Common Symptoms of Bad Timing Chain Tensioner

Illumination of the check engine light is definitely among symptoms of bad timing chain tensioner. Don’t get this confused, generally the check engine light is a warning light that something is not working properly in the engine.

So if the timing chain tensioner is bad or failing, check engine light can come up just to warn you that something is wrong. In a more simpler way, check engine light a way for the engine to tell you the driver that “please am not feeling fine check me”.

In this article you will more about the signs and symptoms of bad timing chain tensioner. Continue reading to find out more

Symptoms of Bad Timing Chain Tensioner

Just like every other vehicle part, the timing chain tensioner can start failing over time. However, a failing timing chain is easy to detect as it shows some signs and symptoms. Below are the major indicators of a failing timing chain tensioner

Check Engine Light is on

Like i have said before, check engine light is a warning light to tell when something is wrong with the engine. It is also one of the major signs of a failing timing chain and timing chain tensioner.

The primary function of the tensioner is to keep the chain drive under tension under all operating conditions and to compensate for vibrations in the system. It must also compensate for the wear of the chain and tighten the chain drive accordingly.

An over stretched or loose timing chain can lead to a poor engine performance and increased emission. If this happens, the computer system in your car will will receive the signal and the check engine light will come up.

If you have an OBD box and an ample knowledge of trouble codes you can vividly read the code when you plug it in. An average car owner or driver cannot fix a timing chain problem, so it a wise decision to visit a mechanic to inspect the code and prescribe the necessary repairs.

Audible rattling engine sound

Rattling engine sound is also another sign of a bad timing chain tensioner. Generally, when something snot working just as expected in the engine, it make unusual noise.

A loose or failing timing chain will do the opposite of allow a consistent and harmonious sound. In the case where the timing chain is loose or failing, it starts to make rattling sound just like that of a real rattle snake.

Yes, rattling like a real rattle snake, that was a joke but there is presence of rattling sound. If you notice this kind of noise in your engine, no doubt your timing chain could be at risk.

Engine going into limp mode

Limp mode is triggered by the car’s computer, which receives signals from all the different components of the car. Problems which cause signals like this are usually faulty engine sensors/components/wiring, transmission issues, dysfunctional brakes and clutch, or even low fluid levels.


Will a Bad Timing Chain Make Noise

The timing chain is a connecting device that links the crankshaft to the camshaft. It transmits torque from the crankshaft to the camshaft, which is an essential part of a reciprocating engine.

A timing chain can also be called as a timing belt or a timing gear. The name “chain” comes from its use in chainsaw engines, where it is made of metal links.

The timing chain has three main functions:

  • To transmit torque from the crankshaft to the camshaft.
  • To provide smooth and continuous power flow through each cylinder.
  • To keep all parts of an engine synchronized.

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Bad Timing Chain Tensioner Sound

When you hear a chain tensioner sound, it means that the chain is too tight. This can lead to the bike’s drivetrain getting damaged.

Bad timing chain tensioner sound can be caused by poor maintenance or adjustment of the tensioner. To prevent this from happening, it is important to keep your bike in good working order with regular maintenance checks and adjustments.

A bike’s drivetrain consists of the crankset, bottom bracket, and chain which are all connected together by a series of gears which allow you to pedal forward while turning the pedals. The tension on these gears is adjusted using a tensioner on each side of the crankset or bottom bracket depending on how many gears are present.

Timing Chain Tensioner Replacement Cost

The timing chain tensioner is a part of the timing chain in the engine that helps to keep the chain tension. The tensioner consists of a spring, a roller and a sprocket.

The cost to replace the timing chain tensioner varies depending on your vehicle make and model, so it’s important to know what you’re working with before you start shopping for replacements.

Timing Chain Tensioners Replacement Cost can vary from $100- $1000 depending on make and model.

How Long Can You Drive with a Bad Timing Chain

The timing chain is a system of gears that is responsible for transferring the crankshaft’s rotational power to the camshaft. The timing chain is responsible for the proper rotation of valves and gear changes in order to change gears.

The average timing chain life is 100,000 miles, but this can vary depending on how well it was maintained when it was manufactured. A well-maintained timing chain should last anywhere from 200,000 miles to 300,000 miles or more.

Timing chains are made up of three separate parts: the sprocket, tensioner and guide rail. The sprocket is the part that meshes with the camshaft and turns at a certain speed in order to transfer power from one gear to another.


Can I drive with a bad timing chain?

Can I drive with a bad timing chain? Yes and No you can drive for short distance if the timing chain is bad but not broken. If the chain is broken, sorry you would not be able to drive and inch without the timing chain.

The engine only runs when the timing chain is on and in good shape, which means when there is not timing chain, there would be not functioning engine. It is better to avoid timing chain problems at early stage than allow it to break.

If timing chain breaks before its being replaced, it might damage other things in the vehicle. Visit the nearest auto repair shop today as quick as possible to get the timing chain replaced as soon as possible.


Is timing chain worth fixing?

Yes timing chain is worth fixing except you are not using the car again. The engine will only run when the timing chain is on.

If the timing chain is broken, the engine will not run. A timing belt typically needs to be replaced between 40,000 and 100,000 miles depending on the vehicle. It’s a few hundred dollar repair.

A timing chain doesn’t need to be replaced unless there is a problem with it. Fix yours car’s timing chain as quick as possible to avoid further damages.


What causes timing chain to jump?

Breaking of the timing chain is one among the reason for regular oil change. The function o the timing chain in the engine is lubrication and heat control to some extent.

Worn out engine oil would not be able to serve the purpose of lubrication. Lack of changing the engine oil as expected would cause the timing chain to worn-out in time or even break.

In some cases, a worn timing chain may cause the engine to jump time a few teeth. The button line is that early oil change can extend the lifespan of your engines timing chain and doing other wise can shorten it.


Can you replace timing chain yourself?

For and average driver or car owner, timing chain replacement is almost impossible. However if need be or if you are the type that love to do your auto job you can do it.

All you need is mechanical know how, the right tools and the new timing chain. Take all necessary precautionary measures as you change the timing chain. Just be aware that this is a major job and can have serious consequences for your engine if done incorrectly.



The timing chain tensioner (TCT) is a chain-driven timing device that is used on internal combustion engines to regulate the engine’s camshaft speed. The TCT tensioner has a large gear that turns the engine crankshaft, and it uses a spring to keep tension on the chain.

The TCT can fail due to damage or wear over time, which can lead to problems like rough idling or misfire.

Timing Chain Tensioner Failure:

A timing chain tensioner failure is when the timing chain fails and either breaks, comes off of its sprocket, or both. This can happen due to damage or wear over time, which can lead to problems like rough idling or misfire.

This explains and identify the symptoms of a bad timing chain tensioner. If you have any further questions please ask using the comments section.

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