Timing Chain Replacement » Cost · Symptoms · Price List | UK

How much is timing chain replacement in the UK?

How much is timing chain replacement in the UK? When is it time to replace a timing chain? Which warning signs / symptoms indicate a broken timing chain? Plus: The best savings tips and how to get free quotes!

How much does timing chain replacement cost in the UK?

» Average price range: £500 – £1,300

The cost of timing chain replacement for most cars is on average between £500 and £1,300. This is made up of the cost of materials for the timing chain and labour for the replacement. Since changing the timing chain is a relatively complex task, the greater part of the cost of timing chain replacement is the cost of labour. A new timing chain usually costs no more than £180.

Usually several parts such as the sprockets, running rails and chain tensioner have to be removed, which is very time consuming. The labour costs depend on how easily the chain is accessible and the hourly rate of the mechanic. Below is an example of the cost of a timing chain replacement for the Vauxhall Corsa C:

Example: Timing chain replacement cost – Vauxhall Corsa
New timing chain
£85 – £130
Labour cost
£700 – £800
Total cost
£785 – £930
Furthermore, the timing chain change cost can also vary with the Vauxhall Corsa. Depending on the model year, different costs are to be expected, so that price differences may occur between the Vauxhall Corsa models from 2000 to 2006. The figures shown on this page are estimates including VAT, which may of course vary.

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What is a timing chain and why does it break / fail?

The timing chain is an important part of many combustion engines and ensures optimal interaction between the mechanical engine parts. It is located next to the cylinders in the engine, where it is inserted into the gear rims of the camshafts and connects the crankshaft with the two camshafts that control the valves of the engine.

Theoretically, a timing chain is maintenance free and only needs to be replaced when it wears out over time, gets stretched or even snapped. If it is stretched out, the timing chain jumps or snaps if it is not replaced. In the worst case this can lead to an engine breakdown.

Sorted by car models: Cost of timing chain replacement

The amount of time needed for the timing chain repair varies individually according to car model, engine type and surrounding component parts, which has a significant impact on costs. For example, the timing chain replacement cost is between £700 and £1,800 for Mercedes and up to £2,100 or even £2,600 for BMW’s newer models.
Timing chain replacement cost – Sorted by car models
Car model
Price span
Alfa Romeo Giulietta • Alfa Romeo Mito • Chevrolet Spark • Chevrolet Matiz • Fiat 500 • Fiat Panda • Fiat Punto • Ford Fiesta • Ford Ka • Ford Escort • Hyundai i10 • Hyundai i20 • Kia Ceed • Kia Picanto • Kia Rio • Nissan Micra • Vauxhall Corsa • Vauxhall Meriva • Peugeot 206, 207, 208 • Renault Clio • Renault Twingo • Seat Altea • Seat Ibiza • Smart Fortwo • Toyota Corolla • Toyota Auris • Toyota Yaris • VW Fox • VW Lupo • VW Polo
£370– £970
Audi A1, S1 • Audi A3, S3, RS3 • Citroen Berlingo • Citroen C3 • Citroen C4 • Citroen Jumper • Dacia Duster • Dacia Logan • Dacia Sandero • Ford Kuga • Ford Mondeo • Honda Civic • Honda Jazz • Hyundai Tucson • Kia Sportage • Mazda CX 5 • Mercedes A Klasse • Mazda CX 3 • Mini • Nissan Qashqai • Vauxhall Astra • Vauxhall Mokka • Vauxhall Vectra • Vauxhall Zafira • Peugeot 308, 3008 • Renault Kangoo • Renault Megane • Seat Alhambra • Seat Leon • Skoda Fabia • Skoda Octavia • Skoda Roomster • Skoda Superb • Skoda Yeti • Toyota Avensis • Toyota Prius • Volvo V60 • VW Passat • VW Tiguan • VW Golf 4, 5, 6, 7
£680 – £1,100
Audi A4, S4, RS4 • Audi A5, S5, RS5 • Audi A6, S6, RS6 • Audi Q2 • Audi Q5 • BMW X1 • BMW 1er • BMW 2er • BMW 3er • BMW 5er • Fiat Ducato • Ford Focus • Ford Galaxy • Mercedes B Klasse • Mercedes C Klasse • Mercedes E Klasse • Mercedes GLK, GLC • Vauxhall Insignia • Porsche 911 • Rover 75 • Seat Alhambra • VW Caddy • VW Sharan • VW Touran • VW T5
£850 – £2,700+

What makes up the costs for the timing chain replacement?

The costs are made up of the material cost for the timing chain (£85 to £450) and the working time for the replacement (£300 to £1,250). These costs can vary and depend on the car model and the accessibility of the timing chain, as well as the region and the garage. In and around large cities such as London, Birmingham or Manchester, prices may be higher than in rural areas.

Our cost examples are based on calculations that a timing chain is used in original part quality. The ratio of material to labour costs is in most cases around 30:70.
Ratio material-/labour cost: ~ 30/70
Cost of materials::

£85 – £450

The costs for a new timing chain are only a small part of the total costs. Material costs are usually around £85 to £450 and depend on the car model and manufacturer of the replacement part.

Rely on a timing chain in original part quality!

For safety reasons, it is always advisable to use parts in original part quality. Your garage will know which timing chain is suitable for which car model. However, it doesn’t hurt to inquire yourself to make sure that quality branded parts are used. So always rely on original part quality – this increases the lifetime and minimizes the risk of engine breakdowns.

