How to Read Nissan Sentra Dashboard Warning Lights
- Nissan Sunny (1982-2006),
- Nissan Tsuru (1992-2017),
- Nissan Sylphy (2013-present),
- and Nissan Pulsar (2013-2017).
The Nissan Sentra is a series of automobiles manufactured by the Japanese automaker Nissan since 1982. Previously subcompact in classification, for the model year 2000 it was reclassified as a compact car. Until 2006, Sentra was a rebadged export version of the Japanese Nissan Sunny, but since the 2013 model year, Sentra is a rebadged export version of the Sylphy. The Sentra nameplate is not used in Japan. Many other countries in South America sell their versions of the Sunny as the Sentra. In Mexico, the first three generations of the Sentra were known as the Nissan Tsuru (Japanese for crane), and the B13 model was sold under that name until 2017, alongside the updated models badged as Sentra. and is currently in the 7th generation (B17).
Here, we explore the dashboard warning lights for the Nissan Sentra. The symbols below will relate to many models of the Sentra but focus primarily on the modern versions.
Nissan Sentra Dashboard Warning Lights: Checking Lights
Certain warning lights (if vehicle equipped) illuminate on the Nissan Sentra dashboard when the ignition is switched on and goes out after a short time. This is a self-check system and the following lights come on are:
If any of the warning lights do not come on, it may indicate a burned-out bulb or a software malfunction with that particular system.
Nissan Sentra Dashboard Warning Lights
Now we’ll take a look at the Nissan Sentra dashboard warning lights that may come on when driving. It’s advisable to deal with amber / yellow warning lights as soon as possible and red warning lights immediately. Red warning lights are the most urgent and can potentially result in vehicle damage and/or risk to vehicle occupant safety.
Symbol Name: ABS
Description: This is the Nissan Sentra anti-lock braking system (ABS) warning light. The symbol may also be displayed as . If the light illuminates while driving, it indicates an ABS malfunction. ABS prevents the wheels from locking during harsh braking, which in turn allows for greater control of the vehicle.
What to Do: If an ABS malfunction occurs, the anti-lock function is no longer operational. The brake system continues to operate normally but without anti-lock assistance. Has the system checked as soon as possible? The most frequent cause of the fault is a malfunctioning wheel speed sensor.
Symbol Name: AEB
Description: The Nissan Sentra Automatic Emergency Braking system (AEB) aids the driver when a risk of a forward collision with a vehicle ahead in the same lane. To calculate distances, AEB uses a radar sensor located behind the lower grille of the front bumper.
If a collision risk is detected, the system will provide a warning to the driver by a warning light and audible alarm. If the brakes are applied quickly and forcefully after the warning, but AEB still detects a potential collision, the system automatically increases the braking force. AEB can be manually turned off in the Setting / Driving Aids menu.
What to Do: A warning light illuminates if the system has been manually switched off. If a warning light comes on but the system has not been switched off, a fault has been detected. Ensure the location of the sensors is clean.
Symbol Name: BRAKE
Description: The Nissan Sentra BRAKE warning light functions as a parking and foot brake system. On other versions of the Sentra, the symbol may be displayed as . The BRAKE light comes on when:
- The parking brake is applied.
- Insufficient brake fluid levels.
What to Do: If the light comes on when driving and the parking brake is not applied, stop as soon as it’s safe to do so and check brake fluid levels. Add brake fluid as necessary. If fluid levels are correct, this may indicate a fault with the braking system. Drive very carefully to an authorized Nissan dealer and have the system checked immediately.
Symbol Name: Charge
Description: The Nissan Sentra battery warning light indicates a fault with the charging system. The generator/alternator is not charging the battery sufficiently and the vehicle engine may stop shortly.
What to Do: Immediately switch off any vehicle systems that are non-essential and that use electrical charge. Check the generator/alternator belt if it’s loose or broken. Check battery terminals for excessive corrosion or loose-fitting. Do not continue driving if the generator belt is loose, broken or missing.
Symbol Name: Oil Pressure
Description: This is the Nissan Sentra low oil pressure dashboard warning light and must not be confused with the low oil levels light. If this light comes on or flickers while driving as safely but as quickly as possible stop and switch off the engine. Low oil pressure can very quickly cause serious engine damage which is not covered by your vehicle warranty.
What to Do: Make arrangements to have your vehicle recovered.
Symbol Name: Tire Pressure
Description: The tire with an exclamation point inside it is the Nissan Sentra low tire pressure warning light. The tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) has detected that one or more tires are running at pressure values less than what is stored in the recommended system settings. If the TPMS has malfunctioned, the warning light will flash for approximately 1 minute with ignition set to ON and then remain on.
What to Do: Stop as soon as possible and check tyres pressures and inflate in accordance with the tire and loading label located inside the driver door (B-pillar). After inflation, the warning light will not automatically go out. To do this, drive at 16 mph (25 km/h) or more to activate the TPMS.
Symbol Name: Master Warning Light
Description: The amber triangle containing an exclamation point is the Nissan Sentra master warning light. The light illuminates for various reasons.
What to Do: With the ignition switch to the ON position, the master warning light illuminates if any of the following is displayed on the vehicle information display:
- No key warning
- Low washer fluid warning
- Parking brake release warning
- Door open warning
- Loose fuel cap warning
- Check tire pressure warning
- Emergency brake warning
- Lock warning
- I-Key system warning
- Headlight system warning
- ITS warning
- Shipping mode warning
- Low oil pressure warning
Symbol Name: Power Steering
Description: The ‘PS’ light is the Nissan Sentra power steering dashboard warning light. An alternative symbol is the steering wheel with an exclamation point . If this warning light comes on the dash while driving, the power steering system has malfunctioned.
