I brought my '97 Saturn SC2 (102K mi.) in when I noticed a grinding/rattling engine noise. This car has been well maintained, gently used, and almost completely trouble free (knock on wood). My mechanic said my timing chain (Saturns have a metal chain) has just slightly stretched a bit over time, and unless I had money to waste at the moment, not to worry. Because he's never seen one break, and it?s not really harming anything by operating as is. He said if it starts to sound like a typewriter, come back. Which of course I began to suspect out of paranoia the very next day (hmm, would that be classified as typwriter-ish?!?!)
Regardless, I?m confident in my mechanics diagnosis, but I?m not sure I should just add this noise to the acceptable symphony of charming hums and rattles that are part of a 12-year-old Saturn. Internet chat boards are riddled with stories of stretched chains causing damage to valves, etc. when left unattended to, and chains breaking, causing thousands of dollars of damage to the engine. As I?m currently unemployed I?d like to believe I could put this expense off, but I certainly can?t afford extensive repairs and or an accident on the road that could have been prevented. Help!?! I need a second+ opinion.