Over the years, Audis have used both timing belts and chains. If you have an Audi that is 2005 or later, you more than likely have a timing chain. It’s important to understand a bit about the difference between a timing belt and a timing chain in an Audi. But, even more importantly, you should know the symptoms of a failing timing chain and what to do if you experience any of those symptoms. A bad timing chain can have catastrophic consequences for your engine and result in a very costly engine repair. If you think your Audi’s timing chain is in trouble, contact us at Triangle Imports immediately. A damaged engine in an expensive car is going to be an expensive fix. So, read further to learn more about timing chains and to understand the symptoms to watch for when your Audi’s timing chain needs to be replaced.

Timing Belt vs. Timing Chain

For an internal combustion engine to operate properly, it must exhibit exact, mechanical engine timing. More specifically, the crankshafts and camshafts must rotate in concert with one another. In 2005, Audi began to gradually move from timing belts to timing chains. Although heavier and somewhat louder than belts, chains are more durable. One of the main reasons chains have replaced belts in high-displacement engines is their longevity.

Most technicians suggest you replace your timing belt every 75,000 miles or five years; however, timing chains have the potential to last the  lifetime of a vehicle. To find out if the model and year of your Audi uses a belt or chain, contact a Triangle Imports certified Audi technician. Also, if your Audi has a timing belt, read our blog on Audi timing belt replacements for more information.

A Loose Timing Chain Spells Big Trouble

The maintenance schedules for the timing chain in an Audi state that one can easily go 120,000 miles without any problems. However, service technicians are seeing Audi timing chains fail much sooner. For an internal combustion engine to operate properly, it must exhibit exact, mechanical engine timing. More specifically, the crankshafts and camshafts must rotate in concert with one another. Timing chains are the critical link between the crankshaft and camshaft.

Tensioners make sure the chain is tightly wound to the pulleys and gears. If the tensioner fails and the chain becomes loose, the timing of the engine is thrown off. And, if the timing chain becomes loose, you can get ready for serious and costly problems. If the timing chain breaks or jumps while you are driving the car, the pistons will be damaged from contact with the valves, the valves will bend, and potentially ruin the engine.


Symptoms of a Loose Timing Chain

If a loose timing chain isn’t addressed immediately, it can break and cause catastrophic damage to the engine, so you should know the symptoms.

Engine Misfires and Trouble Starting the Engine

When a timing chain is loose or stretched, you might experience misfires while driving because the timing between the valves and pistons is out of sync, which affects the combustion in the engine. A stretched chain can skip a gear on the cam or crankshaft so that the engine’s timing falls out of calibration. This causes the misfire. A loose timing chain can also cause you to have trouble starting the engine because the combustion of the engine is compromised.

Rattle in the Engine During Startup or Idling

A normal engine has a consistent and smooth sound that means everything is running well. When you hear a rattle or unusual sound, it means that there is a problem with the engine. When the timing chain is loose, it can cause a vibration in the motor resulting in a rattling noise as the engine idles or when starting. If you hear a rattle, it means something is loose and needs to be fixed before it breaks.

Metal Shavings in the Oil

If your timing chain is wearing out, small metal pieces can break off the chain and show up in the oil pan. When you have your oil changed, if the mechanic alerts you to small pieces of metal inside the oil as it is drained or in the filter, it can mean that your timing chain is beginning to fail. Note, however, that there are other problems that can cause metal shavings to be in the oil. If you find out that metal is in the oil, contact our technicians at Triangle Imports for inspection, accurate diagnosis, and appropriate repair as soon as possible.

Call Our Audi Repair Techs Immediately

If your Audi experiences any of these symptoms, call Triangle Imports immediately before you have a catastrophic engine failure. We are experienced at diagnosing and repairing serious problems like timing chain failures. To make your appointment, call us at (919) 439-1591 or fill out our online contact form.