We all know that a timing belt in a car engine needs to be replaced at recommended service intervals, but what about the timing chain? A timing belt is a toothed belt made of high-quality rubber. A timing chain is made of metal, similar to a bicycle chain. A timing chain doesn’t need to be replaced unless there is a problem with it.
Timing chain problems are not uncommon, especially in high-mileage vehicles. Similarly to any other moving mechanical components inside any engine, a timing chain is subject to wear. The chain is lubricated by the engine oil. Lack of oil changes, low oil level or poor oil quality can cause the timing chain to wear faster. A timing chain is kept under proper tension by the chain tensioner. A chain tensioner could be operated by a spring-loaded mechanism or oil pressure. All these components wear too. Often, if the timing chain is worn the engine may feel sluggish, low on power or have trouble starting.