Can you tell a timing chain is the cause of a car not starting by the sound made when you turn the key over?

A mechanic that owns a shop came over and diagnosed the problem as being the timing chain after turning the key over. He seemed confident. 

I recently replaced the starter, battery and spark plugs. Electric all works fine.The day it stopped running it started shaking while I was driving. It turned on and off multiple times and I was able to make it home. It never started after.

7 Answers

  • Dan
    Lv 5
    1 year ago
    Favourite answer

    Yep, that's what he does for a living. It probably turns over really fast and sounds like a sewing machine. Classic low or no compression symptom.

  • 1 year ago

    If you check the ignition timing it will be wrong, after the timing chain slips and changes cam timing. That could make a peculiar kind of misfire you can tell listening to it, when you're very experienced. Why don't you get yourself a cheap OBD2 code scanner and see what it tells you.

  • Lv 7
    1 year ago

    why not start with the least expensive cause possible?  check the battery , cable and their connections, then move to the starter, spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap & rotor then you check the fuel pump and lines and. then you check the timing belt

  • Anonymous
    1 year ago

    Had you mentioned the year & make of the car, it matters.  Usually the timing chain lasts the life of the engine or 100Kmiles or more.(I have had them with 300Kmiles and still running fine.  The timing chain rattled a bit but would have gone to 400 pretty easy.

    More likely it is the fuel pump as they do wear out.  No fuel= no car chitty chitty bang bang. Varoom.  Or the coil.=no spark to ignite the gas=no varoom.

    . or it dropped a valve= no compression in a cylinder, so head job.

    I don't care about his confidence.  He is going for the biggest buck item, which it most likely ain't.

    40+ year mechanic worked on car from the 40's up.   Timing chain is like the LAST thing I would blame.

  • What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
  • Anonymous
    1 year ago

    you replaced the starter which you most likely didnt have to. Now your car wont start.

    Aside from timing, theres 1 more thing that could be your problem and that is your fuel system.  

    Id highly recommend you to make sure the fuel pump is working properly, sending the right pressure, no clogs or leaks anywhere and the injectors are spraying at correct pressure. 

    If the fuel system is good, go ahead and replace the timing chain

  • 1 year ago

    Yes, he may have been able to detect the rattling and thrashing sounds produced by a worn and loose chain.  And the rough running and failure can also point to the valve gear being out of synch, caused by a slack chain.

  • marty
    Lv 7
    1 year ago

    Yes its possible. When a timing chain is worn, it develops slack and becomes loose. When this happens, the engines valves, which are powered indirectly by the timing chain, will no longer run correctly. When the valves begin to run off-sync, the engine will function poorly and cause the vehicle to have a rough idle. A rough idle usually involves shuddering or shaking while the vehicle is in park or the brakes are applied. I would however suggest you get a second opinion. 

Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.