Timing chain replacement, when?
I have a Nissan Juke, 2013, when does the timing chain need to be replaced?
Timing chains are supposed to last the lifetime of the engine, but that’s never the case most of the time as it depends on the quality of the chain and the maintenance regimen of the owner. They usually do last the lifetime of the engine properly maintained (or at the minimum, 2-300k miles provided it is a quality chain, like in a Toyota) but with poor maintenance they usually start to wear out at the ~100k mile point. That will vary if ANY of the maintenance was delayed or skipped.
However, on these Renault Nissans (1999-present), even proper maintenance doesn’t help most of the time because these are not as good as the 90’s Nissan products and specialty cars like the R35 and 350/70Z. The issue is Renault is not known for quality.
The other thing with Nissan is they almost always use interference engines - which are more powerful, but are prone to head and block damage if the chain/belt breaks, so you need to check the engine with a borescope camera for piston, block and lifter damage if it breaks. Check the engine code to be sure, but Nissan is fully onboard the interference train unless this is the rare exception. If Nissan puts out a TSB, it usually means they use interference engines and they don't want to swap entire engines for free due to negligence.
The 2011-13 MR16DDT Juke has known timing chain issues, so if you want to avoid *any* issues, get it changed at your expense - cheaper to change the chain then the entire engine. However, the VIN will give you a definitive answer if you’re in the US by checking it on the NHTSA website. If the engine has been replaced, there is no way to be sure without just getting it done.
Note: HR16DE engines are not affected. If you hear about the VR38DETT, this is a Nismo engine. Usual rules apply for Nissan speciality quality, except the quality of the chassis. However, most people do not have the Nismo version.
In general, most timing chain engines are interference designs. If the chain breaks this design usually ends up damaging the block and pistons, basically ruining the engine beyond repair. It MUST be replaced when it shows early failure symptoms to protect the engine, especially on interference engines.
Nissan Jukes generally have a turbocharged 1.6 Litter engine that uses a timing . Some of the engines (2011 - 2013) contained a defective timing chain that was covered by a Nissan factory recall. If you call Nissan with your VIN number they will tell you if yours contains the defective chain. Chain replacement for those on the recall will vary depending on maintenance and driving conditions. A Nissan dealership will diagnose the amount of wear on the chain by listening for a pronounced, distinct rattle from the front of the engine. Listen to your engine and don’t take chances. If you hear something weird get it in. If the chain breaks it will destroy the engine.
If it is actually a timing chain and not a belt; then possibly never. Timing chains last many hundreds of thousands of Km's (Miles). They should have an automatic tensioner and slippers that will need to be replaced at certain intervals. If you have your original service book it will tell you when to change the timing chain/belt.
Update: on the 2011-13 year models there is a recall for timing chains, for a free fix. Due to a faulty component. Book your vehicle in to a dealership and ask them to check it for all recall campaigns. If any are required they should be fixed free by a dealer.
Check with the dealer to see if your VIN# was under the recall program and if it was replaced then? Is there a problem with it making a “rattling “ noise now?
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