Everyone knows that the engine is the most important aspect of a car. But what they don’t always realize is that there are a whole bunch of essential parts inside of an engine that make it go. If even just one of these parts gives you problems, it could force you to make major repairs to your engine. The timing chain, in particular, is a very important part located in your engine. If you ever experience issues with it, you’re going to want to have your timing chain replaced right away, even though the timing chain replacement cost is often on the higher side. Learn more about timing chains and the timing chain replacement cost below.
What Is a Timing Chain?
Most people are familiar with the chains that are found on bicycles. Those chains play a very important role when it comes to keeping your bike moving. Timing chains operate in much the same way that bicycle chains do, with the one big difference being that timing chains in cars are usually a whole heck of a lot thicker than bike chains are. They’re designed to live up to the heavy demands that are put on timing chains over the years.
So, what exactly is it that timing chains do? Well, a timing chain is located inside of your engine right behind what is called your timing cover. It’s connected to both your crankshaft timing gear and your camshaft timing gear and it remains tight at all times thanks to your timing chain tensioner. The timing chain is driven by a gear that is situated on your crankshaft, and it’s responsible for turning that gear so that the intake and exhaust valves in your engine open and close on a consistent basis when you’re driving your car.
The timing chain tensioner ensures that your timing chain isn’t ever able to skip a single tooth on your camshaft gear. As long as your timing chain and everything that surrounds it is in good working order, you won’t have to worry about your intake and exhaust valves opening and closing at the correct times. Your timing chain will always be working behind the scenes to keep your engine in great condition.
How Long Does a Timing Chain Last?
In many cases, people won’t ever have to be too concerned about replacing the timing chain in their car’s engine. It’s why people aren’t always sure what the timing chain replacement cost will be when they encounter issues with their timing chain. But it’s important to note that your car’s timing chain is not going to last forever. There is a chance that you will need to have it replaced with a new one at some point during your ownership of a vehicle.
Generally speaking, the average timing chain is built to last for somewhere between 80,000 and 120,000 miles. Once your timing chain reaches that point, you’re going to have to start thinking about the timing chain replacement cost. You might also have to think about it if you have problems with any of the parts that surround your timing chain. A single faulty part could throw the timing of your timing chain off and lead to serious issues down the line.
All of that being said, there are also times when you might get away with never having to replace a timing chain. It really all depends on how you drive your vehicle, what you do to maintain it, and, frankly, how lucky you get when owning a car. It’s not uncommon for people to keep cars for well over the 150,000-mile mark without ever having to pay the timing chain replacement cost.
What Are the Signs of a Bad Timing Chain?
Although timing chain replacement might not ever be something that pops up on your radar, it’s a good idea to keep a close eye out for signs of trouble with a timing chain. The sooner that you’re able to catch a problem with your car’s timing chain, the sooner you can have it replaced and stop a bad timing chain from causing additional problems with your car. You should make it a point to look out for any signs that could indicate issues with a timing chain and suggest that you need to prepare to pay the timing chain replacement cost.
More often than not, a car with a bad timing chain in it will stall every time you try to drive it. This happens when the engine in a car isn’t able to turn synchronously anymore. If you don’t address this issue immediately, it could do some real damage to your car’s engine and possibly force you to pay to repair or replace it. There are some cars with engines in them that have valve reliefs in their pistons, but if these reliefs don’t exist, it could spell trouble for you.
You should also be wary about possible timing chain trouble if you hear strange sounds emanating from your engine every time you get behind the wheel of your car. Bad timing chains have been known to cause clattering sounds that can get to be worse over time. Rather than turning up your car radio and ignoring the sounds, you should seek the services of a mechanic right away and pay the timing chain replacement cost if need be.
Can You Drive a Car With a Bad Timing Chain?
If you suspect that you might have a bad timing chain in your car, you could very well be tempted to put off making repairs to it. This is going to be especially true after you hear about what the timing chain replacement cost could be (more on that in a moment!). But if you do this, you’re going to be tempting fate and risking a disaster.
A bad timing chain is not something that you should drive around with for any longer than you absolutely have to. There is a chance—and a good chance, really—that you could experience complete engine failure if you allow a bad timing chain to linger for too long. And if that happens, you’re going to be looking at a very expensive auto repair job. You might have to get rid of your car if its engine gives out on you due to a bad timing chain.
