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6 Annoying Nissan Sentra ECU Problems (+Solutions)

6 Annoying Nissan Sentra ECU Problems (+Solutions)

Nissan Sentra typically are reliable cars. However, they did have their fair share of problems throughout the years. In this article, we wrote extensively about all the common problems you´ll run into with a Nissan Sentra. Today, we´ll look specifically at the ECU problems. Here is a quick summary:

ECU problems have been most common in the 2010 – 2019 Nissan Sentra. Most problems were fixed with a technical service bulletin that involved reprogramming the ECU. Most of the time, the ECU didn´t cause driveability problems, but reprogramming was a practical precaution.

However, that certainly doesn´t tell us everything about the ECU problems on a Nissan Versa. Below, we´ll give you a detailed look at the potential issues, what caused them and how you can fix them. Read on!

1. Faulty ECU Software Causing Battery Drain (2019)

The 2019 Sentra had a voluntary service campaign on March 25, 2020, because of a problem with the engine control module. Specifically, the installed software allowed a Variable Valve Timing (VVT) solenoid valve diagnosis to draw electricity from the battery even when the engine was off.

This meant the battery could drain and naturally reduced the battery life, causing the risk of a no-start or electrical malfunctioning. In total, 241,059 Nissan Sentra were affected, but customer dissatisfaction was minor since it only involved a software update.

2. Californian Smog Test Causing Problems (2017 – 2019)

2017 – 2019 Nissan Sentra were part of a voluntary service campaign in California in December 2019. This was because the ECM would permanently store one of the following fault codes: P0448, P0101, P2008, or P0087. Nissan described this as follows:

Due to calibration errors on the affected vehicles, the ECM may improperly store a permanent diagnostic trouble code (P-DTC) even though the emissions on-board diagnostic system is functioning properly.


Because of this, the Sentra wouldn´t pass the revised Californian smog test that the state was implementing. In total, 1,994 Sentra were affected, and all that was needed to fix the problem was a reprogramming of the ECU.

3. Engine Room Harness Caused Engine Stalling (2016)

2016 Nissan Sentra had a small recall for a problem with the engine room harness. This involved Sentra made between April 11, 2016, through April 26, 2016. The terminal pin of the engine room harness was too big and would therefore lose contact with the engine control module. In turn, this meant the engine could stall or wouldn´t start at all. Replacing the terminal pin was all that was needed.

4. Problems With The MAF Sensor (2013 – 2016)

We also discussed this problem in our article about issues that a Nissan Sentra has with the MAF sensor. This is because faulty ECU software, combined with a defective oxygen sensor, would report fault code P0101 (a fault code commonly associated with the MAF sensor).

Basically, it would indicate that the MAF sensor (the sensor that reports how much air is going into the fuel mix) couldn´t work properly. This could result in engine stalling or misfiring.

Reprogramming of the ECU was needed for all affected models. If this didn´t fix the problem, the oxygen sensor also needed to be replaced.

5. Problems With Low RPM or No-Start In Cold Weather (2013 – 2014)

2013 – 2014 Sentra had a technical service bulletin for the following symptoms:

– Low engine RPM at idle while the A/C is off and without any electrical load from the
– The engine speed (RPM) becomes low while coming to a stop with the A/C on
– The engine stops running when coming to a stop


Furthermore, the 2013 models also had a slightly different service bulletin that had very similar symptoms. In both cases, the service bulletin involved reprogramming the engine control module. In the case of the 2013 model year, it was possible the transmission control module also needed to be reprogrammed if the vehicle had a CVT transmission.

6. Voltage Drops Damaging The ECU (2010 – 2011)

A total of 33,803 2010 – 2011 Nissan Sentra with MR20 engines were recalled because of problems with a thermal stud bolt. The zinc coating on this bolt was thicker than specified, which caused voltage drops that caused issues with the vehicle not wanting to start. Furthermore, this problem could cause damage to the engine control module. The recall involved replacing the thermal stud bolt.

Did you know that Nissan Sentra have also had problems with it´s shift lock and transmissions? Click on the link to read detailed articles about this problem.

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