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Typical engine life for 2005 Nissan Sentra

My mom’s 2005 Nissan Sentra has approximately 70,000 miles on it. It’s been maintained with regular oil changes, etc. Late last week the check engine light came on. She took it to a local autoparts store to have the code read. They said couldn’t find anything, that is was probably a loose gas cap. Saturday the engine was racing. My brother and his friend (both pretty car literate) looked at it yesterday. They checked the coolant, etc. and couldn’t find anything wrong.

My mom was driving it to the dealership today when it died (on a brige, during heavy traffic of course). The dealership is telling her the engine is toast and it will be $5000 to repair it. This is the book value of the car.

My question is, how long should an engine for this car last? My brother has a 1996 Sentra with 220,000 miles that is his everyday car. I can’t believe in this day and age that a well maintained car would have an engine fail this soon.

Any thoughts or ideas? I told my mom she needs to talk to Nissan directly to see if they’ll be of any help first, but what else should we do? Your help is greatly appreciated.

I would expect no less than 200,000 - 300,000 miles. But remember that most cars don’t end their life because of a worn engine, but because of an accident or a specific expensive repair, the owner does not want to do.

We have a 1994 Nissan Sentra with 120,000 miles on it and aside from a few rust spots, the car is perfect. The engine does not use oil and the transmission shifts smoothly. The car has had normal maintenance.

You need a second opinion on what is wrong with the car first of all. If the engine is really “toast”, I would recommend a good used engine from a wrecking yard; there should be plenty around. The dealer only sells new or Nissan rebuilt engines and has a very high labor cost for installation. He also wants to sell your mother a new car. So select a good shop and spend $75 or so to have it towed there. A car that new has a lot of life left in it.

150k without serious problems is typical of any modern car. Many however go into the 150 to well beyond 200k without serious repair.

That being said some engines(rarity) even golden Honda and Toyota fall apart at 10k-100k.

Isn’t this car under warranty?

Car has 70k miles…How is it still under warranty.

I’ve had two Nissan’s go past 300k miles. Daughter is driving my old Pathfinder. She was home this past weekend…it now has 340k miles…Still in EXCELLENT condition. Engine is running fast so the dealer says you need a new engine?? Either you’re not telling us all the information or this dealer is by far the worse I’ve ever heard.

Jeez Mike relax-I don’t religiously keep track of new car warranty coverage. I was thinking Nissan had 5 year/75,000 mile on the powertrain, but it’s 5 year/60,000, though extendable to 100,000 miles. Since it’s only 3 years old she could attempt to see if Nissan will do a partial goodwill warranty repair since it’s close.

The engine should not have died at such a young age short of a real fluke occurring. If the engine was full of oil and the coolant level was up to par then it should not have died abruptly without some warning signs: knocking, rattling, etc.

It would be very, very odd for a smooth running, normal sounding engine to just up and quit on the bridge. Just on the offchance that the blown engine diagnosis could be wrong maybe your brother and friend should pay a visit to the dealer and get some details behind the engine failure, or alleged failure as it may be.

Just an FYI here. A guy dropped off a Nissan Sentra at my shop one time with a note attached that he wanted the engine rebuilt and rebuilt properly; hang the cost. Neither of us knew the other and the car (owned by his daughter) was dropped off after hours. The Nissan had about 60k miles on it, was as new, always garaged, and had been maintained to the hilt, BUT the engine was seized.

Since this made no sense a little investigation showed the problem was a seized idler pulley for the A/C system. The seized pulley bearing was locking on the belt which was in turn locking onto the crank pulley and preventing the engine from running.
I removed the A/C belt and the car started right up and ran like new. Replacement of the pulley bearing and all was well.
(And no, he did not get charged for an engine build. Less than 25 bucks total for the entire repair).

I repaired a very low miles (30k) 80s era Olds Cutlass that a guy had in a shop half a dozen times in which it was allegedly given a tune-up, fuel pump, carburetor replacement, O2 sensor replacement, etc, etc. and the car still ran like garbage. The last diagnosis was that it “needed a valve job”. Not likely at 30k miles.

The problem? One single plug wire had gone completely bad. When the car was placed on the oscilloscope the No. 8 firing line was shown as going through the roof. Slam dunk easy repair and a greatly relieved car owner.
The point here is that many times a small problem may be made to be much bigger than it is so any diagnosis of major engine damage should be double verified.

Maybe that’s a good reason to include a free plug wire set with every valve job. Keeps the customers from asking “Could the car have been fixed by just changing the wires?”

Somewhere on the Cartalk URL is a place where people recommend mechanics. Find it and look for a recommended mechanic in your area. Not just recommended, but if possible a strong number of supporters.

My son’s wife in VA had a car as described above here. Frozen a/c, which kept the car from starting. A local shop said it needed a new motor, that the motor was locked up. I dug around on the Cartalk URL and found a mechanic in their town with a number of really strong supporters. They found it was the a/c.

All cars sold in America have an 8 year, 80000 mile warranty on the catalytic converter and all the devices and sensors associated with the emissions control systems. It sounds like you should push the dealer really hard, and go to Nissan regional if necessary, because you are being lied to and the warranty is being ignored.

Besides Hyundai and Chryco…what other manufacturer has a warranty past 60k miles.

"They said couldn’t find anything, that is was probably a loose gas cap."
Sounds like they didn’t know what they’re doing. If the CEL came on then there’s a code. Gas cap is a WAG.

"Saturday the engine was racing."
That’s a computer or idle control problem, not engine major mechanical.

"dealership is telling her the engine is toast"
Exactly what do they mean by “toast”? They’re blowing smoke up somewhere trying to get a new car sale.

Nissans are starting to be known for timing chain problems. My guess tensioner or guide issues that allowed the chain to skip or jump which can destroy this interference type engine. Just a guess though- - -ask the dealership exactly why the engine is considered toast.

Nissans are starting to be known for timing chain problems. My guess tensioner or guide issues that allowed the chain to skip or jump which can destroy this interference type engine. Just a guess though

Since the car is drivable I don’t see how this could be the problem.

I have a 2005 Nissan Sentra that I thought has been running fine. I bought it from the Nissan Dealer with approx 11,000 miles. Took it in for regular oil changes every 3K-4k miles at the dealership (they have a special every fith oil chage free so average cost $23+ for oil change) Under warranty they replaced the oil pan twice for leaks and front main seal 2 times. I checked oil regularly and never low. Last oil change was at 59,787 miles. They told me oil level was low(oil light never came on) so they did compression test and compression was low. Service writer said since 213 miles left on warranty he would order new engine under waranty. I assume he knows of some problem with this particular engine because of their willingness to replace engine at this point. If you contact Nissan maybe they will work with you to replace engine if that’s what your moms car needs. Good Luck

This Sentra wouldn’t happen to have the letters SER under the name would it? That model had the 2500 engine and they had major problems with it. Other than that, she should find a good independent mechanic to look at it.

What exactly is wrong with the engine?

Thanks for all your comments. An update- the engine is seized, also needs a thermostat and coil. My mom said even the service people at the dealership are befuddled since they don’t see that when the car has oil and coolant as hers did. She is playing phone tag with a Nissan rep. I really hope they step up to the plate. Mom said she wants them to look at it and tell her why it died. My company is actually a supplier to Nissan (no, not engines), and I’m surprised that Nissan has not been faster given how concerned Japanese companies are with the quality of their products.

If battling with Nissan fails, we’ve already found an engine supplier for much less. My mom also has a call in with a possible person to do that work. I’ll post again, hopefully with news of how great Nissan has handled this.

FYI, Nissan is no longer Japanese, it’s French. Renault bought them.