The timing chain of a vehicles’ engine is designed to last the life time of the engine, if that engine is maintained properly.  Timing chains are not typically a maintenance service that needs to be replaced after so many miles or years like a timing belt.

The best way to maintain an engine and therefore the timing chain if it is equipped with one, is to keep the oil in the engine fresh and clean with regular oil changes.  The clean and full oil level keeps the chain properly lubricated.  On today’s vehicles that are equipped with a timing chain, they are also equipped with a timing chain tensioner that is oil fed.  Low oil pressure or a tensioner that has become clogged due to dirty oil can cause it to fail and the chain to slack.  This can cause the valve timing of the engine to change.

Timing chains can stretch, slack, sprockets that they ride on and the guides that help hold them in place can wear and break.  Some of the symptoms to look and listen for when your timing chain fails is:

  • Poor Performance
  • Misfires
  • Rattling Noise in the Engine Compartment
  • Check Engine Light
  • No Start – Cranks and Will Not Fire Up

If you have any of these symptoms it is recommended to have your vehicle inspected, tested and a conclusive diagnosis of the cause of the symptoms.  Some timing chains can be replaced with the engine inside of the vehicle and some engines have them installed on the backside next to the firewall.  When that is the case, the engine has to be removed for replacement.

Avoid a possibly expensive repair by taking care of your timing chain with oil change maintenance!  Happy Motoring!

Karen Johnston

All About Automotive, Inc.


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