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Can a Bad Timing Chain Cause Oil Consumption?


Every day brings a new set of issues for vehicle owners. But can a bad timing chain cause oil consumption? The short answer for this query is:

No, it doesn’t affect oil consumption. Moreover, a faulty timing chain will rarely influence the vehicle’s oil pressure unless the oil pump is chain driven (and if it is, it is nearly usually a separate chain). And the chain itself is in relatively poor condition. Many times, broken out parts is the cause of oil consumption.

However, there are several problems with oil consumption in today’s engines: including leaks caused by improper engine ventilation or sealing. 

We’re using a lot less oil now since the engines we’re working on aren’t based on our father’s Oldsmobile design. Average oil consumption has been down considerably in the recent 6 to 12 years.

Let’s learn more about oil consumption and the bad timing chain.

What Is A Timing Chain?

A timing chain or timing belt is an essential part of an internal combustion engine, without which effective vehicle functioning is impossible. 


An engine’s timing chain consists of a series of metal links that travel along with gears, allowing the crank and camshaft to be rotated in tandem with the firing pistons.

Because it is located inside the engine, the timing chain relies on engine oil to keep it lubricated and in good working order. Due to the fact that timing chains are made of metal, they are susceptible to wear and tear, loosening, or even breaking.

What Is Excessive Oil Consumption?

A higher-than-acceptable level of oil consumption is considered excessive oil use under normal operating circumstances (ROS). You don’t have to worry about oil consumption because each engine has a natural and reasonable level of consumption.

Excess consumption should be handled if it exceeds these limits.

Can A Bad Timing Chain Cause Oil Consumption?

The internal combustion engines timing chain is a vital part. Its primary purpose is to keep the camshaft and crankshaft moving simultaneously. Engine valve timing is much improved as a result of this.

closeup of a camshaft drive chain

As you may have guessed, an engine’s ignition relies on the appropriate combination of air and fuel so that a sufficient amount of electricity is created for the vehicle’s needs.

Breakage of the timing chain would endanger the entire internal combustion cycle

However, can a faulty timing chain lead to an increase in oil usage? No! Oil will not be wasted because of a defective timing chain. 

Excessive oil consumption is typically a mechanical issue under normal working settings. A leaky valve cover gasket, crankshaft seal, or one of the primary seals is frequently the root cause of oil consumption issues in most situations.


A faulty timing chain can be diagnosed by various symptoms, including engine misfires, metal shavings in the oil, and rattling noises coming from the engine while it is idling.

Symptoms of a Timing Chain Failure

When the timing chain gets worn, several signs indicate that it isn’t working correctly. These are some of the signs:

Rattling Sound on Starting Engine:

A frequent symptom of a faulty timing chain is a rattling noise when the engine is started, or the brakes are applied. When the engine is operating, this noise is caused by a rattling and squeaking of the timing chain.

Misfired Engine:

Damage to the timing chain, which controls the opening and shutting of the engine valves, can cause a loss of power. A jerking motion and a decrease in speed are the most obvious symptoms.

Engine Oil Contamination:

Finding metal fragments in the oil is another red flag. A broken timing chain might cause metal fragments to fall into the oil. The owner or a professional must inspect the timing chain if this is discovered.

The problem in Starting Engine:

This is indeed a hint that the timing chain is about to fail. Damage to other engine components might result in the car not starting.

If these warning indications are noticed in time, the timing chain’s imminent breakdown can be averted with competent repair services.

Factors that Affect Your Car’s Normal Oil Consumption

Normal causes of engine oil consumption:


Age of your engine:

Engine oil consumption changes with time. A new engine will consume more oil throughout its break-in phase. See our blog on engine break-in for tips.

After a break-in, an engine uses less oil. Consumption will remain steady. Once the engine’s life cycle ends, oil consumption rises again.


Engine demand increases oil consumption. Heavy loads and harsh circumstances put a strain on an engine.

The more forcefully a machine is worked, the more oil it will consume.


Viscosity affects how much oil your engine consumes naturally. Lighter oils are eaten more. However, changing from 15W-40 to 10W-30 will increase oil usage.

Oil change intervals:

Oil changes reduce extra oil use. When you skip oil changes, oil consumption increases. If you’ve just rebuilt your engine, adjust your oil change intervals. Furthermore, see Hammer & Coop’s other blog posts on diesel engine break-in for additional details.

Worn seals/gaskets:

If your car’s crankshaft seals or valve cover gasket are worn or broken, it may leak oil. Then, your engine will leak oil while driving. To avoid engine damage, you must regularly add oil.

Fix oil-leaking seals and gaskets immediately. It’s usually a cheap method that saves money over time.

Low-Quality Oil:

If you use the wrong oil or if your lubricant is old and dirty, it will burn.

Because of its state, the coil won’t lubricate the engine properly. Moreover, this increases oil consumption.

Immediately change dark brown or black motor oil. DIY is simple—new oil, filter, drain pan, vehicle ramps, wrench, and 20 minutes.

Poor Piston Rings:

Oil can seep through worn or broken piston rings and into the combustion chamber. However, this causes oil to burn, and carbon accumulates on piston rings and cylinders.

Bottom Line

So we hope you will get accurate information regarding “can a bad timing chain cause oil consumption?

However, the bad timing chain will not affect oil consumption. But a bad timing chain should be replaced in a timely manner.

The sooner you find out if your car’s timing chain needs to be replaced, the better. If your engine is damaged due to a broken timing chain, you might be looking at additional expenses.

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