Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Long Does a Timing Chain Last?

Timing Chain

A timing chain is a metal chain, as opposed to the timing belt which is made of rubber. The chain is located inside of the engine and needs to be lubricated by the oil in the engine so everything runs together. Every time you use the engine, the timing chain will be used. It connects the crankshaft to the camshaft. The metal links in the chain move on the tooth sprockets on the end of the crankshaft and crankshaft so that they rotate together.

The timing chain normally needs to be replaced between 40,000 and 100,000 miles unless there is a problem. Issues with the chain are pretty common in high mileage vehicles, so if you are driving an older vehicle, or one with a lot of miles, it is best to be on the lookout for symptoms of the timing chain going bad or failing. If you do start noticing problems, or your vehicle, contact a certified mechanic to have your timing chain replaced.

Over time, the timing chain wears out because it stretches. Furthermore, the chain tensioner or the guides that are connected to the timing chain may wear out as well, causing the timing chain to fail completely. If the chain fails, the vehicle will not run at all. One cause of the timing chain wearing out faster, is using the wrong oil. Most of the time, modern vehicles will only be able to use synthetic oil because they have to meet certain specifications to ensure the oil flows quickly, and with the proper pressure. The wrong oil can cause extra load on the chain and the engine will not be properly lubricated.

Since the timing chain can go bad and will need to be replaced, it is important to be able to recognize the symptoms so you can have it repaired before it fails completely.

Signs your timing chain needs to be replaced include:

  • Your vehicle has a rough idle, meaning your engine shakes

  • Your car backfires

  • The vehicle seems to be working harder than normal

  • Your car will not start at all, indicated a complete timing chain failure

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...
Auto Safety Tips
Driving is more than a way to get from point A to point B. Owning and driving a car can also be a highly enjoyable experience. Whether a person is driving...

Related questions

Q: What Is the Difference Between a Timing Belt and a Timing Chain?

The main difference is the material that they are made of. The timing belt is made out of a rubber base product. The timing chain is made from a type of metal. An engine has one camshaft or it can...

Q: wont shift and runs rough, 2001 Ford Winstar

Your cluster may have a problem and is causing the transmission to not shift correctly. The car running rough may be due to a different issue. You should have a mechanic first find the reason for the cluster going haywire...

Q: My engine won't idle after replacing the fuel injectors.

This sounds like potentially a idle air control problem. There is a component called an idle air control valve that regulates the amount of air flow at idle. When this is not operating correctly, the engine will not idle as...