Some vehicles, like the Audi S4, are equipped with a timing chain instead of a timing belt. The nice thing about this feature is that the timing chain is designed to last for the vehicle’s lifetime.
However, there are circumstances where you may need a timing chain replacement, so you’ll want to know what kind of repair costs to expect.
The average cost to replace the timing chain in an Audi S4 is around $3,750. However, the cost can range anywhere from $1,100 to $5,000.
Certain year’s models are more expensive than others because of the time and labor involved to access the timing chain.
Factors Impacting the Cost to Replace an Audi S4 Timing Chain
The price to replace the timing chain in your Audi S4 may vary significantly based on your specific vehicle, where you take it for the work and your geographic location.
If other related vehicle components are damaged or worn out, they’ll also need to be replaced, which will increase your total price for the job.
Replacement Cost for Audi S4 Timing Chain
|Minimum Cost||$1,100 - $1,800|
|Maximum Cost||$4,500 - $5,000|
|Average Cost||$2,500 - $3,750|
For example, one owner with a 2012 S4 was quoted $2,200 – $2,500 to replace the timing chain. However, a 2014 S4 was in the $3,025 – $3,700 range. The big variations in price are primarily based on the different vehicle year models. The amount of labor associated with the job can vary drastically from one year’s Audi S4 to the next.
For a 2010 model, one garage quoted a low-end price of $1,191 and a high-end price of $1,350.
The engine size also has an impact on the price. An Audi S4 with a V4 engine is typically a little less expensive compared to a model with a V8 engine.
The B6 or B7 generation S4, or any S4 with the 4.2L V8 engine, will have the most expensive cost to replace the timing chain. The reason is because the timing chain is located behind the engine, next to the vehicle’s firewall.
In order to access the components, the entire engine has to be removed from the vehicle. It’s a very long, involved, and labor-intensive job with a price tag to match. These are the vehicles that may run in the $4,000 – $5,000 range.
Let’s take a look at some example costs for some specific vehicles to help you get a better idea of what to expect.
Timing Chain Replacement Sample Cost
|Vehicle Year||Engine Specs||Sample Repair Cost|
|2014||3.0L V6||$3,000 - $3,690|
|2018||3.0L V6||$2,980 - $3,650|
|2008||4.2L V8||$3,000 - $3,725|
|2016||3.0L V6 Supercharged||$3,100 - $3,795|
|2007||4.2L V8||$3,230 - $3,950|
|2006||4.2L V8||$4,100 - $5,025|
|2014||3.0L V6||$4,050 - $4,960|
|2019||3.0L V6||$4,050 - $4,960|
|2005||4.2L V8||$3,800 - $4,660|
Parts Cost for an Audi S4 Timing Chain
For many Audi S4 models, the bulk of the cost to replace the timing chain is due to labor. However, the parts can also be a large chunk of the price.
The parts cost for this repair depends on the specific vehicle. There are also more parts than just the timing chain itself that you’ll need for the job.
It’s also recommended that you replace the cam chain tensioner gaskets, timing cover gaskets, and other valve gaskets at the same time. Let’s take a look at the parts cost for a full timing chain replacement kit for some different year models of the Audi S4.
|Audi S4 Specifications||Timing Chain Parts Cost Estimate|
|2005 (Avant, 4.2L V8, 6-speed automatic)||$1,075 - $1,100|
|2006 (Cabriolet, 4.2L V8, 6-speed manual)||$1,085 - $1,110|
|2007 (Base, 4.2L V8, 6-speed automatic)||$1,080 - $1,100|
|2010 (Base, 3.0L V6, 6-speed manual)||$1,325 - $1,360|
|2012 (Base, 3.0L V6, 7-speed automatic)||$1,330 - $1,355|
|2013 (Base, 3.0L V6, 7-speed automatic)||$1,340 - $1,360|
|2015 (Premium Plus, 3.0L V6, manual)||$1,335 - $1,355|
Purchasing just the main components for the timing chain, including the chain, tensioner, and sprocket would be much less expensive.
For a 2013 3.0L V6 Audi S4, you could purchase a kit with just those three main components for under $250. However, the same kit for a 2007 4.2L V8 might cost nearly twice that amount.
In a newer model Audi S4, the price will likely be even higher. For example, for a 2018 Prestige, just the timing chain is priced around $120, with the intake and exhaust sprockets priced around $450 each. So, you’re looking at close to $1,000 for just those three main components.
Diagnosing a Timing Chain Problem
If your timing chain is having issues, there are a few signs to look for that will let you know it’s time to get your vehicle into the shop as soon as possible.
If you suspect a problem with your timing chain, you should never ignore it. If the timing chain fails, it can cause severe engine damage that will be much more costly to repair.
Check engine light illuminates
This is the most common sign of trouble. Of course, this trouble indicator could mean pretty much anything, but it is a clear warning that something is wrong with the engine.
It’s important to have a diagnostic test run on your vehicle right away if this happens.
Noise from the engine
If you hear a rattling sound coming from the engine, it could be a sign of trouble with the timing chain. If the chain becomes damaged or loose, you may hear it from under the hood.
Engine running poorly
If your engine isn’t performing as well as it normally does, it’s a sign of trouble. If your timing chain is failing, your camshaft and crankshaft might not run together correctly.
You’ll feel it in the accelerator and the vehicle might hesitate or stutter when you press the pedal.
Engine won’t run
If the timing chain breaks altogether, the engine won’t run at all. You should never try to drive the vehicle if the engine isn’t running correctly.
The Bottom Line
The timing chain in your Audi S4 is designed to last for the vehicle’s lifetime. However, there are some unlucky owners who may have to replace theirs prematurely. Certain model years have this problem more often than others.
If your Audi S4 is a 2003-2009 B6/B7, or if you’re thinking of purchasing one, you may want to consider the cost to replace the timing chain when calculating your potential maintenance costs.
In this particular design, Audi used plastic timing chain guides and tensioners that are prone to failure much earlier than the timing chain. This can lead to catastrophic engine damage.
So, if you fall into this unlucky category of owners, or if you have an Audi S4 that’s close to (or past) the 120k mile mark, you may want to start planning for a timing chain replacement, which should cost between $1,100 and $5,000, depending on your specific vehicle.
Since a big part of the cost is labor, it’s a good idea to shop around and get several quotes before choosing a mechanic.
For a job like this one, you definitely want to consider the shop’s reputation and what kind of warranty they offer. Once you get the estimates, you can compare your options and make the best decision for your vehicle.