What to Do: With a power steering fault, you’ll still be able to control the car, but the steering will be harder to operate – particularly at slow speeds. This is not urgent but has the system checked as soon as possible.
Symbol Name: Shift P (Park)
Description: The shift P (Park) warning light flashes red and the key reminder alarm chime sounds if the ignition is set to OFF and the shift lever is in any position other than P (Park).
What to Do: Return the shift lever to P (Park) with the ignition switch in the OFF position and the light will turn off. By placing the ignition switch in the LOCK position, the alarm chime will turn off.
Symbol Name: Air Bag
Description: The Nissan Sentra airbag light should come on with the ignition for around 7 seconds then go out. This means the system is operational. The front airbag, curtain airbag, and pre-tensioner seat belt systems require maintenance if any of the following occur:
- The airbag warning light stays on after approximately 7 seconds.
- The airbag warning light flashes intermittently.
- The airbag warning light does not come on at all.
What to Do: Have the system checked and repaired as soon as possible. The airbag systems may not be deployed during an impact. Possible causes can relate to loose cables under the front seat, passenger occupancy sensors, airbag module fault, and objects inside the belt buckle.
Symbol Name: Cruise Control
Description: The Nissan Sentra green cruise control illuminates when the system is active.
What to Do: The cruise control light will blink/flash if a problem is detected. This may be due to the engine coolant temperature being too high, or the system has malfunctioned.
Symbol Name: ECO
Description: The Nissan Sentra Eco Mode helps the driver to drive in such a way that improves fuel economy. The ECO dashboard symbol illuminates when the ECO button is pressed.
Symbol Name: Start
Description: The Nissan Sentra foot-on pedal light is the engine start operation indicator dash light. The warning light staying on is likely a sensor fault or a problem with the software. It won’t be hazardous to drive with the warning light on.
What to Do: Apply the following based on your vehicle’s transmission:
- Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) models: If the light comes on, push the engine start button along with the brake pedal.
- Manual transmission models: If the light comes on, push the engine start button along with the clutch and brake pedal.
Symbol Name: CVT Position
Description: This symbol is displayed on the Nissan Sentra dashboard for Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) models. This indicator light shows the position of the gear shift lever.
Symbol Name: Front Fog
Description: If equipped on your model of Nissan Sentra, this icon illuminates on the dashboard indicating that the front fog lights are on.
Symbol Name: MIL
Description: The Nissan Sentra malfunction indicator light (MIL), also known as the ‘check engine light’ will come on either flashing or steady.
What to Do: Apply the following depending if the light is flashing or steady:
Flashing: This indicates an engine misfire has been detected. This can result in damage to the emissions control system / catalytic converter. To reduce or avoid emission control system damage:
- avoid driving at speeds above 45 mph (72 km/h).
- avoid hard acceleration or deceleration.
- avoid steep uphill driving.
- if possible, reduce the amount of cargo being towed.
Steady: Check the fuel filler cap is securely fitted. After a few trips, the light should go out. If the fuel filler cap is not the problem, there’s a fault with the emissions control program. This is not urgent but may result in increased fuel consumption.
Symbol Name: OD
Description: The Nissan Sentra Overdrive or OD is a feature for automatic cars that improves fuel efficiency by automatically selecting the highest gear and by keeping the engine RPM as low as possible. It’s recommended to keep overdrive ON when possible.
What to Do: The O/D OFF light indicates that the overdrive has been switched off. If you are driving up hills and the transmission is shifting a lot, take it out of OD.
Symbol Name: Security
Description: The Nissan Sentra car with a key symbol is the security indicator light. This light blinks.
What to Do: This applies to whether the light flashes or not:
- Vehicles without Intelligent Key: This light blinks whenever the ignition switch is placed in the LOCK, OFF or ACC position.
- Vehicles with Intelligent Key: This light blinks when the ignition switch is placed in the LOCK position with the key removed from the ignition switch. The security indicator light blinks to indicate that the security system is active and operational.
Symbol Name: VDC
Description: The Nissan Sentra vehicle dynamic control VDC has various features that help with the stability of the car. The system is active and operational on each engine start by default. You can manually switch VDC off by pressing the switch.
What to Do: There are two instances where this light may flash, or be stable:
- Flash: If the VDC light flashes, it indicates that the system is actively attempting to stabilize the vehicle.
- Steady: If the light is constantly on and has not been manually switched off, it indicates a fault with the system. Drive carefully until the system is fixed.
Symbol Name: SERVICE
Description: The Nissan Sentra SERVICE ENGINE SOON warning light is an alternative to the malfunction indicator light as seen above.
What to Do: Sensors in the vehicle have detected fault. Faults are usually related to emissions or possibly a loose gas cap. If the light begins blinking, have the vehicle checked immediately. A flashing SERVICE ENGINE NOW light may indicate a misfire and potentially cause damage to the emissions control system. See MIL light above for further details.
Symbol Name: SPORT
Description: The Nissan Sentra SPORT mode when activated adjusts the throttle sensitivity and transmission points to increase performance.
What to Do: Though vehicle performance is increased, it’s likely that fuel economy will be reduced.