What is a timing chain?
As your engine runs, the intake valves need to open up to allow air into the engine
. They remain closed while the air and fuel are being compressed and ignited, powering the piston. Then the exhaust valves open to release the exhaust. This all has to be timed very precisely. It is the job of the timing belt or timing chain to make sure all of this is synced up properly. Be sure to check with your auto repair professional
at Town Hill Auto Service in Bedford
for more info about your timing system.
When should I replace my timing chain?
Timing belts are made of a very tough compound that can last for tens of thousands of miles. Timing chains are made of metal and last for a very long time as well. If your vehicle has a timing belt, your vehicle's owner's manual has a schedule for replacing the belt
. If your vehicle has a timing chain, there may not be a specified schedule for replacing it
, but that doesn't mean that the timing chain system is indestructible and never needs attention.
For example, the chain runs on sprockets located on the crankshaft and the camshats. A broken tooth on a sprocket can cause the chain to slip a little. When timing is off a little your engine will not run as smoothly
. If the timing is off enough your engine won't run at all and could become severely damaged. There is also a tensioner that keeps appropriate pressure on the timing chain. This keeps the chain tight while allowing it to absorb pulsations from the engine. Eventually the tensioner will wear out. Then there are guide rails that keep the chain on the proper path that can become worn.
The bottom line is that at some point, one or more of the timing chain system components will become worn to the point that they are no longer performing within specification. Your Town Hill Auto Sales and Service service advisor
can help you with recommendations for when timing chain components should be replaced
on your vehicle and in identifying signs of timing chain system wear.
How can I prolong the life of my timing system?
Since timing chains (and dozens of other parts) are lubricated by engine oil it is important to stay on top of regular oil changes
to prolong their life. Always use a high quality oil filter and oil of the recommended type and grade.