Mercedes has continued to innovate in its quest for setting the standard for what drivers expect from a German-made vehicle. The plastic guide rail is one such innovation, and the primary function of the guide rail is to work with the engine’s timing chain to rotate properly and stay in line with other systems connected to the engine.
The guide rail prevents the timing chain from slipping or drifting away from its position. Hence, the failure of the guide rail is usually catastrophic. Before the failure, there are signs of its demise, and if such symptoms are left unattended, it can result in severe engine damage.
Understanding Guide Rail
The guide rail may not be a usual topic of conversation for Mercedes owners, but its functions are as essential as any other car component. A guide rail works in tandem with the timing chain and keeps the chain in its channel.
A guide rail in your Mercedes is usually made with plastic, albeit a strong type. However, due to its location near the engine, a guide rail is subject to severe heat, which usually leads to a guide rail failure from wear and tear.
Causes of Guide Rail Failure
Below are the most common ways a guide rail can experience failure. Ensuring proper maintenance and curbing your driving habits will help maintain your guide rail’s integrity for years.
- Excessive Heat: The heat inside your Mercedes engine can reach extremes. Lubricants and coolants can help cut down on this heat, but it eventually wears down components in the engine bay. The plastic in the guide rail cannot stand up to this heat over long lengths of time, so it will need to be replaced at some point.
- Increased Speed: The higher the speed of your car, the higher the chances of your engine overheating. This will affect the plastic guide rail by melting it. This situation may also affect the timing chain and other parts of the car near the engine.
- Driving on rough roads: Due to rough road patches, excessive vibrations, jerking, and shaking of your engine can also cause the failure of a plastic guide rail. This is because when Mercedes passes through the rough terrain often, it puts more pressure on the vehicle’s body and engine, including the plastic guide rail. Hence, this may hasten the speed at which it fails.
- Usage and Maintenance: Generally, all components have a shelf life. The rate of failure increases when there is little or no maintenance at all. A guide rail is not exempted. A Mercedes mechanic can constantly check the guide rail during routine maintenance to ensure that it is in good shape and is able to assist the timing chain in keeping your engine running as designed. Without following manufacturer-suggested maintenance, your guide rail and other components may break down unexpectedly.
Symptoms of Guide Rail Failure
Knowing the possible cause of a plastic guide failure is a good thing but understanding the symptom of a guide rail failure is useful knowledge to have. If you notice the following signs of guide rail failure, be sure to get in contact with our experts right away to prevent any further engine damage from occurring due to a guide rail failure:
- Unusual sound coming from the engine bay
- Clattering sound when starting the engine
- If you notice your engine is struggling to run
- A screeching sound coming from the tensioner in the engine compartment
Bavarian Auto: Chattanooga’s Highly Experienced European Service Center
German vehicles are known for providing drivers with high-quality performance, and as such, they require a higher quality of maintenance and service. At Bavarian Auto, we offer drivers in and around Ootelwah, Hixson, Chattanooga, TN complete services and repairs for the most popular German brands at a fraction of the cost of going to the dealerships.
Our mechanics have decades of experience working on these brands and utilize the latest available tools and equipment to ensure accuracy and overall excellence in car care. Call or visit our shop today to schedule an appointment with one of our expert mechanics. We look forward to working with you in the future for all your Mercedes maintenance and service needs.
* Mercedes-Benz Car image credit goes to: DarthArt.