Timing chains are usually made to last as long as the car does. If they don’t, the damage could be hard to fix. There are times when it makes sense to replace your timing chain. In other cases, you might find that it’s better to get a new car instead of fixing the old one. Time chain replacement cost is something that depends on many automobile variables.
What is a timing chain?
The crankshaft and camshafts are linked by a chain inside your engine. During the combustion process inside the cylinders, camshafts open and close the intake and exhaust valves at just the right time. Overall, it should take a qualified mechanic between 5 and 8 hours to replace the timing chain and all of the parts that go with it.
What does replacing a timing chain include?
Unlike a timing belt, the tensioners and guides that keep the chain in the right place usually wear out before the chain itself. All of these parts are changed during this job because the chain itself wears out. The crankshaft and camshaft sprockets are also changed because they wear out at the same rate as the chain.
What happens if you don’t replace the timing chain?
Chain guides can wear out over time, and tensioner springs can lose their strength. Either of these can cause the chain to come off, which makes a metallic clanking sound inside the engine. This could throw off the timing of your camshaft and make your check engine light come on. If a chain guide wears out enough, it can break, and the pieces that fall off can do more damage to your engine.
Worst case, the chain could become so loose that it skips over the gears on the camshaft, which would change the timing a lot. The engine might run rough or it might not run at all. In some engines, pistons can even smash into valves that are open when they shouldn’t be, which means that the whole engine needs to be fixed or replaced.
How much does timing chain replacement cost?
A mechanic can replace a timing chain for between $1,600 and $1,800, or you can do it yourself for between $600 and $800. Due to how hard it is to replace this part, the price is high.
The parts to replace a timing chain yourself will cost about $650. But this is a job that should be done by someone who knows a lot about working on cars. For most cars, you can get the parts for less than $20. The cost of labor, on the other hand, can be much higher.
This price range is based on national averages for all vehicles and does not include taxes, fees, or your specific make and model. There may be other repairs or maintenance that need to be done, such as replacing the valve cover gasket.
In this case, the brand and model of the car are very important. One engine might have a timing chain that is easy to get to. It could also have a small number of tension gauges and pulleys. So, it might be possible to change the timing chain in just a few hours. In other cases, the system is much more complicated, and the mechanic might have to lift the engine out of the car to remove the timing chain.
What influences timing chain replacement cost?
Make and Model
Timing belts, not timing chains, are used in most older cars. So, the age of your car is usually not taken into account. But the cost of the parts will always depend on the make and model.
For example, you can expect to pay as little as $20 for a cheap timing chain. These are replacement parts that are made to fit as many cars as possible. But there is no guarantee of quality besides what the brand says. Parts from other brands, like Honda, are usually also cheap. For instance, a Honda timing chain can be bought for as little as $94.
On the other hand, some brands cost a lot of money. Chevy starts at $740 to sell its timing chain assembly. Even if you choose the aftermarket or remanufactured chain, which is less expensive, the part will always be expensive.
|Vehicle||Timing Chain Cost||Labor Cost|
|BMW 3 Series||$170-$250||$560-$780|
|Dodge RAM 1500||$295-$510||$539-$779|
The most important part of replacing a timing chain is the work that has to be done. But this depends a lot on what kind of car you have and what year it was made. Some models make it easy to get to the timing chain. In some, you have to take the engine apart and lift it out as a whole.
Also important is how complicated your timing setup is. For example, to put or take out a timing chain, all of the timing gauges, gears, and tensioners must be in the right place. The longer it will take, the more people there will be.
Depending on the mechanic, you can expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $210 per hour. Most of the time, it costs $60 per hour to hire a mechanic. And it takes between 4 and 8 hours to change a timing chain.
Some models are exceptions. For example, the timing systems on simple Dodge engines are very easy to change. Toyota and Honda are also known for being easy to get to and fix. A Chevy pickup or a Ford F150 is not the same thing at all.
Parts to Replace
For some situations, you might only need to replace the timing chain. However, in some cases, you’ll need to change the whole timing assembly. In fact, that might be a good idea because you don’t always know what went wrong with the timing chain. This is especially true because the cost of parts is often a lot less than the cost of labor.
So, just replacing the whole timing assembly at once could save you from having to take everything apart again if something else goes wrong. Also, the tensioner for the timing chain often breaks. It’s also much cheaper than the timing chain to replace. And the signs that a tensioner is broken are a lot like the signs that a timing chain is broken.
Lastly, you probably also need to replace the sprockets. These are cheap but tend to break more often than the timing chain itself.
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