The INA chain drive - Does the chain last the life of the car?


More chain in the engine

The market share of engines with timing has increased significantly. Currently, the ratio is about 85:15, but by 2030, the chain will gain dominance with about 95 percent. 

In internal combustion engines, it is a question of philosophy whether a chain or a timing belt is used in the timing drive. What automakers choose depends on several factors: As the trend is towards ever smaller installation spaces, chains score points because they allow them to be made narrower than belts. Chains can also transfer higher forces. Camshaft adjusters also benefit from the chain drive, as they are easier to combine with a chain.
Does the chain last a car life?

The chain drive in modern internal combustion engines is designed for the life of a vehicle. In practice, there is always a different picture. Because they too are subject to age-related and usage-dependent wear. Frequently, non-compliant oil change intervals or the use of low-grade oil are the cause. But also, the vehicle owner or driver has an influence on the service life of the chain drive: If the engine constantly demands maximum power in cold conditions for short distances, this promotes wear. Fine soot particles in the oil act like sandpaper and wear the chain much faster. An elongation of the chain are the consequences.

First signs of damage in the chain drive are usually rattling noises from the engine. If the chain is already very long, a loss of power or jerking of the vehicle is noticeable. Due to the elongated timing chain, the timing of the engine no longer match. In addition, the tooth flanks of the gears no longer engage properly in the chain and the flanks wear out more. However, a flashing engine check lamp and the set error code entries draw the car expert only indirectly to the timing chain as the actual cause. Therefore, checking the engine timing before a repair has top priority.