How long can you drive with a bad timing chain?

My mechanic told me it was probably time to replace my car’s timing chain, but I don’t know. How long can you drive with a bad timing chain?

Melanie Mergen · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
How long you can drive with a bad timing chain depends on the severity of the problem. But, if your bad timing chain is on the verge of failing, you might only be able to drive a few more minutes.
Once your bad timing chain fails, you’ll immediately lose the ability to operate the vehicle. The longer you drive with a bad timing chain, the likelier it becomes that it will break.
A properly functioning timing chain is essential to keeping the engine’s cylinders firing at the right times. Driving with a bad timing chain could give you serious engine damage, and it’s also dangerous because it could cause your vehicle to stop suddenly without warning.
A timing chain typically requires replacement anywhere from 40,000 to 150,000 miles.
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Jerry partners with more than 50 insurance companies, but our content is independently researched, written, and fact-checked by our team of editors and agents. We aren’t paid for reviews or other content.

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