Symptoms Of A Bad Timing Chain And Replacement Cost

timing chain

Sometimes ignoring the symptoms of a bad timing chain or belt can cause your vehicle’s engine to seize completely. Because the timing chain or belt is an important component in any internal combustion engine, it plays an important role in the efficient operation of any internal combustion engine.

In this post, we will learn in detail about the timing chain of the engine. What is a timing chain, how does it work, what are the symptoms of a damaged or loose timing chain, when should it be replaced, and how much does a replacement cost?

What Is A Timing Chain?

The timing chain is a vital internal component of any internal combustion engine that synchronizes the rotation of the engine’s crankshaft and camshaft. Typically, a timing chain is made of metal links, similar to a bicycle chain.

The adjustment of the timing chain is made at a specified point on the crankshaft and camshaft, ensuring that the engine’s intake and exhaust valves open and close at exactly the right time according to the piston movements. So that the fuel mixture can be properly ignited in the internal combustion chamber of the engine. Engine timing chains are more durable than belts, making them low-maintenance and providing a longer life span and higher performance than belts.

How Does Timing Chain Work?

The timing chain is a component composed of individual metal links, installed under the timing cover on the engine’s crankshaft and camshaft gears. When the crankshaft is rotated, the engine’s crankshaft pulls the timing chain, and the rotation of the timing chain causes the camshaft to rotate, causing the camshaft lobes to open and close the engine’s air intake and exhaust valves at the correct time interval.

This allows the fuel combustion process to operate efficiently in the internal combustion chamber of the engine. Engine oil is supplied for lubrication of the timing chain so that it can operate successfully without excess friction. But over time, the timing chain can become loose or damaged. A timing chain cover is used to protect the timing chain from any foreign debris.

Timing Chain Kit Components

A timing chain kit for any internal combustion engine uses a number of timing chain parts that allow the timing chain to function efficiently. The main components of the timing chain kit are as follows.

  • Timing Chain
  • Chain Tensioner
  • Slider Rail
  • Tensioning rail
  • Sprocket
  • Cam phaser

Symptoms Of A Bad Timing Chain

Symptoms of a failed timing chain can include engine misfiring, acceleration hesitation, rattling noises, poor performance, and difficulty starting the engine. If the timing chain becomes badly worn or breaks, it can cause catastrophic damage to the engine.

1. Rattling or Ticking Noise

Often, you can hear a rattling or ticking noise from the engine when the timing chain is damaged or loose, and this noise gets louder during acceleration. Because a loose or worn timing chain starts hitting the timing chain cover when the engine is running. Due to this, a strange noise starts coming from around the timing cover of the engine.

2. Difficulty Starting The Engine

Sometimes the setting of the timing chain can be slightly damaged or incorrect due to excessive slack in the engine timing chain. Also known as engine timing out. Due to this, starting the engine becomes difficult, and the engine of the vehicle starts with great difficulty during prolonged cracking. Because the engine’s timing is incorrect, the air inlet valve and exhaust valve of the engine are not able to open and close at the right time according to the position of the piston.

3. Reduced Engine Power

A damaged timing chain of the engine causes the rotation timing of the crankshaft and camshaft of the engine to be out of whack, causing the air inlet valves and exhaust valves to not open and close at the correct time intervals for the fuel combustion operation. This severely impairs engine life and fuel combustion is severely disrupted. Due to this, a reduction in engine power and performance can be seen.

4. Damaged & Bent Valves

Sometimes when the engine is started, due to sudden timing out or sudden timing chain break, the valves attached to the engine head get damaged or bent. Because due to timing out of the engine or breakage of the timing chain, the valves remain in the open position, due to which the valves collide with the pistons of the engine and due to the high pressure of the piston, the valves in the engine head are completely damaged or bent.

5. Engine Not Starting

Many times the engine does not start at all even after trying due to broken timing of the engine or due to over timing of the timing chain. Because due to a broken timing chain or excessive timing out, the engine valves are unable to open or close at the correct time intervals. Due to this, the fuel combustion action in the internal combustion chamber of the engine is completely stopped, and due to this, the engine does not start even after trying hard.

When Timing Chain Replacement

Normally the timing chain of normal cars or other vehicles engine lasts from about 60000 miles to 95000 miles with good maintenance. It is recommended to have the timing chain replaced between 60,000 and 95,000 miles by a professional vehicle mechanic. However, you may experience the symptoms and signs of a bad timing chain long before the timing chain has reached a more damaged state.

For example, the noise of the timing chain starts coming from around the timing chain cover. The timing chain should be replaced if it makes strange noises. Because a break or failure of the timing chain while the engine is running can cause serious damage to internal engine parts.

How To Replace Timing Chain?

To replace the timing chain of the engine, you have to follow the following procedure. By following these steps, you will be able to easily replace the engine timing chain.

  • First, you’ll need to remove the engine’s timing cover, to give you access to the timing chain and gears.
    To remove the timing cover, you have to unscrew its nuts with the help of adequate tools.
  • Then, rotate the engine crank and engine to the top dead center (TDC) position.
  • Next, lock the timing mark on the part driven by the engine’s timing chain.
  • Then loosen the timing chain tensioner and remove the timing chain from the gear.
  • Place the new timing chain on the gear and tension the timing chain with a tensioner, making sure the timing marks are properly aligned.
  • After this, you should check the timing mark once again.
  • Then, reinstall the timing cover.

Note: the timing chain replacement procedure may vary depending on the model and engine type of the vehicle. You must first check the service manual for the specific vehicle in order to replace the timing chain.

Timing Chain Replacement Cost

On average, a typical engine timing chain replacement cost can range between $1000 and $1700, which also includes a mechanic’s labor costs.

NOTE : Timing chain replacement cost for any internal combustion engine depends on the vehicle model, engine type and mechanic’s labor cost rates. because all these factors can increase or decrease the timing belt replacement cost.


Q. What is an engine timing chain, and what does it do?

The timing chain is a vital component in any internal combustion engine that synchronizes the rotation of the crankshaft and camshaft. It ensures precise timing of the opening and closing of the exhaust and air intake valves of the engine.

Q. When should the timing chain be replaced?

Timing chain replacement intervals for any internal combustion engine vary, but generally, it is recommended between 80,000 and 120,000 miles. In many cases, the early symptoms of a bad timing chain will also confirm that the timing chain is in need of replacement.

Q. What are the common symptoms of a failed timing chain?

Signs of a bad timing chain on any internal combustion engine include engine roughness, rattling noises, reduced performance, and difficulty starting.

Q. Can the timing chain be repaired, or does it need to be replaced?

No, repairing it is not the right option. Typically, a damaged timing chain requires replacement rather than repair.

Q. What happens if the timing chain breaks?

If the timing chain breaks while the engine is running, it can cause serious engine damage, as it disrupts the synchronization between the crankshaft and camshaft and can cause bent valves or damaged pistons.

Q. How can I extend the life of my timing chain?

Regular oil changes, using high-quality oil, can help extend the life of the engine timing chain. Also, avoid high acceleration until a regular cold engine reaches running temperature.

Share If You Like

Leave a Comment

error: Content is protected !!