2020 Nissan Sentra Long-Term Review Update: Repair and Maintenance Experience

In a previous update, we shared test numbers from the day our long-term nissan sentra got its wiggles out on the test track. Since then, the car has served as a comfortable shuttle for a weekend escape to Palm Springs and as a steady, reliable around-towner.

This small family sedan hasn’t been terribly exciting but also hasn’t caused any headaches—until it did. One day, for no discernible reason, the driver’s-side door refused to unlock after a short drive. Now, it’s been some years since any of us last practiced a Bo and Luke Duke window exit, so after some experimentation, a half-hearted prayer, and wishing the neighbors would go back inside, the only choice left was to crawl over the center console and exit on the passenger side. (I provide the entertainment in my neighborhood; that’s why the property values are so strong.)

That contortionist act was the most painful part of the whole process. The next day, reps from the local Nissan dealer came to pick up the car for repair and left behind a 2021 Sentra SR loaner, one trim level up from our long-termer. Since our mileage was just a hair short of the first (7,500-mile) scheduled service, our Sentra got that done at the same time. In addition to the prescribed oil change, tire rotation, and inspection, we learned the front door lock actuator had bitten the dust prematurely. A replacement actuator and the labor to install it came at no cost to us, and the Sentra was delivered back home, repaired, serviced, washed, and disinfected, in just a few days.

Given the affordable nature of the Sentra, we were in no way expecting the royal treatment—but certainly enjoyed it. In this author’s, ahem, close to 30 years of driving, she’s endured a lot of uncomfortable chairs, obnoxious TVs, torn-up old magazines, and crap-tasting coffee in dealership waiting rooms, so this came as a welcome relief. When we asked Nissan how we got so lucky, its rep told us this was media protocol but that some dealerships offer pick-up/drop-off and loaner service, so your mileage may vary. Everyone gets the COVID sanitation, though.

As far as the defective door actuator, online forums suggest ours wasn’t an isolated case. When we asked Nissan about it, the company said it was “not aware of any data that indicates a widespread issue with this component on the new Sentra.” So it looks like we were just unlucky.

Read More About Our Long-Term 2020 nissan sentra SV:

  • Arrival
  • Update 1: 2020 nissan sentra Road-Trip Review: The Pros and Cons of Compact Car Travel
  • Update 2: Our nissan sentra Goes to the Test Track

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