The Ultimate Guide to Understanding and Preventing Chain Slap in Your Subaru Car

If you own a Subaru car, you may have heard the term "chain slap" being thrown around. Chain slap can be a serious issue that can cause damage to your vehicle if not addressed properly. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about chain slap, including its definition, causes, effects, and how to prevent and fix it.

What is Chain Slap?

Chain slap is a condition that occurs when the timing chain in your car’s engine becomes loose and hits the guide rails and the chain tensioner. When this happens, the chain causes a slapping noise that can be heard from under the hood. Chain slap is a common issue in Subaru cars due to their use of timing chains instead of timing belts.

Causes of Chain Slap

Chain slap in Subaru cars can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Lack of maintenance: If you fail to maintain your car on a regular basis, the timing chain can become worn or damaged, leading to chain slap.

  • Low oil pressure: If the oil pressure in your engine is low, the timing chain may not receive adequate lubrication, causing it to become loose and create chain slap.

  • Faulty chain tensioner: The chain tensioner helps to keep the timing chain tight. If it becomes defective, the timing chain may become loose, resulting in chain slap.

  • Engine overheating: When your engine overheats, it can cause the timing chain to stretch and become loose, leading to chain slap.

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Effects of Chain Slap on Your Car

If chain slap is left unaddressed, it can cause serious damage to your car. The slap of the timing chain can damage the guide rails and the chain tensioner, which can then lead to increased wear and tear on the engine. In extreme cases, chain slap can cause the timing chain to break, resulting in catastrophic engine failure.

Preventing Chain Slap

The best way to prevent chain slap in your Subaru car is to ensure that you maintain your vehicle on a regular basis. This includes regular oil changes, inspecting the timing chain for wear and tear, and replacing components such as the chain tensioner if necessary. Additionally, avoiding overheating your engine and maintaining proper oil pressure can also help to prevent chain slap.

Fixing Chain Slap

If you suspect that your Subaru car is experiencing chain slap, it’s essential to fix the issue as soon as possible to prevent further engine damage. There are a few things you can do to fix chain slap, including replacing the timing chain and chain tensioner and making any necessary repairs to the guide rails. It’s essential to seek professional help to diagnose and fix chain slap, as the issue can be complex and require specialized tools and knowledge.


Q: What is the difference between a timing chain and a timing belt?

A: A timing chain is a metal chain that connects the camshaft to the crankshaft in an engine. A timing belt is a rubber belt that performs the same function but needs to be replaced at regular intervals.

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Q: How often should I check my timing chain for wear and tear?

A: It’s recommended to inspect your timing chain for wear and tear every 60,000 to 100,000 miles.

Q: Can chain slap occur in cars with timing belts?

A: While chain slap is more common in cars with timing chains, it can occur in cars with timing belts if the belt becomes worn or damaged.

In conclusion, chain slap can be a serious issue that can lead to engine damage if not addressed promptly. Ensuring that you maintain your Subaru car regularly and take preventative measures can help to avoid chain slap. If you suspect that your vehicle may be experiencing chain slap, seeking professional help is recommended. By taking the necessary steps, you can keep your Subaru car running smoothly and avoid costly engine repairs.

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Joseph Weaver

With a background in engineering and a passion for cars, Joseph brings a unique perspective to our blog. He's particularly interested in the technology and innovation behind Subaru's advanced safety features, and his articles on this topic are always insightful and informative. When he's not writing, he enjoys playing video games and spending time with his family.

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