The Sentra has been in production since 1982 and is an affordable option for small families.
With a starting price of around $20,000, the Sentra boasts plenty of cabin space, state-of-the-art technology and great drivability.
In this article we’ll examine the longevity of the Nissan Sentra, read on to find out more…
Here is the short answer about how long the Nissan Sentra last:
The Nissan Sentra can last between 250,000 and 300,000 miles provided it is well maintained and driven sensibly. For the average driver doing 15,000 miles a year, this equals 16 to 20 years of service before major repairs are required.
How Many Miles Can You Expect from a Nissan Sentra?
As with any car, the longevity of a vehicle is dependant on the owner and there are many variables at play, however based on research data, we can say that the Sentra can last a long time, with the right care and attention.
There is evidence to suggest that a Sentra can last upwards of 250,000 miles and can even last up to 300,000 miles. For the average daily driver that means more than 16 years of use of service.
Of course, the lifespan of the car is completely dependent on the driver, how they drive and also how often and how well they maintain the car.
Nissan offers a maintenance plan for the Sentra, for new or pre-owned models which undoubtedly will keep your vehicle running for longer. As well as safeguarding performance and resale value.
It’s important to note, that proper maintenance is also a requirement of warranty coverage and lease agreements.
To ensure you get the most life out of your Sentra keep an eye on oil and coolant levels, wear levels on the air filter as well as tire pressures and tread depth.
Sentra owners should also have their vehicle booked in for preventative maintenance at factory-recommended intervals to run properly.
How Soon Should You Expect Rust on a Nissan Sentra?
There have been widespread rust related issues with the earlier Nissan Sentra models, and there are reports of drivers seeing rust on their cars within 3 years of it coming from the factory.
It remains to be seen whether Nissan has resolved this issue with their newer models, however, rust issues have been widely documented from the first generation (1982), all the way up to the seventh generation (2012).
Manufacturers are becoming much better at rust-proofing their cars these days though, thus allowing cars to age much better than before.
The best way to prevent rust on your vehicle is to take care of its exterior paint.
Note that for residents of coastal or snowy areas, salt in the air or salt used on roads causes your car to accumulate rust faster, so more frequent cleaning is necessary.
Salt buildup on vehicle surfaces is corrosive, and the sand, dirt and snow that accumulate can trap moisture in wheel wells and underbody structures.
To mitigate these issues, wash your vehicle thoroughly.
Make sure to open the hood during a wash and to get the undercarriage during routine washes.
What is High Mileage for a Nissan Sentra?
A Nissan Sentra with over 100,000 miles on the odometer is considered high mileage and a riskier investment although there are multiple factors to take into consideration, most importantly the vehicle’s service history.
Buying a used Sentra with over 100k miles won’t necessarily equate to a sour outcome.
A well-maintained Sentra with 100,000 miles might be a better purchase than one with 50,000 miles that had lots of owners and led a rough life or was a prior rental car.
Some important factors to consider are:
- Amount of previous owners. As a general rule less is better. More owners generally equates to more wear and tear. If one family owned it and drove the full 100k miles and serviced the car, then you can almost guarantee they took good care of it throughout ownership.
- Maintenance history. That the vehicle was properly serviced and the seller can provide proof of this.
- Check the CarFax. This doesn’t guarentee anything but can help provide a clearer picture of wear and tear. Make sure it has minimal damage, if any. Analyze the data to make sure if something did happen, it wasn’t engine related or mechanical.
- How long you intend to keep the car. If you’re planning on keeping the car for many years, you have to ask yourself – do the short-term savings outweigh spending a little extra into something more reliable.
How Long Do Nissan Sentra Last Compared to Similar Car Models?
The reasonably priced Nissan Sentra comes up against some fierce competition:
Nissan Sentra vs. Honda Civic
One of the Sentra’s toughest opponents is the hugely popular, Honda Civic.
The civic can last 300,000 and last up to 20 years with careful driving and good maintenance, and is on par with the Sentra in this regard.
The Civic outperforms the Sentra in terms of performance and safety and has been awarded the title Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
This all comes at a cost however with the Civic being around $2000 more expensive.
In addition, lower ownership costs is another plus for the Civic at $368 for annual maintenance costs, that’s $123 less than the Sentra.
If you are on a tight budget then the Sentra might be the more viable option however the Civic is certainly worth the extra money in the long run.
