My nissan sentra studders to start, wont accelerate, struggles to stay on when im stopped or break to hard, and is smoking from the exhaust (recently) what could it be?


Asked by May 18, 2013 at 03:15 PM about the 2001 Nissan Sentra GXE

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 2001 nissan sentra and I have had it for bout 2 years. Since
the first day I bought it, it has been having a huge problem. First
when I start it sometimes it take me a couple tries to turn it on after
it turns on I have to sit and wait for it to fully catch power, it just
studders for a few mins trying to stay on. Then while driving, I cant
get it to accelerate normally, it takes me bout a mile just to get to
45mph, by barley pushing the gas an lettin it switch gears when It
can. If I try to push it to go it actually starts slowing down. When I
stop, I generally put it in nutural and hit the gas a little to keep it on
or it dies, or studders hard to stay on. If I break to hard it dies. Ive
change the mass air flow sensor, crank shaft sensor, and a few
spark plugs. The only thing that helped for a little was changing the
mass air flow sensor. For some reason that only seemed to help
while it was cold outside now that az has hit summer again, it no
longer wants to work and im back where I started. Weird as this
sounds it does worse when its hot outside. Also if I dont drive it for s
while like a day or so it will start perfect and drive perfect, but
sometimes in the middle of driving I feel it loose power and as soon
as I break it dies. Other times it will drive fine until I turn it off then it
starts with the problem.. even if I just drive it 1 mile to the gas
station and it drives fine as soon as I turn it off to put gas and turn it
back on it starts with the problems, smoking not enough power, not
accelerating.. after I changed the mass air flow sensor and it did fine
then started up again theres now a code for that senor showing.. but
it brand new... I dont get it. Any of it and I would love some help!!
Please!! Also it has low miles 70000. I bought it when it had 45000.

8 Answers

Well, stephaniewallace, I want to give credit where credit is due, at least you explain what is going on thoroughly, articulately and that is much more than most. The problem is even with that, It's very difficult to diagnose. What we need are OBD codes. I don't like the part about it has begun to smoke, Go to a large parts house and ask them to scan your OBD faults and don't buy anything..yet. Write them down and come back here. To the same question, don't open a new question...myself or one of the fine gentlemen that frequent this site will be happy to discuss what to do next. Meantime good luck.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Ok thanks, ill be back soon with those codes!

Thank You. That will tell us a lot. You go girl.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Got it

1 of 1 people found this helpful.'s still showing MAF and MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure) and you have already changed the MAF, and the connectors in both of those are very sensitive. They hopefully did not get damaged during the swap. The read out explains it pretty well, look for vacuum hoses that have no 'home' dangling, or cracked/split. Cold air is better for an engine, it is more dense and contains more 02..that's why some people install CAI in their cars, but the fuel/air trim from ambient air difference should by automatically adjusted by the ECU. My next shot is the vacuum hoses

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I was really hoping the OBD would show something we didn't already this a lot more thought. I fell like I am missing somethin

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

So does my machanic. Hes a great machanic but I stumped him on this one. I guess all we can do is try to change different things. Thanks so much.


did you ever fix your problem because i'm the same problem

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

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