Home Diagnosis and TroubleshootingEngine Problems How Much Are Timing Chains: Diagnosis And Troubleshooting

How Much Are Timing Chains: Diagnosis And Troubleshooting

by Jordan Harris
How Much Are Timing Chains

For optimal vehicle performance, all car components must be in good working order, regardless of what it might be. One of these components is the timing chains. The timing chain connects the crankshaft and camshaft in synchrony. Due to the importance of the timing chain, car owners often ask, “how much are timing chains”?

A timing chain costs about $150 to $500. The cost depends on the car model and make. However, the average cost of replacing a timing chain is about $1,000 to $2,500. The high price rate is due to the labor-intensive replacement nature.

It is essential to replace a broken timing chain because of the extent of further damage it can wreck a car engine. We recommend that you do not try to replace it yourself but instead use a mechanic. This article will take into account the timing chain repair and replacement costs.

Timing Chain

A timing chain is like a bicycle chain that connects the two halves of a car engine (crankshaft and camshaft). It regulates airflow in a car engine by opening and closing the inlet and outflow valves at the right timing during combustion.

Timing chains can last for a long time but can also wear out. A worn-out timing chain is harmful to the engine. Failure of the timing chain to regulate airflow at any the right time during combustion will lead to engine failure. An engine failure means the car will not run.

Car engines with timing chains are interference engines. In interference engines, the valves and pistons move in the same cylinder. But, without the timing chain, the pistons and valves will jam into each other, destroying the engine. The timing chain is essential and should be replaced at any sign of fault or wear.

How Much Are Timing Chains

Timing Chain Replacement

Replacing a timing chain is an expensive and labor-intensive project. The replacement processes in fixing a timing chain are intense and complicated. Just anybody shouldn’t attempt to replace one. 

Even though most car owners use timing belts because they are cheaper, they are easy to damage. In the long run, timing chains are the most cost-effective option. Timing chains are a vital part of an engine, and any botched replacement job will condemn your vehicle’s engine. It takes six hours or more to replace a timing chain.

They are delicate steps to follow when replacing a timing chain. These steps include the following: 

  1. Disconnect the battery cables and radiator cap
  2. Clean the engine if necessary
  3. Drain the oil and coolant
  4. Remove the hoses and other things connected to the engine
  5. Remove the timing chain tensioner
  6. Unbolt the timing chain cover from the engine block
  7. Slid the timing chains off the gears
  8. Lubricate the gears and place the new timing chain.
  9. Reassemble back all components
  10. Fill the car radiator with a coolant and reconnect all the hoses
  11. Reconnect the car battery

To avoid total engine breakdown, regularly inspect the timing chain and other essential car components. Do not attempt to replace the timing chain yourself. Instead, repairs should be done by an experienced mechanic.

Timing Chain Tensioner Replacement

The timing chain tensioner is as essential to the engine as the timing chain. Without it, the engine is a risk of breaking down. Replacing the tensioner of a car is equally as complex as replacing the timing chain. It is both tricky and expensive and a process that only professionals should carry out.

It takes up to five to eight hours to replace a timing chain tensioner and assemble the engine back. Replacing a tensioner depends on the car’s make and model. Some vehicle models are more complicated than others. Replacing the tensioner might take a long time if, during an inspection, other repairs are discovered.

We recommend you always take your car to auto repair service centers when needing a timing chain tensioner replacement. The engine is a delicate part of a car and is very expensive to replace. Trying to save costs could damage the vehicle beyond repair.

Timing Chain Repair Cost

To avoid spending money on replacing the timing chain, most car owners choose to repair it. But, improving a timing chain is expensive, and most of the cost goes to labor. Depending on the car model, a timing chain repair will cost about $150 to $400. Labor will cost about $500 to $1000. 

Repairing a timing chain is expensive and not always efficient because it requires specific skills to perform successfully. Repairing a timing chain might not last long because the chain must have lost its tenacity. It is best to replace a timing chain than to fix it.

Timing Chain Replacement Cost

In comparison to the importance of a timing chain in a car engine, you might assume that the replacement cost will be much. This much is true. Replacing timing chains is pretty expensive. But, it must be in good condition at all times.

