill”, but only if you insist upon the repair as part of the vehicle purchase.

Just thinking. I’ve had my share of transmissions but never had a vibration at idle, unless somehow the flex plate or converter was screwed up or loose. I agree though a good mechanic driving it might at least be able to narrow it down some.

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Get real. I have a 21-year old Daewoo Lanos, literally the cheapest car which was sold in this country at the time, and after I completed the engine repairs, it runs smooth as silk. I would certainly expect a 9-year old Nissan to run smoothly, unless the engine is worn out.

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Sounds like you have multiple issues… The reason for the alignment sheet is to see what the non adjustable factory camber/caster is showing, that will shed some light on it being wrecked or damaged in the suspension area…

When at idle and the car not moving that eliminates the driveline issue, but doesn’t mean the vehicle was not wrecked and someone didn’t pull the frame correctly or weld the engine and trans mounts back in the correct location causing the mounts to be in a bind causing the vibration…

Again, check the harmonic balancer and probably even run an engine compression test and check the spark plugs while out also to make sure nothing going on there, lots of fake (knock off) internet spark plugs out there…

I have seen transaxles cause higher speed vibrations, had a friend fight with a NEW Altima with replacing many sets of tires, all Bridgestone and Michelin and at 2,000 miles the dealer finally replaced the transaxle and the car was smooth as silk afterwards…

I would also have the tires broke down and checked for any kind of fix a flat or water in them as that can/will cause vibrations, especially if being balanced that many different time… A lot of people balancing tires will spin them to see what weights are needed and then just knock on the new weights and NOT respin the wheel/tire to make sure it 0 balanced, I have found lots of fix a flat in tires just by respinning the wheels/tires just to see it called for more weight… Also are the tires the correct speed rating for the car, and NOT all tires are smooth, tire can/will make or break a vehicles ride… You normally get what you pay for…
As already mentioned, Caster and Camber will cause a pull if out of spec enough or from side to side… again the alignment sheet can explain a lot…

Or just sell it, lick your wounds and move on… sadly enough…


Hadn’t thought of that. Someone else mentioned a flex plate or torque converter. I think resonating vibration would appear at certain engine speeds only, but an out of balance part in the transmission might vibrate all the time and get proportionally worse at higher RPM.

Suggest to focus on the cause of the noticeable vibration at idle (presuming in neutral). That sort of problem is usually fairly easy to identify. Pretty likely either something that is rotating when the engine is running isn’t properly balanced, or the engine & transmission mounts aren’t doing their job. Suggest the shop do a standard mount test to double check. I know you say you’ve had them replaced, but the replacement could have been done incorrectly, and that will show up when they are stressed in the mount test.

If the idle vibration cause isn’t the mounts, next guess would be the engine is misfiring. Ask your shop to check for any diagnostic codes, esp those related to engine misfiring or incorrect air/fuel mixture.

If not mounts, and no obvious engine problems, next up, maybe there’s some sort of incompatibility with the harmonic balancer and flex-plate. The flex plate might have been replaced along with the transmission at 105K. Both of those parts are usually constructed purposely out of balance, but when combined and matched together, that make the entire engine in balance. But the amount they are both out of balance has to exactly match.

If nothing found still, probably going to have to remove the transmission for a look see.

Not many Sentra owners here saying what you are saying. You can see for yourself using the forum search feature, link upper right this page. Mostly if there’s a complaint about the Sentra, pretty likely about the automatic trans. Manual Nissan trans complaints very uncommon. I expect you are just having some bad luck.

If trans is discovered the problem, suggest to ask your shop if it is possible to replace the current trans w/a manual.

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I can’t completely agree with that

I’ve encountered several vehicles that had a crappy idle right from day one, even though everything was operating correctly

Some cars are just garbage from the start and only get worse :poop:


Like the old GM 90 degree 3.3L vs the bigger brother 3.8L engines, the 3.3 felt like a miss at idle when new, but the 3.8 was smoother, even with out a balance shaft…

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Your experience with Altima was not typical thus pure luck. Every single “the worst of the worst” list has at least two nissans. I’ve never been a huge fan of nissan but after its alliance with the French… wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.
It seams you have two independent issues. Vibration - mechanical, pulling - previous wreck. I’d assume that an alignment shop would check 4 wheel alignment and figured it out but these days, craftsmanship is a largely extinct animal…