How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Timing Chain?

A broken timing chain can be a pretty big problem. Find out what it takes to fix it, what it costs to replace it — and when it makes more sense to sell it.

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The engine of your car is made of dozens of parts working together. One of those parts is the timing chain.

This simple but crucial component makes the difference between a working and a broken engine.

Ahead, you can learn all about the timing chain, what it does, and what to do if yours breaks.

Plus, we discuss repairs as well as alternatives if a timing chain replacement is outside of your budget.

Can You Fix A Broken Timing Chain Yourself?

Unless you are a skilled and experienced mechanic, we do not recommend repairing a broken timing chain on your own. While the term “chain” makes this component sound simple, the way it functions in your engine is anything but simple.

Timing chain repair is a labor-intensive process that requires special tools and knowledge. Even an experienced mechanic needs about five to eight hours to complete the repair. The process involves the disconnection and reconnection of various parts at precise points during the repair.

Here’s just a snippet of the steps involved:

  1. Disconnect battery cables and radiator cap.

  2. Drain motor oil and coolant.

  3. Remove hoses connected to the engine.

  4. Remove timing chain tensioner.

  5. Unbolt the timing chain cover from the engine block.

Without the right set of tools, you can further damage the timing chain and potentially other engine components if anything is improperly installed.

So, you likely won’t be able to fix a broken timing chain yourself.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Broken Timing Chain?

Timing chain

While large parts like the transmission, catalytic converter, and engine assembly block get a rep for being pricey repairs, the timing chain can also burn a hole in your pocket.

As mentioned before, timing chain repair is complex and labor-intensive. So, while the part itself can run you between $150 and $500, it’s the labor costs that will leave you with a large bill at the end. Labor can run between $1,000 and $2,500.

Moreover, damage to the timing chain can cause issues to other engine parts which would also need replacing to get your car working again. Some technicians even recommend replacing all timing chain-related components like the water pump and front seals to ensure that everything is running smoothly in the end.

Take a look at these the costs of the parts that might need replacing along with your timing chain:

  • Crankshaft: $500 - $2,500

  • Camshaft: $700 - $1,500

  • Pistons: $30 - $640 per piston

  • Intake valves: $30 - $400

  • Water pump: $460 - $650

What Does A Timing Chain Do?

In the most basic terms, a timing chain synchronizes the movements between the crankshaft and camshaft in your engine. It regulates airflow to make sure that combustion inside the engine occurs at the exact time it’s meant to.

It operates much like a bike chain but with more moving parts.

The chain is driven by a gear on the crankshaft, forcing it to turn at the same speed as the crankshaft. This turning motion causes the gears on the camshaft to open and close the intake and exhaust valves at the appropriate time no matter how fast this process needs to be.

Therefore, if the timing chain breaks, your engine will not be able to keep working as there the whole mechanism for internal combustion will halt.

Do You Have To Fix A Broken Timing Chain?

Timing chains are meant to last for the lifespan of your car. So, if you find yourself with a broken timing chain, then you’ve got a big problem. A failed or failing timing chain can mean trouble for your entire engine

If your timing chain is breaking or is broken, you’ll notice these warning signs:

  • Illuminated engine light: Any issues related to the engine, including a broken timing chain, will cause the engine light to illuminate.

  • Engine is vibrating or shaking when idling: Broken or loose timing chain teeth can cause the chain to slip and result in rough idling.

  • Engine is misfiring: This can occur if the timing chain slips and causes the cylinder to open or close too quickly.

  • Broken pistons and valves: A severely damaged timing chain can cause your crankshaft and camshaft to fall out of sync with each other and result in the pistons and valves colliding.

  • Noises coming from engine: Misfiring or colliding metallic parts can cause noise like clanging, grinding, or rattling can signal that the timing chain is loose or the damage has extended to other parts.

  • Metal shavings in engine oil: If a mechanic finds metal shavings in your oil during a routine change, this could be a sign that your timing chain is wearing out.

If any of these symptoms are persistent, you need to head to a repair shop to avoid engine failure. However, if the repair costs are outside of your budget, selling your damaged car might be a better alternative.

Can You Sell A Car With A Broken Timing Chain?

Blown engine

It’s definitely possible to sell a car with a broken timing chain, especially when you sell to JunkCarMasters.

We accept cars with all kinds of issues ranging from engine damage and blown-out tires to missing parts and vehicles that have been totaled. This is how our process works:

  1. You get a quote by entering information about your car into our calculator.

  2. You wait less than two minutes to get a fair-market estimate.

  3. Accept our offer and schedule a pick-up.

It’s that simple and you don’t even have to leave your coach. Plus, we’ll have a local tow driver pick up your car for free in 24 to 48 hours. Once he or she arrives, you’ll hand over your keys and they’ll give you your check for the exact amount you were quoted.

Get your estimate today!

Is a timing chain worth fixing?

A broken timing chain must be fixed if you want to keep driving your current vehicle. Your vehicle will not run without a working timing chain.

However, due to the cost of this repair though, it might be more worth it to replace your vehicle instead. Consider the current value and condition of your vehicle to help with your decision.

In many cases, it’s not worth it to pay for such an expensive repair if your vehicle’s worth is less than your bill.

How much does it cost to replace a timing chain?

A timing chain itself costs several hundred dollars, about $150 to $500 depending on where you get your part and the type of car you have. However, labor costs will add an additional $1,000 to $2,500 due to the complexity of timing chain replacement.

If your camshaft, crankshaft, or pistons also sustained damage due to your broken timing chain, then you can expect to pay an additional $30 to $5,000.

It’s a Quick and Easy Process

Step 1: Vehicle Details

Vehicle Details

Provide us with your vehicle’s details and a picture if asked.

Step 2: Offer


Request your guaranteed offer from us online.

Step 3: Accept


Accept the offer if you’re happy with it.

Step 4: Get Paid

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In 24-48 hrs, you will get paid and have your car towed for free!

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