Nissan Sentra vs. Mazda 3
The Mazda 3 is a sporty sedan and is one of the most fun-to-drive cars in its class, offering dynamic steering, responsive brakes, and quick acceleration.
The life expectancy of a Mazda is slightly less though at 250,000 miles when compared to the 300,000 miles of the Sentra.
The Mazda 3 is $1240 more expensive than the Sentra, with a starting price of $20,650 vs the Sentras $19,410.
Both have similar fuel efficiencies with the Sentra just edging it with 33 MPG against the Mazda 3’s 31 MPG.
The Mazda 3 costs around $462 to maintain annually, which is $29 cheaper than the Sentra.
If you’re main priority is longevity the Sentra is the better choice here.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Mazda3 Last?
Nissan Sentra vs. Volkswagen Golf
The Volkswagen Golf is a European favorite produced by the German automotive manufacturer VW since 1974.
A well maintained VW Golf can last between 200,000 to 250,000 miles.
The VW Golf has an annual repair cost of $630, which equates to $139 more than the Sentra.
According to RepairPal, the Volkswagen Golf Reliability Rating is 4.0 out of 5.0, which ranks it 25th out of 36 for compact cars, whereas the Nissan Sentra Reliability Rating is 4.0 out of 5.0 and ranks it 14th out of 36 for compact cars.
If longevity is your main focus, we recommend choosing the Sentra over the Golf.
How Reliable is the Nissan Sentra?
Based on research data and anecdotal evidence, we can say the Sentra is a reliable car.
RepairPal has ranked the Sentra 14th out of 36 for compact cars and has awarded it a reliability rating of 4.0 out of 5.0
J.D Power has given the following quality and reliability ratings (consumer verified) for the Sentra:
- 2021 – Great 84/100
- 2020 – Great 84/100
- 2019 – Great 83/100
- 2018 – Average 79/100
- 2017 – Average – 75/100
Data suggests that as the years go on, the Sentra improves in quality and reliability.
Reliability Compared to Other Cars
|Toyota Corolla||4.5 / 5.0|
|Kia Forte||4.5 / 5.0|
|Honda Civic||4.5 / 5.0|
|Toyota Matrix||4.5 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Cobalt||4.5 / 5.0|
|Hyundai Elantra GT||4.5 / 5.0|
|Hyundai Elantra||4.5 / 5.0|
|Mazda3||4.0 / 5.0|
|Ford C-Max||4.0 / 5.0|
|Kia Forte Koup||4.0 / 5.0|
|Hyundai Elantra Coupe||4.0 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet HHR||4.0 / 5.0|
|Nissan Sentra||4.0 / 5.0|
|Buick Verano||4.0 / 5.0|
|Dodge Caliber||4.0 / 5.0|
|Dodge Avenger||4.0 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Cruze Limited||4.0 / 5.0|
|Hyundai Veloster||4.0 / 5.0|
|Mitsubishi Eclipse||4.0 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen Jetta||4.0 / 5.0|
|Mazda5||4.0 / 5.0|
|Nissan 370Z||4.0 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen Beetle||4.0 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen Golf||4.0 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Cruze||4.0 / 5.0|
|Ford Focus||4.0 / 5.0|
|Dodge Dart||4.0 / 5.0|
|Mitsubishi Lancer||3.5 / 5.0|
|Chrysler PT Cruiser||3.5 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen Golf SportWagen||3.5 / 5.0|
|Subaru WRX||3.5 / 5.0|
|Subaru Impreza||3.5 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen GTI||3.0 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen Eos||3.0 / 5.0|
|Subaru WRX STI||2.5 / 5.0|
|Avg. Compact Car||4.0|
The Best and Worst Years for Nissan Sentra
Although a generally reliable car, the Sentra, like many vehicles that have been around a long time, has its best and worst years.
According to Car Complaints, the worst year on record for the Nissan Sentra is the 2015 model due to possible factors such as high repair costs or more problems at lower mileage. 2015 models also have a bad reputation for transmission failures around the 50,000-mile mark.
The Sentra with the most complaints overall however is the 2013 model, the majority of complaints related to transmission problems and to a lesser extent brakes problems.
Since 2013 the number of complaints has dropped with each year that passes, however as a general rule the newer the Sentra the better, the best choice would be any model later than 2016.
What About Recalls for These Models?
The Nissan Sentra has experienced some recalls in the past.
