Broke timing chain=scrap time?

We own Saturn vue with timing belt motor. I read lots of tech stories of timing chain motors failing due to chain tensioner issues. Most fixes involve replacing motor or doing major work on head and praying Pistons/rods are ok. I found a 07 optima with 4 cyl and broke timing chain. Seller wants $700. Car has 90k miles and is nice. What is the typical repair here? Rebuilt head? New chain/tensioners of course. I just don’t feel like buying a $1500 used motor.

Unless you have the skills, facility, and knowledge to do the work yourself AND can afford to risk losing your money, buying any car that you can’t start is foolish. You have no idea what you’re facing. Even if you get the motor started you’re likely to run into surprises… perhaps brakes, perhaps steering rack, who knows.

A big +1 for mountainbike.


The car will likely need an entire engine. Normally a broken chain might be a repairable offense but a broken chain at 90k miles tells me the owner seldom, if ever, changed the engine oil.
The main reason for broken chains is just that; no oil changes, sludging, and it’s gone. This means the entire engine is at or near the end and not worth a chain set.

Personally I think a low miles, clean '07 for only 700 bucks is a deal even needing another engine.
Seeing as how you don’t even want to spend 1500 bucks I suppose you should pass on it.

The Kia sites say congrats on hitting 90k. Seems many consider them disposable cars. U hit 100k, ur lucky. What would you shop owners tell the owner? Spend 3k on motor and u still have a pos.

$700 seems a little pricey for a Kia 07 w/90K in this condition. Closer to free seems like amore fair deal, maybe $250 -$350 if you are feeling generous. Very few folks are going to be willing to buy this car, so there’s not much chance of getting overbid. If the seller can get $350, I’ll bet they’d take it and be happy to get it out of their driveway, in my opinion anyway.

If you live in a state that requires emissions testing, that further complicates matters. Check w/the local DMV to make sure it is even possible to buy this car in a non-running state and still get clear title.

My guess is there’s probably lower engine problems too from this accident. Pistons, cylinder walls, etc. Pretty much anything can of course be repaired. But you really have to low-ball the price on a car like this for a deal to make sense to take on the risk involved.

On the other hand, if you’d like a chance to take an engine apart, and be compensated a little for your effort, plus realize the opportunity for an upside – little to no engine damage upon inspection —this could be that chance.

A timing chain breaking at 90000 is highly unusual. It is not unusual for timing belts. 2007 was the first year for a timing chain for the Optima. My son had a 2007 Hyundai Sonata- same car and engine as the Optima and he liked it so much he bought it when the lease was up and when he decided to buy a 2014 he sold it to his daughter. Of course he changes his oil every 3000 miles. If I was 10 years younger I would buy it and put a motor in it but I am getting to the point that I now have more money than energy. I still like to do my own repairs but I no longer go looking for cars that need repair.

The OP asks about buying a KIA with who knows how many problems and then comes back a refers to Kia’s as a POS. Spock says that is not logical

One should always take car complaints with a grain, or many grains, of salt. Too many people abuse a vehicle and then blame the car when it goes belly-up prematurely.

Tell those people the engine died because they never changed the oil, never checked the oil level, drove it 20 miles with the temp gauge pegged out, or a 100 miles with the CEL blinking like carnival lights and the majority will get offended with what they’re being told.

OK4450, there’s a reason most of the people you tell that to will get offended. It’s because you’ll rarely if see the ones who change the oil, maintain the cooling system, and react to the CEL. For those that you do end up telling this too, you’ve “caught them with their pants down”.

don’t know Kia chain issues. Was it a fluke chain break? Poor quality? Did guides wear and chain grind into metal brackets? Is motor full of metal debris? At motor replace time u debate cars future. We had new 07 sonata. It was fine.

90,000 miles is extremely young for the chain on any engine. I think OK4450 “nailed” it. Consider the busted chain a big clue rather than a failure. Chances are that this vehicle has been severely neglected.

Owner bought it at auction. He exports them to Africa. He has 05 sonata with broken timing belt. Apparently his export business is slowing down so he is trying to sell both local.

$700 is the asking price. The seller may be willing to take half that if they have it long enough. If the seller has been trying to god rid of the car for more than 2 months, it might be a good time to a discuss deep discount to take it off his hands.