If you are going to love and drive the car that you’ve paid for, be sure your timing chain does not look like the example in the video. This timing chain is from a 1986 Mercedes Benz 300 diesel that my shop restored eleven years ago. The new owner had brought her in, having just purchased the vehicle. What a small world!
I knew her in an instant, as I had personally picked out the leather pumpkin-colored seats. The seats, oddly enough, still looked new. The rest of the car was in bad shape. She had been sold many times over and had not been cared for well.
Unfortunately, she was about to take her last breath. In the video, you can see that I am holding the timing chain, which is much like the human heart. I sent this video to the owner of the car to explain why I wouldn’t start his car until he came by himself or approved the replacement of the timing chain.
If he didn’t replace the chain immediately, it would break, which is like a human having a heart attack. Sudden death or a lot of preventable engine damage would occur.
Some cars have timing chains; others have timing belts. Educate yourself so you know which one you have. And don’t wait until the timing chain breaks to have it inspected—your owners manual should contain the factory recommended times. Inspections will help you avoid timing chain failure, which is the most important and often most overlooked preventable demise of cars over a certain age and mileage.
Make sure to discuss whether or not to use factory parts—they may cost a bit more, but they are worth it in the long run if you plan on keeping your car for a while.