The Average Cost for a BMW 328i Timing Chain Tensioner Replacement Is Between $1,624 and $1,879 Depending on if You Go to the Mechanic or DIY
This price range is based on national averages for all vehicles and does not factor in taxes, fees, or your particular make and model. For a more accurate estimate based on your make, model, and location, use the RepairPal Fair Price Estimator.
Get a more accurate estimate for your BMW timing chain replacement cost using RepairPal’s Fair Price Estimator:
Cost at the Mechanic: $1,624 to $1,879
Parts: $667 to $672
Labor: $957 to $1,207
This is a pretty intensive maintenance/repair task that can take a mechanic several hours to complete. Your BMW timing chain should be replaced every 100,000 miles to keep your car healthy. This engine component is designed to last, but it is subject to wear and tear over time and use like any other component.
Cost to DIY: $667 to $672
- Difficulty Level: Advanced
- Parts Needed:
In addition to these parts, you may also need several BMW kits — including a timing kit — to make sure you have everything you need to take on this job. Because of the complexity of replacing a BMW timing chain, it’s recommended that unless you’re an advanced-level DIYer, you should leave this task to the professionals. Even if you are confident enough to take on the job yourself, you may end up spending more on repairs if you accidently set the timing incorrectly.
The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to choose a dealership service center to replace your BMW’s timing chain as there are qualified ASE-certified independent repair shops that can tackle this job including a large number of shops specializing in German makes. If you do decide to take on your BMW timing chain replacement yourself, keep a repair guide and owner’s manual nearby to make sure you’re properly replacing it.
What Is a BMW Timing Chain?
Your BMW’s timing chain is a metal chain that connects the camshaft and crankshaft together to keep the engine in perfect time; timing belts perform the same job but they are made of rubber instead of metal. Without a working timing chain, the engine’s intake and exhaust valves won’t open or close at the proper time. If they don’t open and close at the right time, the BMW’s engine can’t get the fuel and air it needs when it needs them.
What Does a BMW Timing Chain Replacement Include?
To replace your BMW timing chain, a mechanic will likely clean the engine with a degreaser. The mechanic will analyze the engine’s firing order and disconnect the battery. The coolant will be drained and most of the front part of the engine will be disassembled including the timing chain cover. The mechanic will carefully replace the chain ensuring that all of the gears on the camshaft(s) and crankshaft are perfectly aligned, and applicable seals and gaskets will be replaced before the engine is reassembled and fluids are changed/topped off.
The many tasks required to replace a BMW timing chain make this a pretty long visit to the mechanic. You can expect to have your vehicle in the shop for at least five to eight hours. Other components of your BMW may also be replaced while so many things are disconnected or removed including the serpentine belt and water pump.
What Happens If You Don’t Replace Your BMW Timing Chain
If you don’t replace your BMW timing chain when it needs to be changed, you may start to notice a whirring noise coming from the front of the engine as the chain begins to wear. However, the real danger of old BMW timing chains comes from the chain failing. Eventually, your BMW’s timing chain can fail and your model won’t run anymore. The engine’s valves may come into contact with its pistons, which will leave you with a much higher repair bill or a totaled vehicle. Replacing the timing chain should be preventative maintenance that is performed before the chain begins to show any signs that it needs to be replaced.
How Often to Replace Your BMW Timing Chain
BMW timing chains are designed to last, but they won’t last forever. Some BMW timing chains are designed to last 100,000 miles. However, other BMW models might need their timing chains replaced more frequently. Consult your owner’s manual to see what BMW recommends for timing chain replacement on your specific year, make, and model.
Common Symptoms You Need to Replace Your BMW Timing Chain
If you notice any of the symptoms below, you might have a timing chain problem on your hands. As soon as you notice one of these symptoms, try to get your BMW serviced as soon as possible to avoid damaging it further.
- Rattling or whirring noises coming from the engine
- Check engine light is on
- Oil leaks
- Low oil pressure
- Engine stalling, hesitating, and/or misfiring
- Inability to run your engine
More often than not, the strange noises coming from under the hood are the first clear indication that your BMW’s timing chain might be starting to wear out. A broken timing chain will have the engine crank over with an odd sound that is most likely accompanied with the clanking and rattling of metal making contact with other metal inside the engine.
Related Maintenance Services
The following services are commonly performed with BMW timing chain replacements:
- Serpentine belt replacement
- Battery replacement
- Water pump replacement
- Timing chain tensioner replacement
- Coolant change/flush
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