Skip to main content
Fluid level checks Nissan Sentra 2007 - 2012 Petrol 2.0

OnDemand step-by-step maintenance & repair BETA

Nissan Sentra 2007 - 2012  | 2.0 Fluid level checks

  • time 5 to 30 minutes
  • difficulty 1
Fluids are an essential part of the lubrication, cooling, brake, clutch and other systems. Because these fluids gradually become depleted and/or contaminated during normal operation of the vehicle, they must be periodically replenished. See Recommended lubricants and fluids and Capacities in this Chapter's Specifications before adding fluid to any of the following components
Note: The vehicle must be on level ground before fluid levels can be checked

Engine oil

1 The engine oil level is checked with a dipstick located at the front of the engine (see below)
2 Engine oil dipstick location - 2.0L engine shown, 2.5L similar
3 The oil level should be checked before the vehicle has been driven, or about 10 minutes after the engine has been shut off. If the oil is checked immediately after driving the vehicle, some of the oil will remain in the upper engine components, producing an inaccurate reading on the dipstick
4 Pull the dipstick out and wipe all the oil from the end with a clean rag or paper towel. Insert the clean dipstick all the way back in and pull it out again. Observe the oil at the end of the dipstick
5 The oil level should be at or near the H mark - if it isn’t, add enough oil to bring the level to near the H mark
6 It takes about one quart of oil to raise the level from the L mark to the H mark on the dipstick. Do not allow the level to drop below the L mark or oil starvation may cause engine damage. Conversely, overfilling the engine (adding oil above the H mark) may cause oil fouled spark plugs, oil leaks or oil seal failures
7 Wipe the area around the filler cap, then remove the cap (arrow) from the valve cover to add oil (see below). Use a funnel to prevent spills. After adding the oil, install the filler cap hand tight. Start the engine and look carefully for any small leaks around the oil filter or drain plug. Stop the engine and check the oil level again after it has had sufficient time to drain from the upper block and cylinder head galleys
8 Checking the oil level is an important preventive maintenance step. A continually dropping oil level indicates oil leakage through damaged seals, from loose connections, or past worn rings or valve guides. If the oil looks milky in color or has water droplets in it, a cylinder head gasket may be leaking. The cylinder head should be checked immediately. The condition of the oil should also be checked. Each time you check the oil level, slide your gloved thumb and index finger up the dipstick before wiping off the oil. If you see small dirt or metal particles clinging to the dipstick, the oil should be changed

Engine coolant

Warning: Do not allow antifreeze to come in contact with your skin or painted surfaces of the vehicle. Flush contaminated areas immediately with plenty of water. Don’t store new coolant or leave old coolant lying around where it’s accessible to children or pets - they’re attracted by its sweet smell and may drink it. Ingestion of even a small amount of coolant can be fatal! Wipe up garage floor and drip pan spills immediately. Keep antifreeze containers covered and repair cooling system leaks as soon as they’re noticed
1 All vehicles covered by this manual are equipped with a pressurized coolant recovery system. A white coolant reservoir located in the front of the engine compartment is connected by a hose to the base of the coolant filler cap (see below). If the coolant gets too hot during engine operation, coolant can escape through the relief valve in the filler cap, then through a connecting hose into the reservoir. As the engine cools, the coolant is automatically drawn back into the cooling system to maintain the correct level
2 Coolant reservoir MIN (A) mark; add coolant to bring the level near the MAX (B) mark on the reservoir
3 The coolant level should be checked regularly. It must be between the Max and Min lines on the tank. The level will vary with the temperature of the engine. When the engine is cold, the coolant level should be at or slightly above the Min mark on the tank. Once the engine has warmed up, the level should be at or near the Max mark. If it isn’t, allow the fluid in the tank to cool, then remove the cap from the reservoir and add coolant to bring the level up to the Max line. Use only the specified type of coolant recommended by your owner’s manual or in this Chapter's Specifications. Do not use supplemental inhibitor additives. If only a small amount of coolant is required to bring the system up to the proper level, water can be used. However, repeated additions of water will dilute the recommended antifreeze and water solution. In order to maintain the proper ratio of antifreeze and water, it is advisable to top up the coolant level with the correct mixture. Refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended ratio
4 If the coolant level drops within a short time after replenishment, there may be a leak in the system. Inspect the radiator, hoses, engine coolant filler cap, drain plugs, air bleeder plugs and water pump. If no leak is evident, have the radiator cap pressure tested by your dealer
Warning: Never remove the radiator cap or the coolant recovery reservoir cap when the engine is running or has just been shut down, because the cooling system is hot. Escaping steam and scalding liquid could cause serious injury
5 If it is necessary to open the radiator cap, wait until the system has cooled completely, then wrap a thick cloth around the cap and turn it to the first stop. If any steam escapes, wait until the system has cooled further, then remove the cap
6 When checking the coolant level, always note its condition. It should be relatively clear. If it is brown or rust-colored, the system should be drained, flushed and refilled. Even if the coolant appears to be normal, the corrosion inhibitors wear out with use, so it must be replaced at the specified intervals
7 Do not allow antifreeze to come in contact with your skin or painted surfaces of the vehicle. Flush contacted areas immediately with plenty of water