The cost of replacing a timing chain at a workshop is between $1,000 to $2,500. This amount covers the timing chain cost, usually about $150 – $500, and the labor cost. The labor cost is much because timing chain replacement is labor-intensive.

Timing chain prices differ based on the model and make of the car. Some car model timing chains are more expensive than others. But, the timing chain cost is not the challenge. The labor cost is the larger part of the expense and might lead you to consider doing it yourself.

We do not recommend replacing a car timing chain yourself. It is a very delicate process, and any timing setting mistake will result in total engine damage. Replacing a timing chain is best left to professionals with excellent knowledge and experience in the field.

How Much Are Timing Chains

Timing Chain Tensioner Replacement Cost

The cost of replacing a timing chain tensioner depends on the vehicle’s make and model. Upon inspection, a car might need repairs in other places, influencing the general cost of repairs.

Averagely, replacing a tensioner is between $1000 to $1600. Labor cost is between $600 to $1000, while the parts are usually between $450 and $600. It is cheaper to fix the tensioner yourself, but any mistake will be very costly.

Timing Chain Symptoms

Unlike timing belts, timing chains are built to last. But timing chains can suffer wear and tear even with their rugged build. The wear and tear will put your car engine at risk. Early detection and replacement are the best ways to save your car engine.

Immediately you notice any symptoms, take immediate repair actions because delays could cause damage to the engine. Symptoms of a faulty timing chain include the following:

How Much Are Timing Chains, Symptoms: #1. Check Engine Light Flashing

When the check engine light is on and continuously flashing, it warns that the timing chain might be faulty. Check engine light on requires immediate attention because neglect can lead to severe damage.

How Much Are Timing Chains, Symptoms: #2. Misfiring Engine

When you experience an engine misfire, it could be due to a stretched timing chain. The stretch in the timing chain can cause crankshaft and camshaft displacement. The displacement will affect the inlet and outflow valve timing. Always check the timing chain for any engine misfiring.

How Much Are Timing Chains, Symptoms: #3. Engine Failure

When a car timing chain breaks, the car will come to a stop. Even if you were driving, the vehicle would stop automatically. This impromptu breakdown is due to an engine failure. Always check and fix any damage to the timing chain to avoid engine failure.

How Much Are Timing Chains, Symptoms: #4. Metal Shavings In Oil

The presence of metal shavings in engine oil might be an indication of a worn-out or broken timing chain. Metal shaving can cause severe damage to your car engine. Ensure that you inspect the oil for metal pieces before changing.

How Much Are Timing Chains, Symptoms: #5. Engine Noise

When an engine makes a grinding noise, it indicates that everything is not in order in the engine. A damaged or stretched timing chain will cause the engine to rattle when driving. Properly inspect any unusual noise in the engine.

How Much Are Timing Chains, Symptoms: #6. Loss Of Engine Power

Because the timing chain controls the valves in the engine, the engine does not function well without synchronizing the valves and proper airflow. This defect will lead to a loss of engine power.

The timing chain is a vital part of a car engine. Taking action to remedy possible faults immediately after any sign is essential. Delay could lead to a loss of the engine.

How Much Are Timing Chains

Bad Timing Chain Tensioner Symptoms

The timing chain tensioner is the part that provides the pressure necessary to keep it steady. The tensioner must keep the timing chain in the proper position for the timing to be correct. Without the timing chain tensioner, the chain will fall out of place.

The tensioner is usually at the front of the engine, and removal does not require taking off the complete timing chain. The tensioner keeps the chain in the path by slacking or tightening up. A malfunction of the tensioner is also a malfunction of the chain. There are two types of tensioners.

  • Hydraulic Timing Chain Tensioners: The hydraulic tensioner uses oil to control the timing chain.
  • Mechanical Timing Chain Tensioners: Mechanical tensioners use springs and pawls

Similar to the timing chains, specific symptoms will indicate a malfunction of the timing chain tensioner. You might notice that the symptoms are alike. They include the following:

How Much Are Timing Chains, Bad Tensioner Symptoms: #1. Check Engine Light

A bad timing chain tensioner will trigger the check engine light. This light goes off to indicate something wrong with the engine. The check engine light is a safeguard warning a car owner that the engine needs to be inspected.

