If the timing chain breaks, can you still drive it?


Asked by Dec 14, 2013 at 11:05 PM about the 2008 Toyota Avalon Touring

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

air condition light was blinking.  Manual said to turn off, then on again.  If light continued
to blink then go to dealership.  next thing we know is the skid light comes on, the oil light,
the check engine light, a funny sound in engine, and a burning smell.  Dealership says
timing chain, but it was drivable.... I thought the car completely stopped when a timing
chain was busted.

22 Answers


If it breaks it will not run. But if it jumps time or a tensioner comes loose or breaks there is a good chance it will still run. But I do not advise driving it with what you have described.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
Stephen Smith

Dealer is full of dung. Timing chain or timing belt, call it what you want, when it breaks the engine stops, usually for good. Toyota dealers are the biggest bunch of crooks. Move on or drive on to an independent shop, and have it looked at, and probably fixed. Good Luck!

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.

No don't think I could drive it far, but we were at the exit the dealership was on. So only drove a few blocks. The dealer still has it. They are going to call me Monday. The estimated cost of repair was over $3,000. They said the timing chain caused the oil gasket to blow and leak oil. I just don't want to be charged for the wrong things. I'm very close to paying this car off and was looking forward to driving for a while with no payments. I bought a Toyota because it was supposed to be a long lasting vehicle. I hope I'm not wrong. I don't want to get a new car now, or start paying crazy repair charges. They told me the 3,000 didn't even cover the labor. That was just parts.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

That sounds pretty high for just a timing chain replacement parts unless there was a good bit more damage done with it loosely flopping around in there. Personally I would want a second opinion. But in the condition it's in you can't drive it and it will have to be towed.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

well if you're downhill and keep your foot on the clutch and the transmission in neutral...you can coast quite a ways...you might be lucky...I'd have to see if yours is an "interference" engine if it is....you can stlll hook it up~

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

to a horsie and use it as a trailer~

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.


1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I did purchase the extended warranty at time of purchase, so I am hoping whatever they come up with is covered. If not, I have no choice but to have it towed somewhere else because that is a lot of money to drop at one time. They haven't given me a detailed report yet, the skilled mechanics were not there today. I definitely want to know what is costing so much. Thanks for your advice. I won't be driving it anywhere.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

does this have the 2GR-FE engine?


Now as judge_roy stated if you engine is an interference engine then the price sounds better. With one of those engines if they jump time or timing belt/chain breaks or fails in any way you will have bent valves. And if that is what happened then the heads have to come off and have new valves installed and in some cases pistons get damaged. But hopefully that's not what you got wrong with it.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

get this....from what I've read about the 2GR-FE is a "slight" interference...really we will not know if it's a four valve per cylinder things get kinda "Jinky" up there...if at low speed this probably will not be a problem...my own timing chain came loose and "exploded" cracking the timing case...put 'er back together with a slightly limited oil pump and new parts and it works beautifully...even to this day...so there is life after destruction (if there was any)....take the time to take it all apart and see what got ruined~...or is just fine with a new chain...no one seems to know on the blogosphere for certain~ have faith in the TOYOTA...they'll not let you down~

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Judge_roy.... I am not sure about the 2GR-FE. The only thing I know is what happened, and something about the timing chain, and the cost. Hopefully on Monday they will have more information for me. And that the adjuster/inspector who is coming to approve the repairs will approve them. Otherwise, I don't know what I'm gonna do. dandyoun they had a whole list of parts, I did see that, but wasn't sure what they were. I hope on Monday they will be ready to give me a copy of their diagnostics and repairs needed. They didn't want to say for sure Saturday, until the main mechanics looked at it. I have loved my Avalon and hope they can fix it. They put me in a Corolla and I most definitely can tell the difference. My Avalon rides much smoother w 88,000 miles than this Corolla with only 5 miles on it. You guys have been very helpful. I now have a list of questions to ask when I get to talk to the mechanic.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

Glad we could give you a little insight. Don't give up on your toyota just yet. For the most part they are one of if not the most reliable vehicles on the road today. IMO. Hopefully this will be covered under your extended warranty.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

The technical term is "Tapered Squish" and is a very long explanation if you are not familiar with these engines. The 2GR FE is an Interference engine. If you REALLY want to learn about this engine download this pdf file, very dry and technical but at the same time if you want to learn: http://www.motor.com/magazine/pdfs/102012_13.pdf

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

PS Smitty22 is right. The dealer is full of crap, dung, BS. Plain ol' shit. In the rare occasion the chain breaks the engine will NOT run. How can it run when the cam is not turning?

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

The 2014 Corolla is a POS. I test drove both a '13 and '14 I would not trade my 2006 for a 2013 or 2014 straight across no money involved. You ever see those Nationwide Insurance commercials with the baby? That is how I feel about my '06 Corolla. Granted it's not an Avalon, next step is Lexus,

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Here is an update to what happened. A week later they called me and told me that it wasn't the timing chain, but it was the timing chain cover that rubbed the oil hose and caused it to burst. So they had to replace the hose and had to replace the timing chain cover. The extended warranty did cover the hose but would not cover the cover. I don't understand that because it wasn't normal wear and tear. I think it should have covered both.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Stephen Smith

Timing covers are NOT wear and tear items and Toyota is being it's usual self in stonewalling customers needs. Extended warranty or not, a $15.00 timing cover should be covered. It loosened for a reason, make sure they use tread locker on the cover bolts or you'll suffer the same fate. It's the principal, fight those Toyota SOB's. Good luck.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

my 22RE engine self-destructed crackin' the timing case at the oil pump down there...it was raining...had no time to hustle up a replacement...and the oil pressure is STILL fine even with part of the aluminum cast piece missing a bit of it's real-estate~ Toyota's are the best, my friend...Top Gear tried to destroy a Toyota truck that would not die....these trucks have tenacity~

Stephen Smith

The products are good, the support is abysmal.

Samson Olanrewaju

I really luv toyota a lot,God bless toyota companies.

Omar Hickman

If your a/c light is on and smells funny coming through the vents and you see white or gray smoke when you pop the hood than it's your a/c compressor. Either the clutch is bad or the compressor itself

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