Costopedia / Automotive / How Much Does Replacing a Timing Chain Cost?

How Much Does Replacing a Timing Chain Cost?

$ Labor costs: $75 to $120 per hour. $ $ Parts only: $50 to $250+ $ $ $ Professional Replacement: $300 to $1,000+

Often confused with the timing belt, the timing chain has been a preferred option by manufacturers due to its reliability in the past recent years.

A timing chain keeps the synchrony of the crankshaft and the camshaft, and it’s responsible for regulating the engine’s valves that close and open at specific intervals; its main job is to keep everything functioning in harmony.

Car owners should be very aware of their maintenance schedule and get the timing chain replaced before signs appear and before it could provoke major damage to their cars.

Timing Chains VS Timing Belts

Typically, car owners get really confused between the timing belt and the timing chain, but the reality is that both have the same job and the difference between them relies on their material and location.

Timing belts are made from rubber, while timing chains are made from strong metal; as timing belts are weaker, they need to be replaced more often.

Because of the material, timing chains are more expensive than timing belts, but they are preferred because of their durability; if there’s a problem, a timing chain will provoke easy-to-catch signs before it breaks, while a timing belt could just snap without notice.

And they are located in different places: a timing chain is located within the engine and receives lubrication, while a timing belt is located outside the engine and doesn’t receive any lubrication.

Check out this video made by Driving 4 Answers that explains in detail the history, evolution, and differences between timing chains and timing belts.

What Can Cause A Timing Chain To Break?

Timing chains can last a long time and, unless there’s a specific problem with them, they will need replacement in 100,000 miles.

But there are many causes that can make the timing chain break before expected, such as:

  • The timing chain has an adjustable tensioner that was set too tight.
  • Daily wear and degradation of the guides and sprockets of the chain.
  • Continuous operation of the engine at its maximum speed.
  • Failure to follow scheduled engine oil and filter changes.
  • Poor engine oil quality.
  • The chain doesn’t have enough lubrication.

What Are The Signs Of A Failing Timing Chain?

There are several signs that will let you know if your timing chain is failing:

  • Engine misfires or runs poorly.
  • Metal shavings found in the oil.
  • The engine won’t start or fail.
  • Check Engine Light is on.
  • Engine rattles while idling.

This article made by explains these signs more in detail.

Car owners should be aware of these signs because driving with a failing timing chain could provoke engine issues; the vehicle won’t even turn on with a broken timing chain.

What Affects Replacement Costs Of A Timing Chain?

Many factors affect the final costs of replacing a timing chain, like the make and model of your vehicle, how old it is, where you take your car for the job, the quality of the replacing part, and if you buy the part alone or a kit.

The professional replacement of a timing chain can cost $300 to $1,000 or more.

Just buying the timing chain can cost from $50 to $250 or more; timing chains are often sold in kits with other parts that may need replacement, and these kits can cost from $20 to $1,000, depending on the quality of the parts.

And the professional labor costs to replace a timing chain can be $75 to $120 per hour.

If you wait too long to replace the timing chain, this could break, which will increase the price of the replacement up to $700 or more.

Replacing a timing chain is expensive, but not as much as the issues a failing or broken timing chain can provoke to your car, so it’s best to replace it when it’s the right time and before it affects and damages other parts.

Top Companies

You can get your timing chain professionally replaced at national auto care chains like Midas, Mr. Tire, and Pep Boys, and car dealerships, which are the most expensive but most specialized.

And you can get just the timing chain at online retailers like, Advance Auto Parts, Napa Auto Parts, and Amazon.

The following comparison shows the difference between prices and type of work some of the shops that work with timing chains do:

Company Type of Work Price Range
Midas Parts and labor $415 – $950
Mr. Tire Parts and labor $440 – $900
Pep Boys Parts and labor $420 – $1,050
Amazon Timing Chain Kits $20 – $1,000+
Advance Auto Parts Timing Chain Kits $50 – $1,400+

Things To Consider

Before Buying

  1. First, check your car’s owner manual to know if you have a timing chain or timing belt, and the recommended maintenance schedule for a replacement. Don’t wait for the signs of a failing timing chain to appear.
  2. Check the different auto care shops around you and ask for a budget and what’s included in the job. Buying a timing chain from an online retailer and hiring a professional mechanic to replace it can be a cheaper option.

When Buying

  1. If you buy a timing chain kit, the mechanic will remove and replace the chain and the other parts and accessories that come with it.
  2. Replacing a timing chain can take three to five hours.
  3. This is a difficult job better left to professionals with great experience, as simple mistakes could lead to expensive damages to your vehicle’s engine. Here’s a video that shows how to replace a timing chain.

After Buying

  1. Usually, when the timing chain is replaced, the water pump is replaced along with it. The professional replacement of a water pump costs about $300 to $700, but as the job is done simultaneously as the timing belt replacement, labor costs remain the same for both, and you are only charged the part, which is about $100.
Giovanna Soto