Well-known manufacturers of high-quality timing chains are for example:

Febi Billstein – Japanparts – Metzger – FAI – Daico – Ashika – Swag – Ruville – Nipparts – Herth+Buss – Blueprint – SKF

Labour costs:

£300 – £1,250

The number of working hours required for replacing a timing chain depends on the construction of the engine. Roughly estimated, the time required is between 4 and 8 hours, resulting in labour costs of £300 to £1,250 at an hourly rate of £75 to £155.

Timing chain replacement: What additional costs may arise?

If the timing chain has jumped, often many of the surrounding parts are also affected, so that further car parts have to be replaced. In most cases additional costs are incurred due to the necessary replacement of water pump, chain tensioner, drive belt and thermostat.
Water pump replacement

+ £85 – £320

If necessary, the water pump is also replaced during timing chain replacement, as the water pump is also subject to a mechanical ageing process and wearout and the amount of work is virtually identical for both parts.

If the water pump is not replaced, it often fails shortly after the replacement of the timing chain. The reason for this is often an uneven force impact on the pump. If the water pump then has to be replaced, the double price has to be paid, because all installation steps that were carried out during the timing chain replacement have to be done again.

Depending on the vehicle the price for a new water pump is between £85 and £320.

Chain tensioner replacement

+20 bis 80 €

As the chain tensioner undergoes the occuring swinging of the stretched timing chain, it is also subject to wearout and must therefore be replaced.

In some cases it may be sufficient to replace only the chain tensioner at first, as this can in some cases compensate for a stretched timing chain. Afterwards it should be checked if the noises are still there.

Drive belt replacement

+20 bis 30 €

As part of the timing chain replacement, it is also advisable to replace the drive belt that is also subject to wearout.

Thermostat replacement

+ £10 – £35

The thermostat is also subject to wearout and can be replaced immediately if a repair is necessary due to a broken timing chain.

Warning signs and symptoms of a bad / failing timing chain

As long as the timing chain works, hardly anyone talks about it. However, if it breaks down and is snapped, there is a major problem, as there is a risk that the engine will break down.

It is not possible to say exactly if and when a timing chain is going to snap, which is why an eye should be kept on the status of the timing chain each time you visit the garage. To prevent these snaps from occurring, it is important to detect a worn out or stretched timing chain at an early stage.

Pay attention to the following symptoms, which indicate a stretched timing chain:

» Striking noises emerge from the engine bay after cold start (clicking or knocking noise)

» A metallic rattle can be heard from the engine (the timing chain may produce rattle)

» An active engine indicator light indicates a bad timing chain

» A wearout is visible on the timing chain

If you can hear a metallic rattling from the engine bay, the damage is more advanced and you should take immediate action. If the symptoms of a jumped timing chain are ignored, it can snap. If the timing chain snaps, it is because the lenghtening of the timing chain can only be compensated by the chain tensioners up to a certain point.

An engine damage caused by a jumped timing chain leads to very high follow-up costs. The cost of a jumped timing chain can be £4,000 and more.

Can I drive with a stretched timing chain?

» Go to the garage as soon as possible!

If the timing chain is stretched, there is no serious danger and no reason to panic. When the timing chain is rattling, you can drive the car to the garage yourself. The important thing is that the garage is not too far away. While driving, make sure that the engine runs smoothly and evenly. Avoid jerky driving, especially at the start.
If you don’t want to take any risks with a stretched or broken timing chain, let your car be towed. If however, the timing chain is jumped or snapped, you will not be able to continue driving. Otherwise you might experience an engine breakdown.

Timing chain: When to replace? How long does it last?

» In theory, maintenance free

In contrast to the more cost-effective timing belt, for example, there are no defined change intervals in the timing chain. The timing chain is therefore theoretically maintenance free. There are therefore, no running costs.

However, this should be treated with a certain amount of caution. As already explained, timing chains can be stretched or snapped. With the first symptoms a car garage should be visited to avoid an expensive engine failure.

How long does a car garage need to replace a timing chain?

» On average 4 – 8 Stunden

On average, the timing chain replacement in the car garage takes about 4 – 8 hours. However, this varies according to the car model and experience of the car garage. The main reason for this is how easy or fast the timing chain is accessible.

Especially with newer car models, the individual parts are usually more tightly fitted, which makes replacement more complex. Sometimes more expensive authorised service centres are a bit faster for new or less common cars because of their specific experience. For this reason, they can be cheaper in the end, despite having a higher hourly rate.

4 Tips to reduce your timing chain replacement cost

1. Choosing the right garage

You can choose whether you want to have the timing chain change in an independent car garage or an authorised service centre. Why is this important? The right choice can certainly have an effect on costs.

Authorised service centres are usually more expensive, but due to their specific know-how they can carry out the replacement of some car models more quickly, which reduces the biggest cost factor: the labour cost. This is especially true for newer, more modern cars.

With older vehicles, the independent car garage often scores points in the value for money ratio, as the necessary parts are easier and quicker to access. It is always worth asking in advance about the probable repair time and also to discuss whether and if, any other parts should be replaced.

2. Early timing chain replacement saves a lot of money

If you react immediately to the first symptoms of a stretched timing chain, you can save yourself a lot of money and trouble. Nobody wants to experience expensive engine damage.

3. Agree on a fixed price

From time to time, unforeseen complications can occur which make the timing chain repair take longer than expected. In order to avoid this causing a sharp increase in labour costs, a fixed price should always be agreed if possible.

4. Get free quotes and compare prices in your region!

Even in the same city, prices can vary greatly from garage to garage. To save time and effort and to find the best value for money, it is worth making a price comparison and checking the prices for your region before each visit to a garage. You can also use the free price comparison (all quotes at fixed price) on this page.

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