Signs of a Bad Timing Chain in Your Mini
15 Sep, 19
Minis are colorful cars with an equally-colorful history. Compact and functional, yet still quite spacious and fun, a Mini is a perfect car no matter your age. However, with time, use, and slipping maintenance standards, even the most perfect car can begin to fail. With this in mind, in this article, we will take a closer look at your Mini’s timing belt, find out what it does, and discuss what the symptoms are when it fails.
What is the timing chain?
Also referred to as a timing belt, the timing chain has been an integral part of any combustion engine since the dawn of motoring. It is located in the front of your vehicle. The timing chain is attached to a set of gears and pulleys which are able to power a variety of mechanical components, such as the camshaft and crankshaft. For your engine to start, the timing chain has to be able to smoothly rotate around the gears without any hesitation.
The timing chain is made of metal, which makes it strong and reliable. However, this does not mean it is invulnerable to failure, as it is a very hard working part. The timing chain can be viewed as similar to a bicycle chain. It has a series of links which move on toothed sprockets that are located at the end of the camshaft and the crankshaft. These sprockets are responsible for opening and closing the valves of the cylinder head, which allows for movement of pistons and connecting rods inside the combustion chamber. This starts the combustion cycle.
Symptoms of a Bad Timing Chain
If you notice any of the symptoms listed below in your Mini, then you should seek diagnostics and repairs from a trusted local mechanic as soon as possible to prevent further damage to you Mini from occurring.
1. Misfiring Engine
Misfires in your engine can occur for many reasons. So if you notice them becoming frequent, you should seek professional guidance, even if your timing chain may not be to blame. A misfire that is caused by the timing chain is known as a mechanical misfire. This occurs when the timing chain becomes loose and skips a gear on the camshaft or the crankshaft. This misaligns the engines calibration, resulting in misfire.
2. Metal Shavings in your Engine Oil
Finding metal shavings in your oil really isn’t a good sign. It will usually point to the failure of your timing chain. When the timing chain begins to wear out, small metal shavings can break off its surface as it moves, travelling through the oil system and into the oil pan. Aside from the timing chain, metal shavings in your oil can be caused by wear to the cylinder head, such as the valves, keepers, and retainers.
3. Rattling Engine Whilst Idling
Any sound aside from a soft purr or rev coming from your engine is a clear sign that something is amiss under the hood. When your Mini develops a loose timing chain, vibrations from it may be heard when idling. These vibrations can be heard as rattle and should be investigated as soon as possible.
When faced with any of the symptoms listed above, even if minor, you should always aim to resolve them as quickly as possible. If you act fast and seek repairs from a quality professional, you are likely to limit the amount of damage done to your car, resulting in repairs which are both quicker and more affordable. For example, if a worn timing chain snaps, it can send pieces of metal throughout your engine, causing severe damage and even critical engine failure. This can result in a very costly and lengthy repair job!
Santa Barbara Autowerks
You and your Mini deserve a specialist auto repair shop you can trust. Santa Barbara Autowerks service those situated in and around Santa Barbara, CA. Our knowledgeable and trustworthy team will be happy to help with all your repair needs. We offer a competitive 2 year/24,000 mile warranty and are able to offer both emergency and scheduled repair and maintenance services. You can rest easy knowing that your Mini is in our safe hands.