The good news is that a bad timing chain will usually break before things reach that point. It’ll prevent you from doing any more damage than you already have. But you still shouldn’t try to push a timing chain beyond its breaking point if you can avoid it. You’ll be so much better off having a mechanic check it out so that you don’t do too much damage to your engine.
Should You Attempt to Replace a Timing Chain Yourself?
If you ever find yourself wondering whether or not you can fix any aspects of your engine, take a step back and think again. It is not a good idea for anyone other than a licensed mechanic to work on a car’s engine under any circumstances. You might be familiar with how to fix a flat tire or change the oil in your car, but that doesn’t make you qualified to take on timing chain replacement.
Replacing a timing chain on your own might sound appealing because of how much money you can save when you don’t have to pay the timing chain replacement cost. But replacing a car’s timing chain is a tricky job, and if you don’t do it right, you could cause a catastrophe to take place under the hood of your car. You could also put your own safety and the safety of others at risk when you work on a timing belt on your own.
Instead of trying to tackle timing chain replacement on your own to save a few bucks, it’s better to have a mechanic handle it for you. They’ll let you know if you need to have a new timing chain installed, speak with you about the timing chain replacement process, and keep the timing chain replacement cost low so that it doesn’t break the bank.
How Much Does Timing Chain Replacement Cost?
Earlier, we spoke at length about how important your car’s timing chain is. This might have led you to believe that replacing a timing chain is going to cost you a pretty penny. And guess what? You’re 100 percent right in that assumption. The timing chain replacement cost is more than a lot of other auto repair jobs—and rightfully so. Since your timing chain is so essential, it’s only right that you fork over a nice chunk of change to have it fixed.
On average, you’re going to be looking at paying somewhere between $1,290 and $1,550 for a new timing chain for your car. That price includes all the necessary parts, which will run you just under $400, and labor, which is going to cost more than $1,000 in many cases. You might be able to save yourself a little money by shopping around and hiring one mechanic over another. But even still, the timing chain replacement cost is going to be relatively high in most cases.
How Long Does It Take to Replace a Timing Chain?
The timing chain replacement cost is higher than many other auto repair jobs in large part because of how long it takes to put a new timing chain into place. Oftentimes, it’s going to take a mechanic between 4 and 6 hours to complete a timing chain replacement job from start to finish.
Why does it take this long? It’s because, in order to replace a timing chain, a mechanic is going to need to remove your timing chain as well as your timing cover, your timing chain tensioner, and the guide rails for your timing chain. They’re also going to have to replace each of these things, which is why the timing chain replacement cost is so high.
Additionally, there is a decent amount of testing that a mechanic will need to do during timing chain replacement before giving you back the keys to your car. They’ll need to be sure a timing chain is doing its job properly prior to closing the hood on your car and sending it back in your direction. It’ll ensure that the timing of your timing chain is right when you start driving your car again.
Is the Timing Chain Replacement Cost Worth It?
Most people don’t have an extra $1,500 lying around for a timing chain replacement. It’s why they’ll sometimes push their cars past their limits by driving around with bad timing chains. This is, as we’ve tried to stress over and over again here, always a terrible idea. You’re not going to get very far in a car with a bad timing chain, and you’re also going to put your entire engine at risk by driving in a car with one.
This makes the timing chain replacement well worth it for those who are planning on continuing to drive their vehicles around. The only time when it’s not going to be worth it is when you have an old car that isn’t even worth $1,500 anymore. In that case, you might want to think about selling your car rather than spending a small fortune on the timing chain replacement cost.
Should You Sell a Car If It Has a Bad Timing Chain?
Is the timing chain replacement cost too high for you? Or does it seem like it doesn’t make a ton of sense to replace a timing chain in an old car that’s well past its prime? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, you might want to consider selling your car for cash instead of doing timing chain replacement.
It’s never been easier to do this than it is today. You can find junk car buyers that will help you avoid paying the timing chain replacement cost if you don’t want to do it. Cash Cars Buyer is one great example of a company that will give you top dollar for a car even if it has a bad timing chain in it. Give us a call to see what your car could be worth despite the fact that it has a bad timing chain.