Would you consider changing the timing chain??


Asked by Apr 10, 2016 at 01:55 PM about the 2013 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited

Question type: General

The timing chain on most cars is supposed to last the life of the car,  correct??
Well,  I've read that in some cases the timing chain either gets stretched out,  
breaks or the tensioner goes out of alignment causing failure or at least a
rattling noise.   So,  how much is it to replace the timing chain?   Sounds more
involved than the timing belt.    And,  if you're timing chain fails on an
interference engine,  you will still have valve failure.      So,  when and how do
you check all this to prevent that from happening?

3 Answers


It all depends on the engine, some only take a couple of hours others can take a lot longer, your right about tensioner and guide failures that cause most timing chains to go bad, but chains do develope slack as they get older, so paying attention to some front clatter is advisable, when you start to notice it stays a lot longer than it use to then it is time to replace the chain, guides and tensioners along with any seals you might encounter. Some but not all timing chain engines are interference engines. So you would have to check each engine individually to find out. As far as difficulty, I have had some timing belts be a worse nightmare than timing chains as far as a straight forward replacement. If your thinking about dependability then a chain is the way to go.


So, it's not necessarily true that the timing chain is supposed to last the life of the car?? Now that I'm in my 60s, when people tell me this product comes with a "lifetime guarantee", I always ask, whose lifetime are we talking about? I've had two cars with timing belts, the 1995 Honda Accord and now the 2010 Subaru Outback. The Subaru Outback doesn't require replacement unit 8.75 years or 105,000 miles, some people think it can wait for 10 or 12 years. Why risk it?? Anyway, I've heard that the belt is more accessible?? Maybe on some cars like you say it varies. In terms of noise, don't you think a rubber belt is quieter than a chain??

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Decaf, Mark. Yes, chains can stretch. That's why they often have slap-shields within their runs so they don't clack around so much. But any wobbling of timing should be moderated pretty well by the ECM's software. Nonetheless, a modern chain should be good for 5- 10000 hrs operation. And to prick your old scab, replacing Subie's 2.5i belt before a decade is financially foolhardy. Only the highly- insured masochists need apply....

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