Any time your dependable car starts to develop a minute difference in its performance, it’s an immediate concern. Ideally, a trained mechanic should be contacted when you have an issue with your vehicle that needs to be repaired, but first, it helps to have an idea of exactly what is wrong.
So, your car is acting odd, and after doing some Googling, you’ve decided that the reason might be the timing chain. Before you start ordering parts or panicking, let’s look at the main symptoms that match with your diagnosis.
Glowing on your dashboard next to your speedometer is that dreaded check engine light. You might have been ignoring it for a couple weeks, hoping it’d go away. Unfortunately, it probably won’t, at least not on its own. However, you can head over to your local auto parts store and they can normally run a quick diagnostic on your trusted car to tell you what triggered the light. It’s the first step towards getting your transportation repaired.
Has the purr of the engine turned into more of a growl or a gritty grumble? Called the Death Rattle, this is one of the more serious signs that the life of the current timing chain is coming to an end. If your engine has started to make any unusual sounds, you should immediately be calling to see when you can have someone look at your car.
The press of the gas pedal isn’t gaining the same response it used to, and it feels like your car is fighting to surge ahead. Going uphill is a dreaded endeavor, as you can tell that something isn’t right. The engine isn’t putting out the power required to pull the car, and this will stress the system endlessly.
That horrible cough isn’t from a cold. When the engine starts to buck and protest, it’s a strong warning that it should be checked out sooner rather than later. You’ve probably been putting off fixing anything up until this point, but you’re running a risk of having to find a ride home from the side of the road if you ignore the engine backfiring.
Routine maintenance always helps prevent unexpected incidents on the road, but how often should you schedule an appointment? After accumulating 10,000 miles, or once a year, you should have your vehicle checked out to keep track of the wear and tear it’s gone through. In Minis that were manufactured between 2007 and 2011, reports show that the timing chain can break around 30,000 to 50,000 miles, so it’s crucial to keep track of the current condition it’s in.
Then again, a reasonable solution may be to replace the timing chain tensioner, as that tends to be the part that is responsible for the entire chain needing to be replaced. Instead of shelling out cash to fix the whole system, and any other damage that has occurred to the engine once the chain bites the dust, it would be a much safer move to proactively change out the tensioner before an issue arises.
Another issue that seems to add to the risk of the failure of the timing chain is owners not reliably changing their oil when they should. The Mini should have its oil change performed every 5,000 to 7,000 miles, but some hold off for 15,000 miles. This decreases the life of the engine and increases the risk of mechanical errors. The cost of an automotive service and new parts in one chunk is much more painful than the price of an oil change several times a year.
St. Matthews Import offers reliable service and maintenance, and is conveniently located in Louisville, KY. We’ve been in business since 1969, and are still going strong. When it is time to get your Mini serviced, hopefully before it needs to be towed, our Hubbards Lane location for automotive service and repair is easy to access, right off of I-264. Open 5 days a week, from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM, we’re equipped with a large shop that has plenty of bays available to service customers and get your Mini back on the road as soon as possible.
* Red Mini Cooper on Road image credit goes to: ~Userc62c9d2b_968.