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What are the Symptoms of a Bad Timing Chain?

A timing chain is one of the integral components of an internal combustion engine, without which efficient vehicle operations are impossible. Its failure can result in extensive engine damage costing the owner a fortune in repairs.

What is a Timing Chain?

Composed of metal links, a timing chain runs along a set of gears to rotate the crankshaft and camshaft and regulates the opening and closing of the engine valves in coordination with the firing pistons. Since the timing chain is housed inside the engine, it receives its lubrication from the engine oil, which is essential for its smooth functions. Despite having a metallic composition, timing chains can wear off, get loose, or break due to stress.

Signs of a Faulty Timing Chain

A worn timing chain exhibits some symptoms that signify that the timing chain is not functioning properly. These signs include:

Rattling Sound on Starting the Engine or Idling

A common finding in a vehicle with a bad timing chain is unusual rattling noise when the engine is started or when brakes are engaged. It happens due to the loose or stretched timing chain that shakes and rattles while rotating when the engine motor is running.

Misfiring Engine

Since the timing chain times the opening and closing of engine valves, any damage can unbalance the air-fuel ratio and result in a lack of power. It appears as a jerking motion and loss of acceleration.

Contaminated Engine Oil

Another warning sign is finding metal bits in the engine oil. Metal parts from a damaged timing chain may break off and land in the oil. This finding must prompt the owner or mechanic to inspect the timing chain.

Check Engine Light

Just like any other misfunctioning component of the engine, a faulty timing chain will illuminate the check engine light. It is a warning to get your vehicle assessed for underlying engine problems, which might include a bad timing chain.

Inability to Start the Engine

This is a sign of the ultimate breakage of the timing chain. The vehicle won't start and can result in damaging other engine components as well.

If these signs are recognized timely, the impending failure of the timing chain can be prevented with proper repair services. If you suspect that the timing chain in your vehicle needs repair, give our auto repair shop a call today!