What are the Symptoms of a Bad Timing Chain?


A timing chain is one of the important components of an internal combustion engine, if this fails the vehicle won’t work efficiently. The failure of the timing chain can result in extensive engine damage and also results in costly repairs. It is responsible for coordinating the opening and closing of valves within the internal combustion engine. 

This coordination is obtained by synchronizing the camshaft and crankshaft to open and close the valves, it also helps in preventing the pistons from hitting these valves. 

The timing chain consists of multiple links that enable it to run smoothly over gears, but with a dynamic role in the motor, the timing chain may  wear and tear and cause problems. 

Here are a few symptoms to look out for,

Engine misfires

There are two different ways to achieve valve timing in a combustion engine. First, two-gear method, which includes the crankshaft to camshaft gear direct connection. This is used in most types of heavy equipment and big trucks. The timing chain method is mostly used in consumer vehicles and high-performance engines. As years pass away, the timing chain can stretch, which causes the chain to skip a gear on the cam or crankshaft. 

This may lead to the engine’s timing out of calibration and often results in a misfire. The engine may also run poorly and lack accelerating power. Repeated misfires could indicate a timing chain issue and should be taken care of immediately.

Engine rattles while idling

 Unusual sounds are a warning sign of a problem inside your motor. Normally, the engine should have a consistent, smooth sound which indicates that it is running smoothly. If the timing chain is loose, it may cause a vibration inside the motor, which in turn, produces a rattling noise as the engine idles. Whenever you hear such noise, it’s something loose and needs to be fixed before it breaks.

Check Engine Light is on

The check engine light can start up for a variety of reasons, one of which could be a failing timing chain. The check engine light may turn on when the onboard computer identifies something unusual with the emissions system and engine operation. A stretched timing chain will result in poor engine performance and increased emissions. A mechanic will need to inspect the code and prescribe the necessary repairs.

Check your car’s oil for metal shavings. 

As a timing chain wears out, it starts to disintegrate and some of the metal shavings may fall in the oil pan of your car. While changing the oil and oil filter, these small metal pieces are observed which indicate a problem with your car’s motor. Call a professional mechanic to investigate the source of the metal shavings.

The timing chain is an integral part of any engine, and without it, your vehicle is totally useless. If the timing chain breaks while you are driving, it probably causes huge damage to the vehicle’s engine. The only way to reduce the serious engine damage is to have a professional mechanic replace your timing chain. By taking preventive measures, you can save thousands of dollars and prolong the life of your engine.