Why A Rattling Sound Is A Sign Of Serious Engine Trouble

18 June 2015
 Categories: Automotive, Blog


If you hear a rattling noise every time you start your car, it is time to take it to a repair shop. It really doesn't matter whether the noise stops immediately after. This noise is a common sign of a worn timing chain, and if you don't get it fixed as soon as possible, your car will end up with a damaged engine.

The role of timing chains

Timing chains play an important role in vehicle engines. They help to ensure that an engine's camshaft and its crankshaft are in sync. Therefore, if there are any defects in your car's timing chain, you have a lot to worry about.

Timing chains wear out

Timing chains wear out because of friction. This is something that usually happens with time – although by the time this happens, your car will have clocked significant mileage. However, if there is poor lubrication, the rate at which a timing chain wears out can be accelerated. This usually happens if a car owner uses oil that has the wrong viscosity. It can also happen if you forget to change your car's oil as regularly as the manufacturer recommends.

Worn timing chains are longer

When timing chains wear out, they become longer. This happens because of the effect that friction has on the holes and pins that hold the chain's metal links together. It wears them out, causing them to be more susceptible to stretching.

The problem with elongated timing chains

The extra length on a timing chain usually makes it to be more susceptible to slipping off. It also leads to imperfect rotation of the chain, something that usually causes it to rub against the chain's cover - this is the reason why the rattling sound is an early sign of a faulty timing chain.

But the main problem that a loose timing chain presents has to do with the effect it has on the synchronization between the camshaft and the crankshaft. It usually messes it up. This means that the opening and closing of the engine's valves no longer varies depending on the positions of the engine's pistons. This is a disaster that will have a significant effect on the performance of your car. And if this problem is left to persist, it usually leads to engine damage.

Take your car to a repair shop as soon as possible

A rattling engine sound is an early sign of a problem that only gets worse with time. It starts off with the elongated timing chain hitting its cover, but this continued striking can puncture the cover. It can cause an oil leak. In some cases, it can result in the accumulation of debris in your car's engine. And if you still ignore this problem, then your engine will shut down. It is therefore advisable that you take your car to a repair shop, like Covey's Auto, as soon as you notice any strange sounds coming from your engine.