How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Timing Chain?

Manufacturers typically design timing chains to last the lifetime of the vehicle. But if they have any sudden issue, the repair can be a considerable one. So how much does it cost to replace a timing chain? Let’s follow along with Car From Japan.

What Is A Timing Chain?

The timing chain is a component of the car engine that synchronizes the rotation of the crankshaft and camshaft in the lower and higher portions. The chain allows the inlet and outflow valves to open and close at precisely predetermined intervals during each round. Within the engine system, it serves as a link between the upper (cylinder head and valves) and bottom parts (pistons and crankcase).

This component resembles a bicycle chain and generates a louder noise than a timing belt. The proper synchronization between valve timing and cylinder strokes is required for optimal power, engine performance, and fuel economy.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Timing Chain?

Manufacturers typically design timing chains to last the lifetime of the vehicle. But if they have any sudden issue, a timely repair can be an ideal considerable one. In some lucky cases, you only need to replace your timing chain to get your cam system back to its original status. In others, you might find it’s better to skip the replacement or repair process and get a new vehicle instead.

The average timing chain replacement cost is about $350 to $5,000, but some can rise to $10,000 based on the technology and the professional level of the labor. You can expect the average replacement to cost as little as $800 in some more severe or higher-qualified cases. However, if you have a complex engine, it can cost several thousand dollars. Contained inside are every needed supplying parts that may cost from $50 to about $400. The rest are all labor costs.

We will show you the table making a quick price comparison of timing chain replacement costs from reputable car parts suppliers.

Supplier Car parts average cost Labor cost
Your Mechanic $88-$290 $300$1800
Midas $50-$340 $411-$980
Walmart $17-$117 Not available
Pep Boys $89-$270 $400-$987
Amazon $13-$648 Not available

Timing chains are usually relatively affordable. In most cases, they are metal chains constructed similarly to bicycle chains.

timing chain
With individual supplier parts, you can buy ones for under $20 for most vehicles. (Photo: Philipus)

However, labor costs can be much more substantial. Here, the make and model are of utmost importance. For example, a tool can provide easy access to a timing chain. It may also have very few tension gauges and pulleys. Therefore, you can change the timing chain in just a few hours. In some other cases, the system is much more complicated, and the mechanic may have to lift the engine to remove it.

Below is the estimated price tag of timing chain replacement of some most common car types and models. These numbers are only evaluated based on the engine design and cam/crankshafts structure.

Make Model Timing Chain Cost Labor Cost (on average)
              Toyota Camry                 $130-$189 $470-$680
Toyota Corolla $135-$180 $75-$766
Honda Civic $94-$234 $194-$331
Audi A4 $400-$690 $705-$921
Ford F150 $120-$780 $1,050-$2,500
Mini Cooper $360-$746 $295-$677
BMW 3 Series $170-$250 $560-$780
Dodge RAM 1500 $295-$510 $539-$779
Dodge Nitro $304-$1,356 $310-$590
Chevy Equinox $740-$1,120 $560-$720

Factors Affecting The Timing Chain Replacement Cost

You know how much will cost you for your timing chain replacement process on average. However, for each problem and each car model, the cost will vary and be adjusted to become the most suitable. Overall, the time and effort required to disassemble the motor chain will decide most of the cost.

Alternatively, you may need to aggregate the entire timing chain series instead of just one chain, which will increase the replacement costs significantly. However, the most affected factor will always be labor. The labor cost can sometimes rise to $2,000-$3,000 or more, depending on the place you choose to perform the project.

We will go into more detail on some factors that affect your timing chain replacement process. These include your vehicle make and model, the replaced parts, and the overall labor cost.

Car Make and Model

Most older vehicles use timing belts rather than timing chains. So the age of your car is usually not considered. However, make and model always affects the cost of parts. For example, you can buy a budget time series for as little as $30. These are aftermarket parts that can fit as many vehicles as possible.

However, there is no guarantee of quality beyond what the brand offers. Other brands like Honda also often offer affordable parts. For example, you can get a Honda time series for just $94.

On the other hand, some brands with timing chains available are expensive. Chevy markets the assembly time series starting at $740. Although you can buy the part cheaper by choosing aftermarket or remanufacturing, it will always be expensive.

