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Nissan Altima Timing Chain Repair

I have a 1998 Nissan Altima with 154k miles. The car wouldn’t start one day and had a mechanic look at it. He told me the timing chain needs to be replaced. Cost of the repair is $850 and that would include replacing the head gasket.

Is it worth spending the money or should I cut my losses and get rid of the car?

I would get a second opinion. A timing chain should last the life of the engine unless there was poor lubrication or lack of proper oil changes. See another mechanic first.

Two mechanics have looked at the car and said the same thing. It was getting regular oil changes, I’m very good about that.

It’s your call but I don’t think you could replace your vehicle for $850. If the second mechanic agreed with the first one then I would have the timing chain replaced.

Could You Buy A Better Car Than The Repaired 98 Nissan For $850 ?


New head gasket and timing chain for $850 doesn’t sound too bad. A $3,000 engine or transmission would be harder to justify.

You may be able to drive this another 150,000 miles. I’ll bet this car has been pretty inexpensive to own up until now. Fix it, the car has a lot of life left in it.

Please note that these engines are prone to “flooding” and that the symptoms are quite similar to that of a jumped timing chain–a no-start condition with low compression and a rapid cranking speed. There is a revision to ignition timing and idle speed to correct this problem, if in fact fuel flooding is what happened.

If however your mechanic is right and the timing chains (this car has 2) have failed, it’s worth replacing because:

A. Where are you going to find a running car for $850?

B. The price of $850 is low–by several hundred dollars. If this is a reputable shop doing the work for this price and they guarantee the diagnosis and repair, I say do it.