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The Ultimate Guide to Timing Chain Replacement Cost

Are you worried that there might be something wrong with your vehicle’s timing chain? Wondering what the Timing Chain Replacement Cost would be? You’re certainly not alone, as many car owners experience issues and have to replace this crucial component of the engine.

Well, don’t worry! In this blog post we’ll provide the answers about why a timing chain needs replacement, common causes of damage and what motorists need to consider when looking at replacing their chain. Let’s jump in!

How Does a Timing Chain Work?

A timing chain, sometimes referred to as a cam chain, is an essential component of the internal combustion engine that connects the crankshaft and camshaft. It controls when each cylinder fires and helps keep the engine in sync. The timing chain needs to be properly tensioned at all times and when it becomes stretched or worn out, it can cause serious damage to your car’s engine.

What Does The Timing Chain Do and Why Does It Need to Be Replaced?

The timing chain is an essential part of any engine, but unfortunately it’s not designed to last forever. Over time, the chain will stretch, leading to problems with the engine’s performance and fuel economy as it no longer keeps the pistons and valves in proper sync.

If you want to keep your engine running at peak efficiency, you’ll need to replace the timing chain before it fails completely. That’s why regular servicing by a qualified mechanic is so important.

How much does it cost to get a timing chain replacement?

Replacing a timing chain can be expensive, especially when taking it to an auto shop. Unless you’re an experienced mechanic, it’s better to bring your car in and get the professionals to handle it. For DIY repairs, the parts alone can range between $600 – $800, with a full repair done by a mechanic costing up to $1,800.

The cost is high due to its complicated nature, one false move during the replacement process and you might end up needing an entirely new engine, and replacing that is not something anyone wants to pay for (around $6,000 it’s enough for some people to reach for the junkyard.)

Note: For more information on timing chain replacement costs, please refer to the FAQs section below.

Related: What Does A Timing Belt Do?

What factors influence the timing chain replacement price?

Timing Chain Replacement Cost 2
Timing Chain Replacement Cost 2

1. Make/Model of Car

When it comes to the price of replacing a timing chain in your car, several factors come into play, most notably the make and model. Depending on the vehicle, the parts for a timing chain replacement can range from more affordable to pricier.

Thankfully, some brands like Honda tend to have less expensive options, making them great choices if you’re working with a budget. You could even opt for an aftermarket chain kit if you’d like but be sure to do your research first and make sure it’s up to your standards of quality.

2. Labor Rate

If you want an experienced mechanic who knows their stuff and is guaranteed to provide you with a reliable service then you can expect to pay more than if you were to settle with someone offering cheaper rates. For a full timing chain replacement job, you could end up paying between $1,000 – $2,000 depending on who you go to.

Related: Ignition Coil Replacement Cost and How to Lower it

Symptoms Of A Faulty Timing Chain

If the timing chain has become worn out or stretched then it can cause significant damage to your vehicle’s engine. If you’ve noticed any of these signs, it might be time to start looking into getting a replacement:

1) Chain Noise on Startup

Are you noticing a strange rattling or grinding noise coming from your engine on startup? If so, chances are you may have a bad timing chain that needs replacing. Even if the noise has been there for some time, it’s always best to get your vehicle checked out just in case. Many cars make some amount of timing chain noise, but if yours starts to change or become louder than usual, it could be a sign that something is going wrong.

2) Misfires or Rough Idle

If you’re experiencing a misfire or rough idle in your car, it may be due to an issue with your timing chain. Your timing chain is responsible for controlling the combustion process, allowing the precise opening and closing of valves depending on engine speed. If there’s even a single tooth out of place on the chain, it could lead to misfiring or an uneven running engine when you try to idle.

3) Can’t Start Engine

If the timing chain has broken, it may feel like you’re stranded. Without the timing chain, your engine won’t be able to start and all of its parts will remain stuck in place. Not having this essential component can be extremely disastrous so being sure not to ignore signs of it wearing out or needing repair is critical.

What Causes Timing Chain Noise?

If you’re hearing a rattling noise when your car is in motion, it may be coming from your timing chain. Most often, this kind of noise is caused by a worn out or loose timing chain tensioner.

Hydraulic Tensioners

If you’re hearing a rattling noise coming from your engine, it could be caused by a blocked hydraulic timing chain tensioner. The oil passages that run through the engine can become clogged and prevent the piston from keeping the tension in the chain.

Regular and timely oil changes are essential in maintaining an efficiently running engine; clinging to this habit may save you from annoying rattling noises that arise from improper chain tensioning.

Mechanical Tensioners

While hydraulic tensioner use oil pressure to keep the timing chain guide in place, mechanical tensioners rely on a spring and pawl to hold it. Without this spring pressure and pawl, slack in the tension can occur when the engine is turned off, resulting in a chain noise as it moves back into place.

What Causes a Timing Chain to Break?

Bad Timing Chain Tensioner

Often when a timing chain fails, it may be due to a bad timing chain tensioner which allows the chain to become loose, thus causing stress on the chain and eventually leading to failure. If the tensioner is not changed or repaired when necessary, the degree of wear can exceed what the chain was designed for, resulting in it snapping after prolonged use.

