The timing chain serves an important role in your car's engine. As the name suggests, the timing chain affects the timing of the ignition. It connects the crankshaft to the camshaft, which controls the engine's valves. The external timing chain has a long service life and precise timing. A timing chain will often last 100,000 miles or more before showing wear. With use, however, it will need to be replaced.
There are some symptoms of a failing timing chain that will signal the part will soon need to be replaced. Noise from inside the timing chain cover may indicate the timing chain has stretched. Listen for rattling, especially when the car is idle.
Retarded ignition timing is another sign the timing chain may be failing. As the timing chain stretches, the ignition timing will be affected. If you need to advance the timing on a timing chain motor, the chain is likely stretched.
A broken timing chain can also be diagnosed from home. A quick test for a broken timing chain is to open the valve cover and observe movement of the valves while the engine is cranked. If the valves are not moving, you may have a broken timing chain. Another indicator of a broken timing chain is a rotor that will not turn. To check for this, remove the distributor cap and crank the engine. If the rotor does not turn, a broken timing chain could be the cause.
Once you've diagnosed a stretched or broken timing chain, you can select a replacement. Sears carries all of the timing devices you need to get your car running efficiently. When replacing a timing chain, it is smart to replace the timing chain and gear set together rather than combine new parts with worn parts. Timing gears are installed as a set; matching worn gears with a new chain or a stretched chain with new gears will not allow your vehicle to run optimally. Sears has a car part to meet all of your mechanic needs. Once you've updated your timing system, check the condition of your harmonic balancer and internal crankshaft, and address any potential car problems before they become major headaches.