Windshield washer fluid

1 Fluid for the windshield washer system is stored in a plastic reservoir which is located on the right side of the engine compartment just behind the headlight (see below). In milder climates, plain water can be used to top up the reservoir, but the reservoir should be kept no more than two-thirds full to allow for expansion should the water freeze. In colder climates, the use of a specially designed windshield washer fluid, available at your dealer and any auto parts store, will help lower the freezing point of the fluid. Mix the solution with water in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions on the container. Do not use regular antifreeze. It will damage the vehicle’s paint
2 Windshield washer fluid reservoir location

Battery electrolyte

1 On models not equipped with a sealed battery, check the electrolyte level (see below) of all six battery cells. It must be between the upper and lower levels. If the level is low, remove the filler/vent cap and add distilled water. Install and securely re-tighten the cap
2 Remove the cell caps to check the water level in the battery
Caution: Overfilling the cells may cause electrolyte to spill over during periods of heavy charging, causing corrosion or damage

Brake and clutch fluids

1 The brake master cylinder is mounted on the front of the power booster unit in the engine compartment. The hydraulic clutch master cylinder used on manual transaxle vehicles is located next to the brake master cylinder
2 The brake fluid level should be kept between the MIN (A) and MAX (B) marks on the translucent plastic reservoir
3 If the level is low, wipe the top of the reservoir cover with a clean rag to prevent contamination of the brake system before lifting the cover
4 Add only the specified brake fluid to the brake and clutch reservoirs (refer to Recommended lubricants and fluids in this chapter's specifications or your owner’s manual). Mixing different types of brake fluid can damage the system. Fill the brake master cylinder reservoir only to the MAX line
Warning: Use caution when filling the reservoir - brake fluid can harm your eyes and damage painted surfaces. Do not use brake fluid that is more than one year old or has been left open. Brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air. Excess moisture can cause a dangerous loss of braking
5 While the reservoir cap is removed, inspect the master cylinder reservoir for contamination. If deposits, dirt particles or water droplets are present, the system should be drained and refilled
6 After filling the reservoir to the proper level, make sure the lid is properly seated to prevent fluid leakage and/or system pressure loss
7 The fluid in the brake master cylinder will drop slightly as the brake pads at each wheel wear down during normal operation. If either master cylinder requires repeated replenishing to keep it at the proper level, this is an indication of leakage in the brake or clutch system, which should be corrected immediately. If the brake system shows an indication of leakage, check all brake lines and connections, along with the calipers, wheel cylinders and booster. If the hydraulic clutch system shows an indication of leakage, check all clutch lines and connections, along with the clutch release cylinder
8 If, upon checking the brake or clutch master cylinder fluid level, you discover one or both reservoirs empty or nearly empty, the systems should be bled

Recommended lubricants and fluids

Note: Listed here are manufacturer recommendations at the time this was written. Manufacturers occasionally upgrade their fluid and lubricant specifications, so check with your local auto parts store for current recommendations
Engine oil
  Type API "certified for gasoline engines"
  Viscosity SAE 5W-30
  Fuel Unleaded gasoline, 87 octane or higher
Manual transaxle lubricant API GL-4 75W-85 gear oil
CVT fluid Nissan CVT fluid NS-2 only
Brake and clutch fluid DOT 3 brake fluid or equivalent
Engine coolant Pre-diluted Nissan Long life antifreeze/coolant


Note: *All capacities approximate. Add as necessary to bring up to appropriate level
Note: **The best way to determine the amount of fluid to add during a routine fluid change is to measure the amount drained
Engine oil (including filter)
  2.0L engines 4-1/8 quarts
  2.5L engines 4-1/2 quarts
Coolant (including reservoir tank)
  2.0L engines 7-3/8 quarts
  2.5L engines
    With CVT transaxle 7-1/2 quarts
    With manual transaxle 7-1/4 quarts
Manual transaxle
  2.0L models Up to 4.25 pints
  2.5L models Up to 3-5/8 pints
CVT transaxle**
  2.0L models 7-3/4 quarts
  2.5L models 7-7/8 quarts
Note: One foot-pound (ft-lb) of torque is equivalent to 12 inch-pounds (in-lbs) of torque. Torque values below approximately 15 foot-pounds are expressed in inch-pounds, because most foot-pound torque wrenches are not accurate at these smaller values
Torque specifications Ft-lbs (unless otherwise indicated)
Engine oil drain plug 25
CVT transaxle drain plug 25
Manual transaxle fill and drain plugs
  RS6F94R models drain and fill plugs 18
  RS6F52A models drain and fill plugs 25
Wheel lug nuts 83
All OnDemand jobs for your car
1 year subscription

Already purchased this job? Log into your account to view