How to Replace a Starter on a Nissan Sentra

by Jody L. Campbell

If you have some electrical and mechanical skills and some tools around the house, you can save money by installing your Nissan Sentra's starter on your own. The location of the starter will vary depending on the year and motor. You may have to raise the front end of the Sentra up and crawl underneath, or you may only have to remove the air duct from above to access it. Nissan has placed many different motors into the Sentra over the years, so you may have to refer to the manual to locate it. A good rule to remember is the starter has to be near the transmission flywheel, whether on top or below. Start there and look for electrical wires.

How to Replace a Starter on a Nissan Sentra

Step 1

Locate the starter. The two most common places for the starter in a Nissan Sentra is below the air duct on top of the transmission (which requires removing the air duct piping from the air box to the throttle body) or underneath the Sentra on the low driver's side undercarriage, beneath the intake manifold between the firewall and engine where it meets the transmission. This would require lifting the vehicle and crawling underneath to remove and replace the starter.

Step 2

Position the Sentra where you need to in order to remove and replace the starter. If you need to lift the front end, drive it up on the car ramps, apply the parking brake and place a wheel chock behind a rear tire. Otherwise, remove the air duct piping to access the starter from above and skip Step 4.

Step 3

Remove the negative battery cable from the negative battery terminal using a hand wrench or the ratchet and a socket once you've located the starter.

Step 4

Crawl under the Sentra (on a creeper, if you have one) with the tools and the new starter or go to the engine compartment to remove the starter.

Step 5

Disconnect the wire to the starter by removing the nut that holds it onto the stud using the ratchet and a socket. Remove the upper and lower starter bolts holding the starter to the engine. Remove the starter.

Install the new starter and replace the upper and lower starter bolts to secure it to the engine. Replace the starter electrical connection wire and tighten the nut with the ratchet and a socket. Reattach the negative battery cable to the negative battery terminal and tighten using a hand wrench or the ratchet and a socket. Remove the wheel chock and lower the Sentra, or replace the air duct piping in the engine compartment.

Items you will need

  • Safety glasses
  • Hand wrench set
  • Car ramps (optional)
  • Wheel chock (optional)
  • 3/8-inch drive ratchet
  • 3/8-inch drive metric socket set
  • Replacement starter
  • Creeper (optional)

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