MINIs fitted with the N12, N14, N16 or N18 engine, unfortunately, can all suffer from a failure of the timing chain.

The timing chain, as opposed to a timing belt, is designed to be a lifetime component. It doesn’t fall within the scope of a mileage or time-based service. However, as with any moving part, wear can occur. If this wear isn’t attended to in good time, catastrophic engine damage can occur.

Symptoms of a stretching timing chain can include a rattling noise from the engine (especially from cold) a lack of power from incorrect engine timing, or even an oil pressure warning illuminating on your dashboard.

This particular car came to us with a complaint of a noise. An investigation into this lead to the conclusion of a chain failure.




Broken upper timing chain guide. This has broken off when the timing chain has raised off the sprocket. Allowing the engine timing the slip. The debris then falls into the timing gear to potentially destroy other components.



The removed timing gear complete with some of the broken chain guides.



If broken timing guides are found its crucial to remove the sump to find and remove the broken plastic pieces. These tiny bits of plastic can get drawn into oil galleries and the oil pump, significantly reducing oil pressure which can destroy an engine. Pictured above is the oil pump pick up, which is clogged with broken timing chain guide. This is removed and thoroughly cleaned of all debris.


If you suspect your Mini is suffering failing timing chain, get in touch and we’ll be happy to speak with you about your concerns.