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How Much does a Timing Chain Replacement Cost?
Your engine’s top end and bottom end serve different purposes but must operate in perfect unison for the engine to run smoothly.
In some vehicles, a timing belt is used. In others, it’s a timing chain that ties the upper and lower end of your engine together.
In many cases, the timing chain operates the oil pump and water pump also.
Unlike a timing belt, the timing chain isn’t a routine maintenance item, so there’s no specific interval for replacement.
It’s possible that, over time, the timing chain can stretch, the timing chain tensioner or guides may fail, or poor lubrication can cause wear on the timing chain itself.
If that happens, timing chain replacement is required. The average cost of replacement is $500 to $1,500+ depending on the car you drive.
Timing Chain Replacement
What is a Timing Chain?
Like the chain on a bicycle, the timing chain connects gears together – the camshaft gear (or gears) and the crankshaft gear.
It’s a hardened metal chain that must be extremely durable as it moves constantly and speedily whenever the engine is running.
The timing chain is located behind the front engine cover and may incorporate the oil pump’s operation and the water pump’s function into its role as well.
Some vehicles might be equipped with more than one chain: a timing chain and balance shaft chains.
The solid links in a timing chain are meant to eliminate the need for replacement. If the timing belt has signs of wear or has a rattling noise, it should be replaced immediately.
Symptoms that your Timing Chain Replacement is Required
- Rough rattling noise from the front of the engine area.
- Check Engine light illuminated with timing-related codes.
- Rough running condition.
- Excessive fuel consumption.
- Poor power or hesitation when driving.
- Stalling or stumbling at idle.
How is the Timing Chain Replaced?
- The engine accessories are removed, the engine oil is drained, and the front engine cover is removed.
- The tension on the timing chain tensioner is released.
- The camshaft and crankshaft gears are removed along with the timing chain, and the technician makes special note of the position they were in.
- The new timing chain is installed on the gears, then the gears and chain are re-installed in the same position.
- The front cover is re-installed, the accessories mounted, and engine oil topped up.
- The technician runs the engine and road tests to confirm the repair is successful.
Tips to Remember
- A new timing belt tensioner and guides should be installed along with the new timing chain, eliminating the possibility of a similar repair shortly after.
- Other conditions might sound like a stretched timing chain, such as a worn idler pulley or alternator bearing.
How Important is Timing Chain Replacement?
If there’s a problem with your timing chain, it could cause further running issues at any time.
Stalling, rough running, and hesitation can be hard to predict and dangerous while you’re driving.
As well, if the timing chain breaks, the damage will be much more expensive than solely timing chain replacement.
If you’ve read this far, you obviously care about your car. A lot. So next time you need a service, repair or inspection, visit AutoGuru.com.au.
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