What Happens When the Timing Chain Jumps a Tooth?

Written by amy rodriguez
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What Happens When the Timing Chain Jumps a Tooth?
Timing chain alignment is key for engine functionality. (old car image by John Sfondilias from Fotolia.com)

Timing in a vehicle's engine is essential for proper performance. Connected timing components, such as the timing chain, are intricately designed to work in a fast-paced manner, but inaccuracies can occur to affect overall execution.

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Within the car's engine, the timing chain connects the crankshaft to the cam assembly. This timing mechanism controls the opening and closing of the engine valves, allowing air and fuel ratios to mix accordingly for peak engine performance.


If a timing chain jumps a tooth, effectively interrupting the quick timing pace of the engine, the engine will have a rougher time running. In addition, it can also backfire or even stop working all together.


Timing chains that jump a tooth or more should be considered for replacement. Wear or stretching over time can stop the timing chain from functioning correctly, and if it breaks completely, it can damage the valve assemblies within creating a costly engine repair.

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