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 MAF sensor problem. Here is a quick summary:
Nissan Sentra mass air flow sensor problems typically result in a P0101 fault code and a check engine light. 2013 – 2016 model years needed a new O2 sensor and cleaning of the throttle body, together with ECM reprogramming, 2013 – 2014 models also required a new PVC valve, whereas 2010 – 2011 models only needed ECM reprogramming.
However, that certainly doesn´t tell us everything about the MAF sensor 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!
Multiple MAF Sensor Issues
In recent years, the Nissan Sentra has had three technical service bulletins related to the mass airflow sensor. Below, we´ve listed the details of each TSB and the corresponding model years. In most cases, we found that the failing MAF sensor didn´t lead to any severe problems except for the illumination of the check engine light.
However, in some cases, we found reports of owners having problems going over a certain speed or having a rough or high idling engine. These are all typical problems for a failing MAF sensor because the MAF sensor is responsible for ensuring the fuel mix receives the right amount of air.
If this isn´t correct, these symptoms will occur together with poor fuel economy. However, in the case of the Sentra, it was typically just a check engine light.
2013 – 2016 Sentra
The latest technical service bulletin for the MAF sensor in the Nissan Sentra was issued in 2022 and applied to the 2013 – 2016 model years. In this TSB, dealers were advised to reprogram the engine control module if the car had stored fault code ´P0101´. This is a common fault code for issues with the MAF sensor.
Then, they would have to check the voltage of the O2 sensor (slightly different than the MAF sensor but still part of the same system). If the voltage of this sensor was above 0.13 V, everything was fixed; if not, the rear O2 sensor had a short-to-ground condition (basically an internal short) and needed to be replaced. For owners, this was done free of charge.
2013 – 2015 Sentra
2013 – 2015 had a separate technical service bulletin in which fault code ´P0101´ was also stored in the ECM. Solutions and procedures differed for different model years.
For the 2013 – 2014 model years, it was advised first to open the hood and look at the color of the PVC valve. If this was orange (as displayed in the image below), a new PVC valve must be installed. If it was black, everything was fine on that front.
2015 model years could skip the step mentioned above and go straight to the next one (the following instructions are also the next step for the 2013 – 2014 model years).
This next step was cleaning the electronic throttle control actuator (called the throttle body). There are instructions in the TSB we linked earlier, but the video below is also a good resource for this.
After cleaning the electronic throttle control actuator, the ECM needed to be reprogrammed, and this typically solved all the MAF sensor issues for these model years. Given the problematic nature of the task, and the required equipment, we advise you to let a Nissan mechanic handle this.
2011 – 2012 Sentra With MR20DE engine
2011 – 2012 Sentra with the MR20DE engine had the same symptoms as the previously discussed models. This includes the P0101 code without driveability issues and an illuminated check engine light. However, in this case, a Nissan technician was all that was needed to fix the problem was reprogramming the engine control module (ECM).
What About Different Model Years Of The Nissan Sentra?
If you have a different model year of the Nissan Sentra, or the technical service bulletins didn´t solve your problem, there are other steps you can take to fix problems with the MAF sensor.
First, cleaning the MAF sensor before doing anything else is always a good idea. Often, this is the quickest, easiest solution to fixing MAF sensor problems.
If this doesn´t work, replace the air intake filter since dust on this filter can often prevent the MAF sensor from working correctly, resulting in the P0101 fault code. While doing this, also blow air through the intake tube to clean it of dust. If those two options fail, replace the MAF sensor completely. Check out the video below to go through the whole process.
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
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