Updated at: 18-07-2022 - By: Lucas

Your car’s timing chain is a critical component of its mechanical operation. It ensures that the crankshaft and camshaft are rotating at the same rate. The engine valves can now close and open simultaneously as a result of this.

These valves allow fuel and air to enter the chamber of the internal combustion engine. As a result, a timing chain helps to ensure that the engine’s fuel-to-air combination is just right for starting.

Unless there is a problem, the timing chain should be replaced every 60, 000 to 150, 000 miles. If you have a newer car, you may be able to go even further. In the past, several car manufacturers of older models claimed that it was not necessary to replace the chain.

Timing chain issues are prevalent, especially in automobiles with heavy mileage. Because of this, if you have an older or more mileage-laden vehicle, you should keep an eye out for any signs that the chain might be deteriorating or going bad.

Learn everything you need to know about how to drive with a defective timing chain, as well as the signs and symptoms of one malfunctioning.

So, Can You Drive A Car With A Bad Timing Chain?

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The answer is no if the timing chain is broken.

It’s illegal to drive a vehicle with a faulty timing chain.. A timing chain is critical to a vehicle’s ability to run smoothly and efficiently.

This could leave you stuck on the side of the road if your timing chain fails. Regardless of the type of engine in your vehicle, a faulty timing chain will cause the engine to immediately shut down and shut down.

Your engine will shut down as soon as a timing chain breaks, regardless of the sort of car you have. If this happens while you’re driving, you’ll need to stop immediately.

Timing chains keep the valve and piston from lining up in an interference engine.

Damage to the cylinder and camshaft can occur if the valve and piston collide, which is extremely costly to fix. A shattered timing chain won’t do any harm to a non-interference engine. It will simply shut down the engine and leave it there. This is why it’s important to keep an eye on your timing chain.

Most Common Symptoms of a Failing Timing Chain

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To avoid a costly and time-consuming timing chain replacement, be on the lookout for any of these warning signs of impending failure. The following are some of the most prevalent signs of a broken chain.

1. The engine misfires

When the cylinders in an engine don’t fire properly, it causes a misfire. This happens due of a blip in the cylinders’ combustion chamber’s air balance. Over time, the timing chain stretches, causing a gear on the crankshaft or cam to be skipped.

Fuel-to-fuel balance in the combustion chamber of these cylinders may be disrupted by this. The vehicle may jerk on and off as a result of the loud bang. The timing chain is likely to be overstretched and will need to be replaced shortly if this occurs.

If the engine misfires, you should consider it a good sign that something is wrong. If the timing chain fails, the engine will be severely damaged.

2. Presence of metal in the oil changing pan

When changing the oil in your car, be sure to inspect the old oil in the pan for any metal fragments. The timing belt begins to degrade as it ages. Small metal fragments may be produced, and they may end up in your used oil.

3. Rattling sounds when warming up the car

If your engine is making strange noises, it’s time to get it checked out. When warming up the engine, if you hear a rattling noise, this indicates that something is loose in your engine.

Timing belt rattles can be a sign that the belt is going to break or come loose. At low engine speeds, you may hear a rattling or clattering of the chain.

4. Check Engine light comes on.

The check engine light is activated whenever there is a problem with your vehicle’s engine. The problem with the engine is indicated by a specific number on the light.

If the timing chain fails, the check engine light will come on, but it can also be caused by other issues. Based on the code, your mechanic can determine the problem.

5. Failed engine

A link in the timing chain will occasionally snap. If the chain snaps, it could cause harm to other engine parts. The pistons could be damaged by the valves rubbing against each other.

Your car will need to be towed since the engine will stop working. You won’t be able to start the engine if the timing chain breaks while your automobile is parked.

Can You Drive With These Failing Timing Chain Symptoms?

Even if you observe a few warning indicators, such as an illuminated engine light, rattling noises from the vehicle’s engine or metal particles in the oil from the previous oil change, you can still drive it.

Because of the potential of further engine component damage if the timing chain fails, this option is not recommended.

It is impossible to continue driving if the timing chain breaks while driving. You’ll have to take the car to the shop since the engine will shut down.

How Long Can You Drive With A Failing Timing Chain?

If your timing chain hasn’t broken yet, as previously said, you can still drive your automobile. How long you’ll be able to keep driving the automobile will, however, depend on your luck.

The failure of a chain can take a long period in some vehicles while it can take only a short time in others. Be aware that the longer you continue, the more likely it is that your engine could fail, which could cause serious damage, especially in the case of an interference engine.


In order to keep your vehicle running, you must have a timing chain. Engine damage is likely if the timing chain breaks or fails while you’re driving.

Because of this, if you notice any of the symptoms listed above while driving your car, you should take it to the mechanic for a timing chain repair.

You can save tens of thousands of dollars in repair costs by being vigilant and proactive.