How Long Does A Timing Chain Last? – When To Replace

The timing belt is part and parcel for the engine’s effective operation.

This component serves as a connection between the 2 most essential parts of your car’s engine, enabling proper air movement within the engine at the appropriate times.

Still, how long does a timing chain last? Let’s find out the answer in this post!

What Is A Timing Chain?

how long does a timing chain last

Your engine’s pistons and valves are managed by a timing chain, which ensures that they open and close at the appropriate times.

Four strokes (intake stroke, power stroke, compression stroke, exhaust stroke) are contained inside each cycle that four-stroke engines use to operate.

The crankshaft spins twice during a cycle, but your camshaft rotates just once. Those four distinct strokes take place in that period. This process is referred to as mechanical timing, synchronization, or “timing” for short.

Your timing belt or chain’s function is to ensure that the cycle and strokes are operated precisely.

Your engine will not function or, worse yet, sustain significant damage if the valves and pistons don’t move or fire when they should.

Remember that some product lines like Toyota Sienna will have both timing belt and chain, depending on each year  model.

How Long Does A Timing Chain Last?

When to replace timing chain? Given that the engine is well maintained with no specific issues, the timing chain’s lifespan falls somewhere between 80,000 to 120,000 miles.

The higher the mileage, the more likely a vehicle will experience chain problems.

When operating an older vehicle or one with nearly 100,000 miles on the odometer, it is advised to watch out for timing chain failure or bad-chain symptoms.

Signs Of Malfunctioning Timing Chain

How do I know if my timing chain needs replacing?

You may be wondering: How do I know if my timing chain needs replacing

To assist you in identifying the warning signals and bringinging them to the notice of a qualified professional, we have listed the most typical symptoms of a deteriorating or broken timing belt/chain.

Poor Performance Engine

When operating a combustion engine, there are two approaches to control valve timing. The first approach uses two gears and a direct connection between the crankshaft and camshaft gears.

The majority of large trucks and pieces of heavy machinery operate in this way. High-performance engines and consumer automobiles tend to use the timing chain approach on a more regular basis.

The timing chain may stretch with time, which could lead to the chain skipping a gear on the crankshaft or cam.

This throws off the engine’s timing, frequently leading to a misfire. Additionally, the motor could be unreliable with loss of power, insufficient for acceleration.

If you find yourself in this situation, it’s likely that the timing chain is broken and that it has to be changed.

When your timing chain breaks, the rattling of loose metal inside the engine can seriously harm the engine.

Oil Containing Metal Shavings

Oil gradually starts to separate due to heating and exposure to the natural solvents in gasoline. The small metal fragment is what causes timing chain to break as it ages and enter the oil pan.

The timing chain starts to break when the mechanic who changed your oil informs you there were tiny metal fragments in the oil as it was drained or in the filter.

When cylinder head hardware, including retainers, keepers, valves, and other parts, experience significant wear, metal shavings are also frequently observed.

This problem needs to be examined by a mechanic or specialist, and the necessary repairs must be done right away.

Failure Of The Engine

An engine will be unable to start when the timing chain is broken since there won’t be enough compression for the engine to turn over.

The pistons will sustain damage by coming into touch with the valves if it breaks or leaps while being driven. The valves will budge on their own, possibly ruining the engine.

In addition to jumping because of a loose timing chain, a flailing belt can harm other components of the engine.

Contact a licensed mechanic for an inspection and repairs in case your engine won’t start or begins to drive erratically, signaling it may be about to fail.

Illuminate Check Engine Light

Timing chain failure is one of the many potential triggers of your Check Engine light flashing.

In order to identify the problem’s root cause, the warning lights on a car’s computer must be checked for trouble codes.

The onboard computer may activate your car’s check engine light when it notices an issue with the engine’s operation or the emissions system.

The check engine light comes on, and a diagnostic issue code is stored due to a stretched timing chain, which also adds to increased emissions and decreased engine performance.

The code will need to be examined by a mechanic, who will then recommend the required fixes.

Idling Engine Squeaks

Unusual noises are another frequent indicator of a motor issue. Your engine should sound smooth and constant when operating normally, signaling that everything is in working order.

However, the motor may vibrate if your timing chain is too loose, resulting in an audible rattling sound as the engine idles.

When something rattles, it’s usually a warning sign that it’s loose and has to be addressed before it breaks.

Any engine is incomplete without the timing chain, which is essential to its operation. It’s likely that your car may suffer from severe engine damage in case the timing chain snaps while you’re driving.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Price Of Replacing A Timing Chain?

Depending on the repair type and the method used, a timing chain replacement can cost different amounts. For instance, a DIY project might cost roughly 600 dollars, but hiring an auto mechanic might push the price up to 1,600 dollars.

Can I Drive With A Faulty Timing Chain?

Technically, you can drive with a timing chain that is not fully ruined, but it’s risky and not recommended.

As a result, it is advised that you swap out the timing chain right away if you experience any of the signs mentioned above or observe any stretches.

Will A Timing Chain Failure Ruin My Engine?

Yes. Your engine will not start if the timing chain is broken. The pistons will sustain damage by coming into touch with the valves once it breaks or leaps while being driven.

The actual valves will bend, possibly ending up with catastrophic engine failure.

The Bottom Line

How long does a timing chain last? You have the answer you are looking for after reading our post.

Keep in mind that it is crucial to change your timing belt as directed by your vehicle’s user manual because of its significance and the enormous force under which it operates.

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