How Much Are Timing Chains, Bad Tensioner Symptoms: #2. Noisy Engine

The tensioner holds the chain in position always. When the tensioner fails, the chain can slip out of place, leading to noise in the engine. Any noise in the engine is a bad sign and should be remedied as soon as possible.

How Much Are Timing Chains, Bad Tensioner Symptoms: #3. Failure To Start

When the tensioner is terrible, the car will not start. Your car’s camshaft and crankshaft will not synchronize properly, and the car won’t ignite. In severe cases, the engine will fail and be damaged totally.

How Much Are Timing Chains, Bad Tensioner Symptoms: #4. Misfiring Engine

A bad tensioner cannot hold the chains and the valves in place. The misplacement will lead to poor combustion in the engine. When combustion is incomplete in the cylinder, the engine will misfire.

It is bad to drive a car with a faulty tensioner. Moving with a lousy tensioner could bend the engine valves and pistons, eventually damaging your car engine.

Loose Timing Chain Symptoms

Timing chains are usually durable but become slack or loose with time. The slacking tendency can be a result of wear and tear. The more distance a car covers, the higher the chance for the chain to become loose. Timing chains can also become slack when they stretch from excess use, and tensioners fail.

As the timing chain becomes loose, you will notice some symptoms indicating there is a need for repairs. These symptoms include the following: 

How Much Are Timing Chains, Loose Chain Symptoms: #1. Rattling Engine After Starting

Rattling sounds in a car engine on startup indicate something is loose inside. The loose component might be the slack timing chain. To determine if the timing chain is open, inspect the car. Any strange noise in the engine is a bad sign, and you should address it immediately. Proper and regular maintenance can help prevent damage to the engine.

How Much Are Timing Chains, Loose Chain Symptoms: #2. Engine Misfire

When the timing chain is loose, the engine will misfire. The chain stretching will alter the valves’ timing, affecting engine combustion.

Other factors that could cause the engine to misfire include bad spark plugs (to find out more, check out our guide on can spark plugs cause a car not to start and the symptoms of loose spark plugs), injectors, leaky intake manifold, and fuel pressure (or if could be the fuel pump low pressure symptoms).

The mechanic will conduct the necessary checks to determine which is responsible for the engine’s misfiring.

How Much Are Timing Chains, Loose Chain Symptoms: #3. Low Oil Pressure

A loose timing chain can cause oil to leak from the engine. You will notice that the oil warning lights come on more often. This check engine light indicates something is wrong with the engine. The oil leakage will also spill on the floor when the vehicle is not in motion.

How Much Are Timing Chains, Loose Chain Symptoms: #4. Difficulty In Starting

A car with a loose timing chain will experience difficulty in starting. This difficulty is because of the inability of the valves to function correctly. The inlet valve will not open to allow air in, and the outflow valve will not let out the air. Without this airflow, the car will not start.

How Much Are Timing Chains, Loose Chain Symptoms: #5. Excessive Exhaust Smoke

An increase in the smoke from the car’s exhaust can indicate a loose timing chain. A stretched-out timing chain will distort the engine’s exhaust system and can result in excessive smoke from the exhaust.

How Much Are Timing Chains, Loose Chain Symptoms: #6. Metal Shavings In Oil

The timing chain is loose when you find tiny metals during an oil change. Metal shavings could be small pieces of the chain falling into the oil pan. It could also be fragments of the camshaft and crankshaft.

Without opening the car engine, it is almost impossible to determine if the causal factor is the timing chain. The signs are similar to the symptoms of every other engine issue. To know what is wrong, the mechanic has to open the engine and inspect for faults.

Timing Chain Problems

The engine of a car is too delicate to be handled carelessly. An essential part of that engine is the timing chain. Any problem with the chain not dealt with will damage the engine ultimately. 

Early detection and repairs are vital if you are to keep your car engine functioning optimally. It is recommended that timing chains be replaced after about 80,000 to 120,000 miles. After this long distance, it is expected that timing chains will begin to develop faults even if they don’t break totally.

