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How often should the timing chain be replaced?

The engine comprises many components responsible for its efficient operation. One of the most crucial parts is the timing chain. If it fails, driving becomes impossible. Therefore, it’s important to ensure it’s in the best possible technical condition before hitting the road – and sometimes, this means replacing it with a new one at certain intervals. How often should the timing chain be replaced, and what is the cost of such an operation? You’ll find out in our guide. Read it to determine the best timing.

How to recognize when the timing chain needs replacing?

There are several symptoms indicating the improper operation of the system. These signals imply that replacing the timing chain will be necessary in the near future – preferably immediately after diagnosing the issue. Among the symptoms are:

• Uneven engine operation while idling,

• Difficulty or inability to start the engine,

• An annoying noise during driving due to a stretched chain,

• Brief noise during cold starts,

• Illumination of the “check engine” light, which might suggest the need to replace specific parts.

Self-diagnosis, of course, doesn’t cost anything, but only the specialists in the workshop will be able to determine whether there’s been actual damage.

How often should the timing chain be replaced to avoid trouble?

Another method is to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Some of them specify how frequently the timing chain should be replaced. It primarily depends on its type, brand, and how the vehicle is used. For roller chains, it’s around 100,000 kilometers, while for double-row models, it’s between 300,000 to 400,000 kilometers. There are also gear-driven chains, which cost significantly more but are much more durable, hence requiring less frequent replacement.

The most reliable solution is regular servicing. Mechanics inspect the timing chain during routine checks. Combining this with knowledge about the mileage and overall technical condition of the power unit allows for quite precise determination of when this component needs replacement.

But what if there’s no information about the engine part’s condition? This sometimes happens when purchasing a second-hand vehicle. In such cases, it’s recommended to replace the timing chain immediately after acquiring the car. It incurs a cost but ensures avoiding problems.

How much does it cost to replace the timing chain at a workshop?

It depends on several factors. The most crucial factor is the location of the chain. If it’s easily accessible, the work will be quicker and simpler. But how much does it cost to replace the timing chain in a more complex situation? Since the service can take a whole day in such cases, we might have to pay several times more – up to several thousand €.

How often should the timing chain be replaced? Summary

As you can see, there’s no straightforward answer to this question. The best solution is to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations and pay attention to the initial symptoms of improper timing chain operation and other components. This way, you can replace a faulty part at a reasonable cost. Remember, the general rule indicates that the earlier you react, the less costly the replacement is. That’s why visits to professional workshops are so important.

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