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Bad Timing? 3 Things To Know About Your Vehicle's Timing Chain

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Most vehicle owners develop a certain level of awareness about their vehicles, including the sounds and actions that relate to the healthy performance of the engine. What many of these owners may not know, however, is that changes in the sound and performance of their car's motor can be a warning sign of a potentially serious car repair issue, such as one that involves the timing chain. If you are unfamiliar with engine timing chains and the work they perform to keep your car running, here are three of the most important things you should know. 

Understanding the job of a vehicle's timing chain or belt

The timing chain or belt within a car engine could be compared to that of a traffic cop on a busy street - their presence helps to keep cars moving in their proper lanes, at the correct speed. A timing chain or belt works provides a connection between the car's camshaft and crankshaft components. This allows a closely synchronized action to take place that carefully controls the precise opening and closing of the inlet and exhaust valves during the combustion process. 

What happens when a timing chain or belt fails? 

Like harried drivers with no traffic cop in sight, a broken timing belt or chain means that the synchronization of the engine is replaced with chaos, as the once-carefully synchronized parts begin to bump into each other. In most instances, a timing belt or chain failure will result in serious internal engine damage that can be expensive to repair. 

What can be done to prevent a timing chain failure? 

Like all other major car components, an engine's timing belt or chain has an average lifespan. This is usually measured in miles driven and for most modern car models, the timing belt or chain is expected to have a lifespan of about 100,000 miles.

If your car is approaching this number of miles on the odometer and you want to avoid the possibility of a timing chain or belt failure, scheduling it for replacement as soon as possible is an appropriate maintenance option to consider.  

Keeping your vehicle in safe, dependable operating condition is the best way to reduce unexpected breakdowns and ensure that your vehicle will not be at risk for being involved in an accident due to mechanical malfunctions.

Whether your vehicle is experiencing a broken timing belt or chain, or you are just looking for help in establishing a good maintenance schedule, working closely with an auto repair service in your local area is a great first step to a better driving experience.