2012 Nissan Sentra Engine Oil Capacity

The 2012 Nissan Sentra has an oil capacity of 4.1 or 4.5 quarts, depending on its engine type.
Written by Melanie Krieps Mergen
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
At its debut, the 2012 Nissan Sentra was a popular pick for its value, offering a nice balance of desirable features and overall affordability. But to really get the most value out of your own Sentra, it helps to know its engine oil capacity, which can range from 4.1 to 4.5 quarts.
Staying on track with
basic routine maintenance
is one of the most significant ways to help your vehicle last as long as possible—and since oil changes have a direct impact on your engine’s health and longevity, this
car repair
task is perhaps one of the most important. Conveniently, many drivers are able to save time and money on this task by taking care of this themselves—but you’ll need to know your oil capacity and required oil type first.
Here’s what to know about the 2012 Nissan Sentra’s engine oil capacity—plus some more oil change tips.
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2012 Nissan Sentra engine oil capacity

The 2012 Nissan Sentra’s engine oil capacity depends on its engine type.
There are two different engine options on the 2012 Sentra, and both have their own oil capacities, although they’re relatively close in number:
  • MR20DE engine: 4.1 quarts or 3.9 liters, with filter
  • QR25DE engine: 4.5 quarts or 4.3 liters, with filter
If you’re not sure what kind of engine your 2012 Sentra has, there are numerous ways to find out. You can check your vehicle registration documents, your purchase documents, your
Nissan VIN
, or the information on the engine itself.

What kind of oil does a 2012 Nissan Sentra need?

Both 2012 Nissan Sentra engines require 5W-30 engine oil. This is the engine oil’s viscosity grade, which gives you information about its thickness in different temperatures.
The “5” here tells you your engine oil’s thickness at colder temperatures before you’ve started your engine, while the “30” refers to its viscosity at normal engine operating temperatures. The “W” stands for “winter,” which makes it easier to remember that the first number is the one that refers to colder temperatures.
Choosing an engine oil with the correct viscosity grade is essential in ensuring that it circulates through your engine properly. An incompatible engine oil type could cause extensive damage to your engine or other vehicle components. 
Using synthetic oil is ideal because it tends to perform better and last longer than conventional oil. High mileage engine oil options can help provide added protection against sludge buildup if your Sentra has really added some miles on its odometer. You should also look for an API certification seal on the container, which indicates it meets necessary quality standards.

How often to change oil on a 2012 Nissan Sentra

When you’re determining DIY
oil change costs
, it helps to know how often you’ll need to take care of them. 
Generally, a vehicle using conventional oil will often need to have its oil changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. Synthetic oil, on the other hand, can last as long as 7,500 to 10,000 miles before needing to be replaced.
However, there are different influencing factors that can affect when you’ll actually need to do so. If you’re regularly driving under more severe conditions, like up and down steep mountain roads or in dusty environments, you might need to change your oil sooner than normal.
That’s why it’s recommended that you regularly check your engine oil, keeping an eye on its fill level and condition. If it’s time for an oil change, here are some signs you might notice:
  • Engine oil is now black or dark brown in color (as opposed to light brown)
  • Engine oil has a gritty texture, meaning debris is building up in the oil
  • Engine oil level is too low
  • Burning or oil smells coming from the engine
  • Engine is making strange sounds
  • Your check engine light,
    oil pressure light
    , or other related indicator lights have turned on
  • Declining performance
  • Worsening fuel economy

How to change your oil and oil filter

Once you get the hang of it, an
oil change doesn’t take very long at all
. The first time you’re giving it a try, it might be worth setting aside at least an hour to get the job done right. 
And getting the job done right starts with having the right materials on hand. You’ll need:
  • A socket wrench
  • An oil filter wrench
  • New oil filter
  • Fresh engine oil with the correct viscosity
  • A funnel
  • A drain pan
  • A proper container to dispose of your used oil
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Rag(s) for cleanup
Once you have what you need, here’s how you can get your 2012 Nissan Sentra’s oil change underway:
  • Start by parking your Sentra on a level surface and let the engine idle for a few minutes—this will heat up your engine oil, making it drain more quickly.
  • Next, unscrew the oil filler cap by turning it counterclockwise.
  • Remove the oil drain bolt and washer and allow the old oil to empty into the drain pan.
  • As the oil continues draining, remove the old oil filter and replace it with the new one, following its package instructions.
  • Once the oil finishes draining, reinstall the drain plug with a new washer and tighten it to 22 to 29 ft-lb.
  • Back at your Sentra’s hood, add new engine oil to the proper fill level and replace the oil filler cap.
Once you’ve made it this far, your work is almost done! Now it’s time for a quality assurance check. Let your engine run a few minutes again to let the new oil circulate and check around for any leaks. After the engine has cooled off again, use your dipstick to check your oil level again and add or drain oil as necessary.
Finally, you’ll need to properly dispose of your old engine oil in a sealed container at the proper recycling facility.
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