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The timing chain is a simple device, but it plays an important role in the function of your car’s engine. A timing chain is an upgraded version of a timing belt, and it’s helpful to think of it like the belt that holds your pants up. It looks nondescript, but if you take it off, everything falls apart. So, here’s how it works. Your car’s crankshaft is connected directly to the pistons. It uses the power generated by the engine to turn the car’s wheels. The camshaft (or camshafts), on the other hand, is responsible for opening and closing the intake and exhaust valves. These valves control the flow of air (and sometimes fuel) into the cylinders and allow exhaust gases to exit. It’s vital that the crankshaft and camshaft have their timing down right, so that the valves open and close at the right time. Otherwise, the air and fuel won’t enter the combustion chamber at the correct time, and the operation will fail. So, that’s where the timing chain comes into play. The timing chain connects the crankshaft to the camshaft, ensuring that the whole system is synchronized. The valves open and close at the right time, the cylinders get the air and gasoline that they need, and everyone is happy. Until the timing chain fails, which can happen over time. Then nobody is happy, and the chain will need to be replaced. That said, timing chains are very durable, and designed to last the full lifetime of your car.
Otherwise known as the pesky little light that you like to pretend doesn’t exist. Look, I get that ignorance is bliss and all, but the check engine warning light exists to, well, warn you when something is off with your engine. A timing chain that is beginning to fail will result in an engine that isn’t running quite right, and that will trigger the check engine warning light.
If you insist on ignoring warning lights, can you at least admit that weird noises coming from your car are important warning signs that shouldn’t be ignored? A timing chain that is loose or damaged will often make a whirring or rattling noise. Noises are your car trying to tell you something. Be a good friend and listen.
When the crankshaft and camshaft aren’t properly synchronized, the engine will experience incomplete combustion. That will make the motor run a little funny, and you’ll feel it in your right foot. Acceleration may hesitate, and the car may stutter. You may find yourself without as much power as you’re generally accustomed to, and it may be due to a funky timing chain.
I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but if your engine won’t run, it’s often a sign that something is wrong with your car. And by “often” I mean “always.” If the timing chain snaps, the crankshaft and camshafts won’t be synchronized. When that happens, the engine simply won’t run at all. Not ideal, if you’re trying to, you know, drive somewhere.
Well, let’s start with the obvious. If your car’s engine won’t run, then a timing chain replacement is pretty urgent, assuming you want to actually use your car.
But if your car does run…well, it’s still extremely urgent. If the timing chain breaks, it can cause the valves to contact the pistons, resulting in extensive engine damage. So, I think you know the answer here. Get it replaced as soon as possible.
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