Although the top and a bottom end of your engine serve two different roles, both must operate in perfect unison in order for the entire engine to work appropriately. Most cars use a timing belt to ensure that this unison is achieved. Other cars may use a timing chain for the same purpose. Here you can find what is a timing chain and when to replace it, how much does timing chain replacement cost at different repair services etc.
In most cases, the timing chain will operate the water and the oil pump too. The timing chain, unlike the belt, is not an item that requires routine maintenance. There’s also no specific interval to replace it.
However, it’s very clear that over time, the timing chain will stretch, lose its tension and eventually fail. Poor lubrication too may lead to significant wear and tear on the chain, affecting its performance significantly. In such cases, the only solution is to have the chain replaced. The average cost of timing chain replacement will range between $910 and $1,600. The labor costs are estimated between $550 and $1050 while parts are priced between $410 and $550. The price will depend on your actual car drive.
Costs by Car Model
Timing Chain Replacement Cost Comparison
Check out the following timing chain replacement sample costs based on several service providers from around the country. Keep in mind that these prices may differ from the ones in your local repair shop due to your car make, model etc.
Timing Chain Replacement Cost
What’s a Timing Chain?
The car’s engine consists of hundreds of moving parts. The components must move in sync in order for the entire engine to work as required. The timing chain is designed to make sure of this by joining the crankshaft which represents the lower part of the engine and the camshaft, the upper part. The chain is created using metal links.
How does the Timing Chain Work?
The chain’s movement is done on toothed sprockets that are located at the end of the crankshaft and the camshaft. Vehicles that have variable valve timing tend to also have additional actuators and motors that are used to delay or advance the timing on the chain. This helps to optimize the overall engine performance. The timing chain, however, is prone to regular wear and tear. When this happens, the engine may rattle or fail to respond when you accelerate. In certain extreme cases, the engine will fail to start or simply shut down when you are driving.
Timing Chain Replacement Benefits
Timing chain replacement has three key benefits:
- Improvement in horsepower – Replacing the timing chain will help improve the car’s horsepower. In addition to this, a timing chain in good condition will also improve the car’s acceleration. Just hit the gas pedal after a chain replacement. You will be surprised at how powerful the car will feel.
- Improved fuel economy – Changing the timing chain is also going to improve the gas mileage on your car. A new timing chain will ensure that the crankshaft and the camshaft are working perfectly in unison. This ensures that the valves on the engine are able to deliver great combustion. In the end, you will save a lot in fuel costs.
- Reduce car repair costs – Timing chain replacement will also lead to lower repair costs for your car. Replacing your timing chain in time will cost about two or three hundred dollars. However, these costs will be higher if you let the chain break first before replacing it. If you can have your car inspected by a professional mechanic on a regular basis, it will be easier to identify any potential issues with the chain and have it replaced immediately.
What Are The Symptoms Of a Bad Timing Chain?
For example, if you notice that the gas you put into your car is not lasting as long as it used to, or you experience occasional misfires and it’s becoming difficult to start the car due to weird sounds coming from your car’s engine, then your time chain might be experiencing some issues. Also, other signs can be engine hesitates during acceleration, excessive fuel consumption, check engine light is on etc.
How Long Does a Timing Chain Last?
Do timing chains need to be replaced? The simple answer here is yes. You see, while a timing chain is built to last for a very long time, it will need to be replaced at some point, usually after 150,000 miles.
We strongly advise that you consult with your mechanic as soon as you notice any of the signs described above so that they can diagnose the problem and determine whether or not the timing chain needs to be replaced or repaired. The sooner this happens, the better.
Sure, it will set you back a bit to replace the timing chain, but you’ll thank yourself later when you think of all the costly damage that it could have caused to your engine and other vital parts of your car.
What’s Done During the Timing Chain Replacement?
Timing chain replacement is no small task, as it involves taking apart the engine and putting it together again afterward.
First, the mechanic needs to carefully clean the engine using a de-greaser before regulating the car’s firing order. This includes taking the spark plug out so that a screwdriver can be inserted in its place to ensure that the number 1 cylinder is up.
Next, he’ll disconnect the battery cables in order to remove the radiator cap.
Then, he’ll drain the engine of all the coolant inside it.
Other components will need to be taken out as well, including all the drive belts, radiator hoses, heater hoses, water pump, fan and lastly, the timing chain shield.
At this stage, you’ll notice marks on the old chain that coincide with the chain gear tooth. These marks need to be aligned and in order for that to happen, the engine must be rotated.
Before the mechanic removes the chain, he’ll use a screwdriver to score out a fresh reference mark on the chain as well as on the gear. Then, he’ll loosen the tension gear in order to properly remove the timing chain.
He’ll then lubricate the gear before installing the new chain.
When installing the new chain, the mechanic has to make sure that it’s aligned with all the marks on the gear.
Next, he’ll reinstall the camshaft sprocket bolts, and push the crankshaft seal out using a hammer and punch so that he can tap the new crankshaft seal into the timing cover.
Then, he’ll cover the seal with oil before he replaces the timing chain cover, followed by water and fuel pumps, as well as the fan.
Coolant will be poured into the radiator before reconnecting several belts and hoses.
Lastly, the mechanic will reconnect the battery and start the engine.
How to Save Money on Timing Chain Replacement
As mentioned previously in this article, timing chain replacement is a job that’s best left to the professionals because it’s very skill-intensive and requires special equipment.
However, if you want to save money on the replacement, we suggest that you have the chain replaced as soon as it starts to give you problems, as waiting can lead to problems with other parts of your car and ultimately cost you even more in additional repairs.
You should also shop around and get quotes from different service providers in your area so that you can make comparisons before choosing the one who offers the best value for money and has the most reliable reputation. Go to Google and search for relevant keywords like “timing chain replacement cost”, “timing chain cost” or “timing chain price” to help the search along.
Also, you can try to find timing chain replacement coupon from some of the most popular auto service shops.
A timing chain is not a regular maintenance item. It can only be replaced when signs of damage are present. When you decide to replace the timing chain, you may also want to make sure that the actuators, motors, worn chain guides, and shaft chains are also inspected and replaced if needed. Replacing these components with the chain at the same time will significantly reduce the costs and save you from future breakdowns.
Timing Chain Tensioner Replacement Costs
Check out a few timing chain tensioner replacement costs below based on the most common car models in the country. Keep in mind that these prices are there to give you an idea of what you can expect to pay, but the actual cost may differ according to the specific repair shop you go to in your area.
Timing Chain Tensioner Replacement Cost By Car Model