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Nissan Sentra Battery Problem (+Radio Turning On By Itself?)

Nissan Sentra Battery Problem (+Radio Turning On By Itself?)

Nissan Sentra typically are reliable cars. However, they did have their fair share of problems throughout the years.

While we’ve written extensively about all the common problems you´ll run into with a Nissan Sentra, today, we´ll look specifically at the battery and radio problem. Here is a quick summary:

2019 and 2021 Nissan Sentra have had battery problems resulting in the car not starting as well as the radio turning on by itself. These issues were caused by a faulty solenoid in the audio unit or a loose negative battery terminal. 2010 – 2011 model years were recalled because of defective battery cables.

However, that certainly doesn’t tell us everything about the battery problems on a Nissan Sentra. Below, we´ll give you a detailed look at the potential issues, what caused them and how you can fix them. Read on!

1. Audio Unit Causing Battery Problems

Reports of battery problems in the last generation of the Nissan Sentra first arrived with the 2019 model year. On the website of the NHTSA, we found several complaints that went along the line of this one:

It´s a new 2019 Nissan Sentra. I took it in last year, and they replaced the battery because I kept having a dead battery where I would have to jump-start my car. Now again, it´s having the same problem where I have to jump-start it 2-3 times per week.


The engine not cranking or cranking slowly was the main symptom that was mentioned. However, many people also complained about the fact that, when the car was working, the radio would turn on by itself even when the car was turned off.

For the 2019 model year, Nissan didn´t issue a technical service bulletin or recall, and the problems disappeared in the 2020 model year. However, the 2021 model year had the same problems, and Nissan identified the problem.

A technical service bulletin for the SV and SR versions of the Sentra stated that it was a problem with the audio control unit. Specifically, a solenoid in the radio was calling for power even when the car was off. This explains why the radio turned on by itself and why the battery was drained so many times resulting in a no-start condition.

The Solution

The solution that was explained in the TSB involved a couple of steps. First, dealers had to test the battery to see if it was still providing power. If the results stated that the battery was still good, an audio unit control reprogram was carried out.

For this, dealers had to check the software version that was used. You can do this yourself by opening your infotainment system > Settings > Info > System Information > Version Information. A software update must be carried out if the software version is ´321´ or ´420´. This is something only a Nissan mechanic can do. If the software version states ´423´, the update has already been carried out.

software version in nissan sentra

If the test results stated that the battery wasn´t good, and since you can’t drive a car without a battery, it needed to be replaced, which also fixed the owner’s issue.

2. Negative Battery Terminal Too Loose

Another battery issue that was reported with the 2021 Nissan Sentra was a loose negative battery terminal. This meant the battery terminal wouldn´t make sufficient contact to provide power to the rest of the car. In turn, this resulted in warning lights coming on, as well as starting issues.

Fixing the problem isn´t too difficult but be careful since you´re working with a battery. You´ll have to disconnect the battery and replace the negative terminal. This part only costs about $10. If you´re under 36.000 miles, you can still have it replaced under warranty.

3. Defective Battery Cables

In 2012, Nissan issued a voluntary safety recall for the 2010 – 2011 model years of the Nissan Sentra equipped with the MR20DE engine. According to this recall, they needed to ¨replace the positive-side battery cable terminal end connector.¨ The problem was a loose fitting on the positive battery cable, which resulted in the typical starting issues. The fitting was replaced free of charge.

Did you know that Nissan Sentra have also had problems with its MAF sensor, transmissions and the shift lock? Click on the links to read detailed articles about these problems.

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