The Nissan Sentra has been in production since 1982 and is currently on 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 Checking Lights
Certain warning lights (if vehicle equipped) illuminate on the Nissan Sentra dashboard when the ignition is switched on and go out after a short time. This is a self-check system and the following lights that come on are:
These warning lights will also illuminate but only very briefly:
If any of the warning lights do not come on, it may indicate a burned-out bulb or a 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. Have system checked as soon as possible. The most frequent cause of fault is due to 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 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 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 systems. 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 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, driver 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 switched to the ON position, the master warning light illuminates if any of the following are 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 steering will be harder to operate – particularity at slow speeds. This is not urgent but have 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 to the LOCK position, the alarm chime will turn off.
Symbol Name: Air Bag
Description: The Nissan Sentra air bag light should come on with the ignition for around 7 seconds then go out. This means the system is operational. The front air bag, curtain air bag, and pretensioner seat belt systems require maintenance if any of the following occur:
- The air bag warning light stays on after approximately 7 seconds.
- The air bag warning light flashes intermittently.
- The air bag warning light does not come on at all.
What to Do: Have system checked and repaired as soon as possible. The air bag 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, 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.
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 displays 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 comes on either flashing or steady.
What to Do: Apply the following depending if the light is flashing or steady:
Flashing: This indicates and 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 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 on 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 manuall 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 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 possible a loose gas cap. If the light begins blinking, have vehicle checked immediately. A flashing SERVICE ENGINE NOW light may indicate 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.
28 thoughts on “Nissan Sentra Dashboard Warning Lights / Symbols”
my “foot on pedal” light stays on after starting car
The warning light staying on is likely a sensor fault or a problem with software. It wont be hazardous to drive with the warning light on.
my “foot on pedal” light is on and the car won’t start. It’s sounds as though its trying. I replaced the keyfob battery and break switch.. Nothing.. Thoughts?
Hi Keith, you say it sounds like it’s trying. Have you tested the 12v battery or given it a charge?
I looked through Nissan Manual- and your list- what does a solid Red Car light mean on the Dash? It eventually went out- Thank you.
Can you describe the light in more detail? Is the red car the front/rear view or side? Is it in a circle, triangle etc. Any other features of the symbol?
I have a light that comes on and it just a person and says maintenance other this picture is no where in the Manuel.
white bottle with what looks like the lid is off stays on
The MIL (or check engine light) and the icon of a car with skid marks (traction) popped on suddenly in my 2016 Nissan Sentra while I was on my way to a doctor’s appointment this morning. I immediately turned around and got the car home, where I can decide on taking action later and took a taxi to my appointment. I notice the car drove slower than normal and that concerned me. It was a bright orange light; not flashing but steadily lit. Strange thing is, the weather was cool and dry (no snow or rain) with no need to trigger the traction warning. I had the MIL light pop on before (last year) with a code that had to do with the emission system. I paid over $500 for the repair and don’t want to do that again. Should I be concerned? Do you think this has anything to do with the emergency brake release in the middle of the console being in an “awkward” position? I’m hoping it’s a silly glitch or something I can adjust to get the lights to go off but don’t know if I should take it to the same repair shop that did the previous MIL repair.
The problem is with the MIL, (check engine) light. Because of the fault, the engine went into reduced power mode, also called limp home mode – it’s a software override protection program aimed at helping to reduce damage. When that mode is triggered, often traction control / stability control is automatically disabled to prevent it from engaging due to the slow performance of the vehicle. Once you have rectified the fault causing the MIL to come on, the traction control wont be a problem. As you said, the MIL is often emissions related and can be anything from a sensor to the catalytic converter, spark plugs / wiring. Due to there being potentially many things, you need to have diagnostics done which should read fault codes that are stored when the MIL comes on. These fault codes help to locate the fault.
See how it goes, sometimes as you say it is a temporary glitch and it might be fine. If it comes on again, you’ll then need diagnostics.
