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Considering getting 2014 to 2016 mazda3 2.0. Looks like it would be very difficult to get to the chain. Anybody done that? Life expectancy of the chain? Any other bugaboos on the 3?
 

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There's no special maintenance required or replacement interval specified for the timing chain, so I wouldn't be too concerned about access. It should last the life of the engine, so if you DO have to replace it, you'll probably have the engine out anyway for a full engine overhaul job.
 

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agreed. this is the benefit of timing chains. chains were actually very common in the past, but the industry moved to belts since they are quieter and lighter (more efficient). downside is they need to be replaced and when they break it can cause severe engine damage. when the industry started going to belts, interference engines weren't nearly so common so engine damage was not a concern.

with chains, they've gotten quieter and lighter. far less issues with the tensioners which was a big problem in the past so reliability is also better. as mentioned chains generally last the life of the engine. however, they are still a pain to work with compared to belts. if you're concerned, checking is very easy. get a mechanic's stethoscope and have a listen to your chain every now and then. if there are any abnormal noises, something might be up. my guess is you'll never have any problem.
 
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