Broken Timing Chain Guide

A broken timing chain guide can be to blame for the catastrophic failure of your timing chain. A broken guide allows the timing chain to slip out of position and either snap it if it comes in contact with another component or dislodge from the gear completely.

What Happens If the Timing Chain Breaks While Driving?

If your timing chain breaks while driving, it could spell major trouble for your engine and car. Depending on your vehicle, the engine might be an interference type where the pistons and valves could possibly make contact, leading to serious damage that’s expensive to repair. Even if your vehicle isn’t an interference type, you won’t be able to drive it until the timing chain is replaced.

When Should a Timing Chain Be Replaced?

Driving an older car or one with a lot of miles on it can be a worrisome experience as chain problems are frequent in automobiles with increasing mileage. For peace of mind, you should keep an eye out for signs that the timing chain is failing and replace it between 60,000 and 120,000 miles, unless there is already a specific fault reported.


FAQs about Timing Chain Replacement Cost

Timing Chain Replacement Cost (2)
Timing Chain Replacement Cost (2)

Should You Replace a Timing Chain Yourself?

No, it is not advised to replace a timing chain yourself unless you are a qualified and certified mechanic. Working on the timing chain can be tricky and complicated so if you don’t feel confident in doing it yourself, it’s best to leave it to someone who has the experience and knowledge.

How many hours does it take to replace a timing chain?

The amount of time it takes to replace the timing chain can vary depending on the type and size of your engine. Generally, it can take anywhere from 5-8 hours for a professional mechanic to complete the job.

Can you drive a car with a bad timing chain?

No, it is not recommended to drive a car with a bad timing chain. If the timing chain breaks while driving, it can cause serious damage to the engine and leave you stranded.

Mercedes timing chain replacement cost

Depending on your situation, you may be looking at spending anywhere from $1,092 to $1,277 on parts and labor! Of this cost, labor will account for between $701 and $884 while the remainder of the repair cost is attributed to parts, priced around either $391 or $392.

Honda Civic timing chain replacement cost

Replacing a Honda Civic timing chain tensioner can be an expensive endeavor. The average Honda Civic timing chain replacement cost is $428-$477, which includes parts estimated at between $237 and $237 and labor estimated to be between $190 and $240.

BMW timing chain replacement cost

Wow – the BMW timing chain replacement cost sure is expensive! I had heard it was pricey but didn’t think it would go up to $1,879. Even if I go with the lower end of $1,624, it still takes a huge chunk out of my budget. Having to replace a BMW timing chain every 100,000 miles definitely adds up over time and can really start to strain your wallet.

Toyota Corolla timing chain replacement cost

The average cost for a Toyota Corolla Timing Chain Tensioner Replacement falls between $195 and $210, depending on labor and parts. It usually requires an hour of labor from a professional, costing between $60 and $76. But the good news is that the parts you purchase are usually priced between $134 and $134.

Audi A4 timing chain replacement cost

It’s estimated that the average cost for the replacement ranges between $1,100 and $1,283–a small price to pay for continued dependability. Broken down, labor costs are estimated to be between $699 and $881, while parts are priced between $402 and $402.

Ford F150 timing chain replacement cost

Replacing the timing chain tensioner for a Ford F-150 is going to cost me a pretty penny, ranging from $1,414 to $1,691. Although the parts are relatively inexpensive, coming in at around $354, labor charges seem to be the largest chunk of this job with prices between $1,061 and $1,338.

Chevy Equinox timing chain replacement cost

The cost is not outrageous at all, coming in between $973 and $1,120 with labor costs estimated somewhere between $563 and $710, respectively – that’s decent value for the money. And with parts priced at a very reasonable rate of between $409 and $409, replacing your timing chain could be a no-brainer if you’re looking to get the job done right.

Mini Cooper timing chain replacement cost

The average cost for the entire replacement can range between $536 and $618. Breaking down the cost further, the labor is estimated to be somewhere between $306 and $386, while parts are priced between $230 and $232.


We hope this article has given you a better understanding of Timing Chain Replacement Cost and answered any questions that you have had.

Replacing your timing chain is an important task to ensure the longevity of your car and keep it running smoothly. The cost can vary greatly depending on what type of vehicle you have, but generally speaking, it will require a substantial investment. Be sure to check with a reputable auto repair shop to get an accurate quote for your particular model before making your decision. Doing so can save you a lot of time, money, and hassle down the road.

Timothy Ballard

I’m Timothy Ballard, owner of a used car dealership in Springfield. I love just about everything automotive, but I have a special place in my heart for trucks. I’m an ASE Certified Master Technician, so I know my way around a car. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling with my family and hiking new trails.

1 thought on “The Ultimate Guide to Timing Chain Replacement Cost”

  1. Timing chain replacement costs vary depending on whether you choose to hire a mechanic or do it yourself. Professional replacement by a mechanic typically ranges from $1,600 to $1,800. For those who prefer a DIY approach, the cost can be between $600 and $800. This price reflects the complexity of replacing this part, which contributes to the higher expense.


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