The majority of these are not serious and range from software issues with the infotainment system to exterior lighting issues. However, there have been more significant issues such as airbag failures, although these are uncommon.
The Nissan Sentra has been recalled a total of 45 times over its 29-year service life, which in fairness, isn’t too bad at all.
Here is the full list of recalls by model year:
- 2019 – 1
- 2018 – 1
- 2017 – 2
- 2016 – 5
- 2015 – 3
- 2014 – 5
- 2013 – 6
- 2011 – 2
- 2010 – 3
- 2009 – 1
- 2008 – 3
- 2007 – 1
- 2006 – 4
- 2005 – 4
- 2004 – 3
- 2003 – 8
- 2002 – 12
- 2001 – 8
- 2000 – 7
- 1999 – 3
- 1998 – 5
- 1997 – 7
- 1996 – 7
- 1995 – 7
- 1991 – 2
- 1990 – 2
- 1989 – 1
- 1988 – 1
- 1987 – 1
Nissan Sentra Model Year List
The Nissan Sentra has a long history that dates back all the way to 1982.
- 1st Generation: 1982 – 1984
- 2nd Generation: 1985 – 1989
- 3rd Generation: 1990 -1994
- 4th Generation: 1995 – 1998
- 5th Generation: 1999 – 2005
- 6th Generation 2006 – 2011
- 7th Generation 2012 – 2018
- 8th Generation 2019 – Current
Are Nissan Sentra Expensive to Maintain?
Generally, vehicles similar to the Nissan Sentra are slightly more expensive to maintain than smaller cars, however they still remain an affordable option for potential buyers.
The Sentra however, is reasonable in its maintenance costs at only $491 per year on average according to RepairPal.
This is marginally lower than the vehicle average of $652 per year and the compact car average of $526 per year.
|Model||Avg. Annual |
|Frequency of |
|Probability of |
|Hyundai Elantra GT||$397||0.3||9%|
|Kia Forte Koup||$469||0.3||11%|
|Hyundai Elantra Coupe||$497||0.4||9%|
|Chevrolet Cruze Limited||$498||0.4||11%|
|Chrysler PT Cruiser||$641||0.2||14%|
|Volkswagen Golf SportWagen||$606||0.8||11%|
|Subaru WRX STI||$758||0.5||21%|
|Avg. Compact Car||$526||0.3||11%|
How Long Do the Brakes Last?
The brakes on the Nissan Sentra will last on average between 30,000 and 70,000 miles.
This is dependent on driving style and how well the car is maintained.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Mitsubishi Lancers Last?
How Long Do the Tires Last?
Tires will generally last between 20,000 and 60,000 miles on the Sentra.
The lifespan of tires can depend on a number of factors such as how controlled the driver is with their braking, steering and throttle usage. Calmer and smoother driving can make tires last longer.
Tire rotation and ensuring tires have the right amount of pressure will help extend the life of the tires.
How Long Do the Transmissions Last?
The transmission on the Sentra normally can last between 200,000 and 300,000 miles with proper maintenance.
How Long Do the Spark Plugs Last?
Spark plugs are not expensive and are generally checked and replaced when the car is sent in for a service.
Expect them to be changed between 60,000 and 100,000 miles.
What About Insurance Cost?
According to finder.com, an insurance payment estimator, the Nissan Sentra will cost around $2640 a year, which equates to $220 per month. This is an estimate, and the insurance price can be either higher or lower depending on factors such as age and driving record.
You may also be interested in our article: how long do Nissan Murano last
Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Nissan Sentra
Taking care of your Nissan Sentra will ensure it lasts longer and has a high resale value.
Here’s how you can keep your Sentra in tip-top condition:
- Practice responsible driving: Try not to overdrive your Sentra. This does not simply mean using it excessively, but not driving it in a rough manner. Keep your driving style smooth and calm to reduce strain on the car.
- Keep up to date with maintenance: Do not miss scheduled services. Try to follow your maintenance plan as closely as possible to ensure that all components on your car are running effectively.
- Fix any issues as soon as possible: Some small problems can lead to bigger problems. For example, a worn-out brake disc can result in a failure which can cause an accident with severe damage to the car. Try to fix everything as soon as it comes up, no matter how small the problem may seem.
- Clean regularly: Particular when exposed to salt, keeping your car clean can have an enormous positive impact on rust reduction.