The timing chain is a more durable but more energy-consuming alternative to the timing belt. Like the belt, the timing chain connects and synchronizes the crankshaft, camshaft, and fuel injection pump in your engine. However, it does not need to be changed every 100,000 kilometers. Nevertheless, the chain can become loose. Here’s how to adjust a timing chain.
⛓️ Can a Timing Chain be Adjusted?
While the timing belt needs to be replaced approximately every 100,000 kilometers, depending on your car of course, the same does not apply to the timing chain. Although noisier and more energy-consuming, a timing chain has the tremendous advantage of being much more durable than a rubber belt.
While you should regularly inspect your timing chain, it can last between 200,000 and 400,000 kilometers. In other words, you may never have to change the timing chain throughout your car’s lifespan. A timing chain is virtually unbreakable.
However, your timing chain can become loose as you drive. In this case, you may hear a rattling noise coming from your chain-driven engine. If the timing chain is loose, it indeed needs to be adjusted. Driving with a loose timing chain puts you at risk of:
- Engine misfires and stalls
- Increased fuel consumption
- Engine damage
However, a loose timing chain may sometimes need to be replaced entirely. It is also possible that the tensioner needs to be replaced. The part costs an average of forty dollars, but replacing it requires approximately 4 hours of work.
🔧 How to Adjust the Timing Chain of a Car?
Unlike a timing belt, a timing chain is expected to last the entire lifespan of your car. However, it can become loose. In such cases, it is sometimes possible to adjust the chain and avoid the need for replacement. However, you must ensure that both the timing chain and the tensioner are in good condition.
Step 1: Check the Condition of the Timing Chain
Usually, the hydraulic tensioner automatically takes care of adjusting your timing chain. You don’t need to do anything. However, if you notice any play in your timing chain, there may be an adjustment to be made. However, ensure that neither the chain nor the tensioner are damaged and in need of replacement.
Also, check that the chain guides are still in place. Improper tension of the timing chain can cause them to break.
Step 2: Raise the Car
Start by loosening the nut on the timing chain tensioner with a wrench. Then, use a jack to raise the right front wheel of your car.
Step 3: Adjust the Timing Chain
Rotate the wheel and the engine two revolutions clockwise, then tighten the nut. Finally, lower the car and check that the tension is correct and the noise has disappeared.
💰 How Much Does Timing Chain Adjustment Cost?
Adjusting a timing chain is a relatively straightforward operation compared to replacing a timing belt, but it does take some time. You will need to pay for the labor at the garage. On average, expect to pay around $120 to $130 to adjust your timing chain.
On the other hand, a timing chain replacement can be quite expensive. Typically, it costs over $1000 because multiple parts need to be removed to access the chain. The operation takes several hours, similar to a timing belt replacement.
The price of a timing chain alone, if you have the mechanical skills to replace it yourself, depends heavily on the car model. Expect it to be around a hundred dollars.
You now know how to adjust a timing chain! However, be cautious, as improper timing chain tension can severely damage your engine. It is necessary to regularly inspect your timing chain. Entrust the maintenance of your timing chain to a qualified professional to avoid any engine failure.