Labor cost

Labor may be the most cost-depending part when replacing the timing chain. However, this also depends considerably on the make and model of your vehicle. In some models, time series are very accessible. In other cases, you have to disassemble the entire motor and lift it out.

The complexity of your time setup also matters. For example, putting the timing chain in and out means perfectly aligning all the timers, gears, and tensioners.

Depending on your mechanic, you can expect to pay $15-$210 per hour for the job. In most cases, the average cost of a mechanic per hour is $60. And a timing chain can take about 4-8 hours to replace.

timing chain labor cost
Depending on the mechanic you choose, you can expect to pay $15-$210 per hour for the job. (Photo: Niko Guido)

Some models are the exception. For example, the simple Dodge engine easily replaces the timing system. Toyota and Honda are also famous for being easy to access and replace. A Chevy or Ford F150 pickup is the complete opposite.

Needed-to-replace parts

For several issues, you may only need to change the timing chain/timing belts. In others, you’ll want to replace the full-time cluster. Since you don’t always know what happened to the timing chain, this can be a good idea. That’s especially true because the cost of parts is often significantly less than the cost of labor.

Therefore, simply replacing the entire timing assembly at once can help you avoid another problem when you have to take everything apart again. In addition, the timing chain tensioner breaks frequently.

It is also much cheaper to replace than the timing chain. And, the symptoms of a bad stretcher are very similar to that of an unqualified timing chain. Finally, you may also want to replace the sprockets. They are cheap and more likely to fail than the time series itself.

Step-by-step Tutorials To Replace The Timing Chain

Timing chains are difficult to replace. In most cases, that means this is a challenging and technical project. You don’t want to try this project unless you’re prepared to spend a significant time on the job. Not all timing chains can be replaced without a motor winch. However, most can.

Additionally, the parts and tools needed to replace your timing chain vary considerably depending on your make and model. We will cover the basic steps. It’s up to you to check what tools you need. Here is the list of tools that you may want to prepare for the smoothest process.

  • Adjustment wrench
  • Oil pan
  • Set of brackets and sockets
  • A broken bar
  • Gloves
  • Impact Wrench
  • Harmonic Equalizer (optional)
  • Particular tools for each car brand
  • Replacement Timing Washer
  • New Timing Chain Replacement
  • Timing Tensioner

It is up to you to check the vehicle’s specific requirements and ensure that you have the right tools to deal with issues. If replacing the cam chain, you should replace the tensioner, cam chain, and sprocket. If your car is old, you can also take this time to replace the water pump.

FAQs on Replacing A Timing Chain

Is the timing chain replacement worth doing?

Sometimes it is. Sometimes, you can replace the timing chain for a few hundred dollars. On the other hand, you can still get tags as high as $10,000. In that case, it’s rarely worth getting the job done unless the car is worth much more.

How many hours does it take to replace a timing chain?

On average, it takes at least 4 hours to replace a timing chain. In some cases, you can get away with just one. Elsewhere, it may take several business days. That depends on your engine and its setup.

Can you drive a car with a bad timing chain?

Usually, you can still drive a car with a under-functional timing chain. However, you will lose power, and your motor may not be reliable.

What if the timing chain breaks while driving?

Your engine will misfire and potentially stall if the timing chain breaks while driving. You also won’t be able to restart the vehicle. In this case, you will have to tow the car to the mechanic. Fortunately, this is extremely unlikely. The metal chain rarely breaks unless something blocks the pulley. If you have a timing chain instead of a leash, that’s not the case.

timing chain breaks while driving
Your engine will misfire and potentially stall if the timing chain breaks while driving. (Photo: Viking Motors)


Above is our notice on how much does it cost to replace a timing chain. Overall, replacing your chain is a complicated and time-consuming process. Accessing the time series could mean destroying half of your engine. In addition, you will have to align the engine perfectly to remove the timing chain.

If you do the work yourself, it will probably cost you at least $300 but possibly more. Many mechanics will quote $1,000 for parts and labor together. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to do it yourself, depending on your skills, tools, and motivation.

In the end, if you are super confident in your mechanic knowledge and skill, take one. Otherwise, it’s best to have some professionals do it for you to enjoy comfort and save more time.