A timing chain links the crankshaft to the camshaft and – when it’s properly tensioned – makes sure the valves and pistons operate in sync rather than butting up together like some terrible mosh-pit. Like all things in an engine it will eventually require some maintenance but you should have at least 120,000 miles before you really have to worry about it.
That is, unless you drive a 2006-2016 Audi (or Volkswagen) with a 2.0L gas engine.
Update: There may be a settlement on the way for owners of 2008-2014 Audi vehicles. Read on for more details.
Class-Action Lawsuits Combined
Volkswagen / Audi have been hit with multiple lawsuits from frustrated owners who say their timing chains are causing engine failure well before 120,000 miles. The automaker has taken to blaming consumers for the issue on the grounds of poor maintenance.
It has been alleged that in late 2012, a production change was implemented to remedy the defect but Volkswagen and Audi failed to inform consumers of the production change.
McCuneWright, LLP filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court on behalf of consumers who who 2006-2016 VWs and Audis with 2.0L gas engines. The lawsuit alleges what you might expect – that the timing chain tensioner is defective and eventually fails. Once that happens the engine is toast, and it’s not the consumer’s fault.
Settlements on the Way (Pending Approval)
In May of 2018, Volkswagen agreed to settle 7 class action lawsuits in one combined action.
There are multiple levels of reimbursement, based on the age of the vehicle, how many miles it has, what (if anything) has been replaced, and where the work was done. CarComplaints.com has more details including how much owners can expect in reimbursement.
The settlement must be finalized by a judge. The proposal includes all owners or lessees of the 2008-2014 Audi and VW vehicles, to be verified by the vehicle’s VIN.