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A popular myth about the chain in the engine. Mechanics warn


In theory, a chain should be more durable than a belt, but improper handling combined with low-quality materials effectively shorten its life. Many drivers did not pay attention to this, which led to costly breakdowns.

A timing chain failure will generate much higher repair bills than a belt failure. A timing chain that is not sufficiently tensioned may skip. In such a situation, the piston and the valve may collide, which may result in damage to the head.

In some cars, removing the head may require removing the entire engine. In such a case, engine overhaul will cost at least several thousand zlotys.

It often turns out that purchasing a used engine will be cheaper than renovating it.

A large part of the cost of replacing a chain is labor. The larger and more complex the engine, the more time is needed to dismantle components and replace all elements. Therefore, it is worth knowing what to pay attention to so that the chain works without failure for many years.

The life of the timing chain largely depends on the proper operation of the tensioner, which ensures its proper tension. When the engine oil level is at the correct level, the hydraulic tensioner works properly. Lack of regular oil service can lead to tensioner wear and chain stretching. A worn tensioner causes the chain to run much louder.

When the timing chain begins to stretch and play develops, the gears begin to wear. It is worth checking their condition regularly, as they may also lead to accelerated wear of the valve timing adjusters. Therefore, when planning to replace the chain-based timing, it is worth considering replacing the sprockets right away.

When replacing the timing belt, an essential element is the replacement of the so-called slides. The guides are made of durable materials, but with high mileage they may become excessively worn, which later affects the proper operation of the timing drive.

The original timing chain or its branded replacement should be durable. In the case of such parts, they rarely break, but the timing is much more likely to be pulled out or even skipped. Therefore, it is worth remembering to change the oil regularly and consult a mechanic immediately about any suspicious noise coming from under the hood. In many cars, faults related to the timing chain are manifested by a “check engine” error.

Replacing a chain-driven timing belt is an expensive repair. Therefore, it is worth buying a ready-made set right away, which will include the following elements:

  • chain,
  • gears,
  • guides,
  • tensioners,
  • fastening elements
  • seals.

Replacing the timing chain, depending on the car model and engine version, can be very complicated. It often happens that access to an element is difficult and requires removal of, for example, the gearbox.


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