Car Problem Reports

Chevrolet Cobalt Broken Timing Chain

Chevrolet Cobalt Problem
10 Reports
Me Too

Model Years Affected: 2007, 2008

Average Mileage: 93,500 mi (23,000 mi - 138,000 mi)

  •  Enthusiast

    Just a little information on the Cobalt 2.2 Ecotec. The Cobalt has 46k on it and no mods, just stock. Normally it runs and starts like a champ.

    I went to the store last night and when I came out I had a hard time starting it. The SES light came on and it ran a little rough with a slight ticking noise. Made it home and thought I would disconnect the battery and clear the codes from the computer. Started it up again and the ticking got a little louder, then the SES light came on again.

    I thought it might be a simple sensor issue so I brought it up to the local parts store to run a code check on it. It ran fairly good to the first parts store, but when I got there they didn't have anyone available to check the codes. There was another parts store across the street, so i started it up and it started ticking louder than I've ever heard a car tick before. Made it across the street and shut it off. They ran a check on it and it threw codes p0016 and p0326. p0016 is cam and crank timing not aligned and p0326 was the anti knock sensor. They couldn't help me so I went out to reluctantly start the car and it wouldn't start, only turn over.

    Called a tow truck to haul it to my house for the night. The next morning I phoned the local Chevy dealer to get it in for service. Described what had happened, so they knew where to begin.

    Just got a call from the dealer. The timing chain had broken and took alot of the motor with it. Said it will be very costly to repair. Lucky mine was still covered by the 5yr./100,000 mile drivetrain warranty. I don't know the extent of the damage yet, but I will post when I find out.

    So if yours starts ticking louder than usual, beware the timing chain my be ready to let loose.

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  • Visitor, , 92,500 mi

    Tensioner on the timing chain went out. Timing slipped and there she goes. Because the 2.2l Ecotec is an interference motor, valves and pistons began pummeling one another. There was a loud tapping noise. Like a responsible owner, I took it to the auto shop the very next day. After $150 dollars worth of diagnostic work, I learn that the engine was only firing on two of four cylinders, that the tensioner had indeed broken, and that it would be cheaper for me to completely replace the motor than it would be for me to repair the valves and pistons that were damaged. This car never even made it to 93000 miles. Now I have a 4,000 pound pile of silver-metallic junk that is worth about 700 bucks.

    There were no signs leading to the failure. I drove to the convenience store late one night, returned and parked the car. The next afternoon, I went to leave the house and the car was terribly difficult to start (for the first time ever). Eventually, I managed to get it running, but that's when the knocking, almost diesel-like, engine noise started. Probably making the problem worse, I drove the car to the shop and left it idling for the techs to hear. When I returned to pick up my car, it will no longer even start. There has been a complete loss of compression.

    The mechanic told me that this is a pretty common problem with this model year, so do yourself a favor and get out from under you Cobalt as soon as you can. I wish that I had.

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  • Visitor, , 138,000 mi

    Timing chain broke while I was driving, I nearly wrecked. After the car was parked it was towed. The machanic said the timing chain had broke and it bent the valves of the motor. I needed to replace the motor, however, this is an extremely pricey repair and I have not repaired yet. I find it unethical and unprofessional that the motor went so soon after the warranty expired.

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  • My problem with my 2007 Chevy Cobalt, 2.2L engine, 124,000 miles, was a noisy timing chain that would quiet up after the engine ran for about 5 seconds. I knew what the problem was, took the car to a local garage and had the timing chain kit installed for $530.00 plus tax. Price included all materials (complete timing chain kit and oil and filter change) and 5.5 hours of labor! This was a priceless fix because if the chain broke or jumped a tooth, I could kiss the engine goodbye. Hopefully I can drive this vehicle another 100,000 miles !

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  • Visitor, , 124,000 mi

    I had a timing chain slip at around 80,000 miles and ended up with bent valves and a bunch of other problems. That repair cost me $700 only because I complained to the shop owner that his main mechanic kept telling me the car would be done one day and never called. I called the day after and he said it would be done that day. Again, no callback. That was a nightmare in itself but I eventually got it back.

    At 104,000 miles the engine failed. I'm not a mechanic nor do I know much about cars in general but I feel like this might have been related to the prior problem. That cost me $1900.

    Fast forward to today, at 124,000 miles and I find out my timing chain jumped again and I need to get the same repair done again. This time it's $1000. I'm upside down on my loan otherwise I would be getting rid of this thing immediately. I plan to fork over the money for this repair and baby the car until I get the loan paid off and this sucker will be gone the very next day.

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  • Visitor, , 73,000 mi

    I took the car in to my mechanic to diagnose the check engine codes get an oil change, plugs, filters etc. Car was running but would go into limp mode after a short time. I figured it was a sensor issue(as did the mechanic) He swapped out sensors and the check engine light stayed on. He figured that since it wasn't going to be a simple diagnosis, he would tow it to the dealership and they could honor the warrantee. Car was towed to dealership 10 days before the 5 year drivetrain expired. Apparently the timing chain had jumped and they would not honor the warrantee because I did not have it serviced at a GM authorized garage. Engine was shot and I am now out the cost of a new engine. I will never buy GM again. I have had 3 GM products in the past 20 years and have nothing but issues with them. I miss my 93 Toyota with 280,000 miles on it when I sold it to buy my first GM Blazer(blown engine, rear end, fuel sending unit, computer issues, window motors, wiper motors god it was something every week) Traded that for my Cobalt because I got a friends and family discount(not friends with him anymore BTW). I Sadly also have an 05 Equinox(blown engine, NO AWD, entire front end replaced, electrical issues and just two days ago a grinding sound in the driver's side front end. Only thing not replaced is CV joints so I guess that's coming next)

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  • Visitor, , 98,000 mi

    broken timing chain tensioner

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  • Visitor, , 135,000 mi

    I had drove my car to work and when I tried to leave work got in the car it started and made a loud noise almost like there was a hole in the exhaust. Had it towed to mechanic and 1500 dollars later the car was running again. Had the head rebuilt and new timing chain and gears put on it. Well I have had the car back for about 2 months now and guess what it has done it again. Does anyone know why it would do it again.

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  •  Rookie

    Was driving my 2007 Chevy cobalt on I4. After accelerating to merge into traffic the car starts running rough. After speaking with a few mechanics who have worked on many Chevrolets and have seen similar issues with cobalts, they advised me that it sounded like the timing chain was missing a notch (had broken) and may had caused other parts of the motor to break as well. Which would be a costly and time consuming fix. I bought this car brand new and it has been an awful 7 years. Every time I turn around this car has a new and expensive issue. I am very disappointed in GM.

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  • Visitor, , 112,000 mi

    My 07 cobalt was fine. Ran errands all day. At the last stop, it wouldn't start. Just a clicking sound. Ended up $2000 replacement of the engine because the timing chain jumped and destroyed the engine. I am not in the position to purchase a new vehicle, so got a engine put in with 85,000 miles on it. Within a week, it did the same thing. But, was able to start after sitting for several minutes. Was fine for several weeks. Now it is doing it about 6/10 times I try to start it. It is going back to the garage this week. Thank goodness there is a warranty on the engine.

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