Car Engine

Timing Chain Jumped Symptoms And What Should You Do

Mike Cross
Updated October 17, 2020

There are a lot of parts inside your car and engine. One of the main components is the timing chain or belt. This is the central part that connects the motor to the wheels.

Depending on the car the timing belt will be rubber or a metal chain. If it is rubber, then there are not a lot of signs that it is going to break, but if you have a metal timing chain, there are a few things you can watch out for so you can be warned before it breaks.

Timing Chain Jumped Symptoms And What Should You Do
Timing Chain Jumped Symptoms And What Should You Do

What Happens When it Breaks

If your timing chain breaks, then that is a terrible thing. Normally the whole engine will need to be rebuilt. This is because things get out of sink when it breaks and your pistons will smash into the valves.

In simpler terms, the engine parts ram into each other and become damaged. If your timing belt breaks then the car will not run. It won’t start or do anything.

How does the Timing Chain Work

This is because the timing chain connects the crankshaft to the camshaft. The crankshaft is what rotates overtime the pistons go up and down inside the cylinders in the engine.

The camshaft has teeth that the timing belt connects to and then it connects to the teeth on the crankshaft. As the camshaft spins, the power goes throw the spinning belt and rotates the crankshaft.

The crankshaft then spreads the energy to the wheels, and that is what allows the axel and wheels to spin. Without the timing belt, the power being generated in the engine cannot be transferred to the wheels.

Signs of Timing Chain about to Jump

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The big sign that a timing belt is about to jump or break is clanking sounds.

These sounds can be metal sounding or like a jingle sound. It will kind of sound like you is shaking your keys or a metal chain. These sounds occur because the timing chain is getting loose and hitting things as it spins.

The main time that you will hear these sounds is when you are first starting your car. This is because that is when the engine is producing the most power and causing the chain to move around.

You might also hear the rattling noise when you are speeding up and slowing down.

Any clanging or pinging sound from your engine is serious. Even if it is not the timing chain or belt having issues, it is probably something else that needs to be looked at. That is why it is essential to have your car checked out if you hear any odd sounds coming from the engine or from under the hood of your vehicle.

Another thing to look out for as a warning that your timing chain might be about to jump is your engine burning a lot of oil.

This is because if your engine is old or not running right, it might start burning oil. Paying attention to burning oil is also an indicator method that can be used even on cars with rubber timing belts that don’t rattle like a metal timing chain.

Signs Timing Chain Has Jumped

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If your timing chain has jumped, then some rattling might also still happen. If the chain only jumps one tooth, then the car might even run it just won’t run right. If the timing chain has jumped, you can start the car with he hood open and see if it takes the engine longer then normal to turn over. If it does take longer to turn over, then the timing chain has probably jumped, especially if there are noises as you try to start the car.

Also, you can pay attention to if there is backfiring in the engine. If the engine has a popping noise, then it is backfiring and probably has a jumped timing chain, especially if there are other noises too. Also, engine stumbling, especially during acceleration, can be a sign that the timing belt has jumped and that the engine isn’t running right.

What to do if Timing Chain Jumps

If your timing belt jumps, then you need to fix it right away or have it fixed without driving the vehicle more. More driving can cause the engine to get damaged or worse the chain to break completely.

If you know what you are doing, then you can take the timing cover off and work your way into where the timing chain is connected and remove it. Once removed you can put a new one on. This is easier said then down though.

A lot of times to get that far into the engine where the crankshaft and camshaft are you have to remove a lot of other parts. On most vehicles, you have to remove the serpentine belt and the things it is connected too. This means removing the alternator, water pump, and anything else that is in the way.

For inexperienced people, this isn’t possible and even if you know what you are doing it can be a lot of work. While you are doing this work, your car can not be used, and you have to make sure you put everything back correctly. Also, another downside of doing it yourself is if something goes wrong, then the only person that is reliable for it is yourself. This is why for most people it is a good idea to now replace a timing chain or belt yourself.

Instead, you can find a reputable mechanic and have them replace the timing chain for you. That way you know someone with experience is doing it and that it is being done right. Also, by letting a shop do it, if it does get done wrong, then they are liable.


The timing chain or belt is a very crucial part of your vehicle. It is how the power gets from he engine to the tires. If the timing chain breaks, then the engine is done for. That is why it is a good idea to keep an eye on your timing chain or belt. For belts, it is even more important since they don’t have a lot of signs before they break. Metal timing chains, however, can jump and does have some warning. If your car is burning a lot of oil or you have rattling noises in the engine, then you should have your timing chain looked at, and possibly replaced if it is old.

Mike Cross
Life is too short to drive with stock audio

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