Loose chains are equally harmful to the car engine, and repair or replacement is crucial. A problem with the chain means that the engine won’t run.

Frequently Asked Questions On How Much Are Timing Chains

What Is A Timing Chain

A timing chain connects the two halves of a car engine. It regulates airflow by correctly opening and closing the inlet and outflow valves during combustion. Without proper engine combustion, the car will not start.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Timing Belt

Replacing a timing belt will cost you about $300 – $500. This price is dependent on the make and model of the car. Price may also differ if more repair work is needed. Timing belt replacement is cheaper than timing chain, but they do not last as long as the chain.

Does Timing Chain Need To Be Replaced

Yes, a timing chain needs to be replaced with time. We recommend replacement after 80,000 to 120,000 miles. The chain is expected to suffer wear and tear after such distance. This wear can lead to chain break.

How Much Is Timing Chain

The cost of a timing chain is usually about $150 to $500. Prices may differ depending on the car’s make and model. Timing chains of some car brands are more expensive than others. Cheaper options usually require an aftermarket kit.

How Long Does A Timing Chain Last

Timing chains are generally long-lasting and so require paying close attention to them. They can break without proper maintenance once you notice any of the symptoms of a faulty timing chain. Inspect the engine and chains, and change them if need be.

What Does A Timing Chain Do

A timing chain controls the crankshaft and camshaft in the engine. It is in charge of synchronizing the inlet and outflow valves, causing them to open and close during combustion.

What Does A Bad Timing Chain Sound Like

When the timing chain is loose, you will notice rattling sounds in the engine on startup. In some situations, the engine will grind, especially if the chain is broken.

How To Tell If Timing Chain Is Bad

You can tell that a timing chain is wrong if you notice any symptoms. They include difficulty starting the car, a noisy engine, metal shavings in the oil, low oil pressure, a check engine light on, and a misfiring Engine. You should take the car to a mechanic for any of these symptoms. Without inspecting the engine, You may know there is a problem but cannot be sure what it is. Many of these symptoms are due to several other factors.

What Causes A Timing Chain To Break

A timing chain can break due to wear and tear. The more miles the car covers, the more likely the chain will break. Experts advise that chains be replaced after about 80,000 to 120,000 miles. Poor and delayed maintenance can also cause a break. If you ignore early symptoms of a loose or stretched chain, the timing chain will eventually break.

How Long Can You Drive With A Bad Timing Chain

Immediately the timing chain breaks. The car will come to a stop. The valves in the engine will not function the same as the piston. Once you notice rattling sounds in the engine, you should take steps to inspect and replace the timing chain immediately. Driving a car with a worn chain will damage the engine ultimately.

How Long Will A Stretched Timing Chain Last

Driving with a stretched timing chain is very dangerous. You should not attempt to drive a car with a stretched chain. If, during use, the extended chain breaks, the vehicle will come to an immediate stop. This abrupt stop can endanger lives. Take the car to the mechanic to avoid further damage.

How To Check Timing Chain

Checking the timing chain is a job best left to a professional mechanic because of the complicated process that could go wrong if mishandled. Any mistake during repair can end the car engine’s life.

Where Is The Timing Chain Located

The timing chain is in the engine. It connects to the gears and pulleys and allows control of the valves and pistons.

What Happens When Timing Chain Breaks

A car with a broken timing chain will not start because engine compression will be inadequate. If the chain breaks when the vehicle is in motion, the car will stop immediately. Pistons and valves will collide and can damage the car engine. You shouldn’t attempt driving the car at any sign of a faulty timing chain.

Conclusion On How Much Are Timing Chains

The timing chain is important to a car engine. It controls the valve and pistons and is essential for complete combustion in the machine. Without combustion, the engine will not start. A failure of the chain can damage the car engine. Replacing a car engine is very expensive.

We advise that you take good care of your timing chain to avoid a more complex situation. This article seeks to provide a car owner with the necessary information on the question “how much are timing chains?”. Our content is valuable for anyone who wants to keep his car engine in good working condition.

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