There was just a recall on that, hopefully you kept your receipt so you can get reimbursed!
Lately, when I’ve been starting my 2020 Nissan Sentra that I purchased as a Certified Pre-Owned. I’ve lately been seeing a new light flashing on that seems to stop after being on for a while. It’s a flashing symbol on the right side that looks like two car bumpers close to each other with the word “OFF” underneath it. Any idea what this is? I should not be having this sort of problem for a car I purchased not even a month ago.
I’m not entirely sure but it perhaps sounds like the Automatic Emergency Braking system.
In the following conditions, the AEB with Pedestrian Detection system warning light flashes and the system will be turned off automatically:
• The radar sensor picks up interference from another radar source.
• The camera area of the windshield is misted or frozen.
• Strong light is shining from the front.
• The cabin temperature is over approximately 104°F (40°C) in direct sunlight.
• The camera area of the windshield glass is continuously covered with dirt, etc.
It’s nothing serious. Take a photo of the light and ask the dealer where you purchased the car about it.
What does it mean when it says low battery mode and the car icon keeps flashing
there is an icon that popped up on my dashboard its a wheel what does that mean?. I have a 2019 nissan sentra sv
My check engine light soon came on in my 2009 Nissan Sentra. I keep this car in good shape. What does the light signify?
It means there’s a problem with the engine management / emissions control system. The check engine warning light is generic though, meaning that there’s many potential faults that can trigger the light. When the engine light comes on, a fault code is usually generated by the ECU and stored. The fault code offers information into where the fault is located and can be read with diagnostic tools. A diagnostic fault code reader can either be purchased yourself, or you can take your vehicle to a vehicle repair shop who can plug in their tool.
I have a key to my Sentra , not the intelli- key, I but the key into the ignition switch and turned it Clockwise to start the car. It turned only part way. Radio and heater fan came on. Key would not turn to start the engine. Attempts to remove the key did not work. All lights on das were lit. It did turn enough to stop the radio, etc., but I could not remove it. Many tries later (no force used) I called for road service. While waiting for service I detached the key from key ring so I could get back into my house. Then I gave the key one more chance to work correctly. Voila, it worked. The service co needed my tag number and while was checking I had to get out of the car and thought I smelled burning rubber. After it started and I was able to drive home, I never smelled the burning rubber again. Any ideas,
I have 2015 Nissan Sentra. It has inbuilt GPS and car sometimes tells about traffic conditions etc. From yesterday car occasionally starts saying : Danger , Faulty Car.
Initially i thought it’s referring to some traffic related warning. But it sometimes says that even when i am trying to park the car in my apartment.
Not sure if the audible commands from car is talking something about my car in danger of it’s done false traffic updates every day few times. I never heard such thing before and i have this car from last 4 yrs. There are no warning signs in the dashboard. Please let me know if anyone else encounter such weird behaviour.
I have a flashing light that comes on that is a star over what looks to be crossed wires and then OFF underneath that. It has been coming on when I start my car and then stays on for about ten minutes while I’m driving before it turns off. Does anyone know what this means?
I forgot to mention my car is a 21 Nissan Sentra.
What does the orange little car light blinking mean
This morning I started my 2021 sentra and placed it in drive a 2 came up next to the D what does this mean
I have a 2014 sentra and the red car that has a key in it comes in and stays. I know it has something to do with the security system but thats working fine. How do I get rid of this?
I have a 2019 Sentra. On the dash there is an emblem that looks like a plug in. Why is on?
Vary informative, what wasn’t mentioned, was the blue snowflake icon and the master caution symbol could turn red as well. Source: I have a 2020 Nissan Sentra SV
The blue snowflake icon appears next to the outside temperature, when outside temperatures falls to 37F. It warns the driver of the possibility of ice. It’s called the low out side temperature warning.
The master caution symbol turns red, to indicate any system in a warning state, such as any door ajar, trunk open, high coolant temp, etc.
Thanks for the additional and useful input!