All engines have either a timing belt or a timing chain to synchronize the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves. This keeps the engine running smoothly and efficiently. If the timing is off, it may not run at all. Timing belts need to be replaced on a schedule. A broken or slipping timing belt could cause extensive engine damage.
Timing chains are being used more and more in modern engines. They are more durable and usually do not have a recommended replacement interval. However, timing chains and their associated components do wear over time. The tensioner and guide rails can wear causing the chain to be loose. A tooth on a cam sprocket could break allowing the chain to slip. You don’t want to wait for a complete failure (and possible extensive damage) so you need to watch for the signs of impending failure.
You may notice sluggish performance, reduced fuel economy, or difficulty starting when the timing chain system is worn. You could hear a variety of noises: rattle, rumble, whine, buzz, or whir coming from the engine. If you experience any of these things, bring it to our attention and we’ll investigate it. If you do require a timing chain replacement, we’ll also replace all the other system wear components such as the tensioner and guide rails.
Although the timing chain does not require maintenance per se, it does require constant lubrication. The engine does this normally as it runs. However, low oil level or using a poor-quality oil will keep the timing chain from being properly lubricated. A timing chain can last a few hundred thousand miles with regular oil changes using high quality oil.
If you think you might be experiencing some of these issues, click here to request an appointment.