How Long Can You Drive with Bad Cam Phasers

There are times when a car produces annoying and odd noises that you otherwise never have heard. Sometimes the reason is minor friction issues. However, sometimes the issue can be a major one such as a bad cam phaser.

With a bad cam phaser you should not drive more than a short distance, if you keep on driving, the engine will stop. It’s never a wise idea to keep on driving with faulty cam phasers because they can cause expensive engine damage that will be less likely to be overcome. You may need to replace the engine later on.

If your car has a bad cam phaser it is important to know how long you can drive with a bad cam phaser. In this article we shall find out more about that.

The car phaser is a sprocket that sets the alignment and position of the engine camshaft with the crankshaft. The basic purpose of the cam phaser is to manage the intake and exhaust valve in turn.

What happens if you keep on driving with a bad cam phaser?

When the vehicle has defective or bad cam phaser, the engine gets the impact majorly. Following are the major damage that he engine faces;

When the vehicle has defective or bad cam phaser, the engine gets the impact majorly. Following are the major damage that he engine faces;

  • Engine damage: When cam phaser is defective or bad it can cause serious permanent engine damage, bent valves, and damaged pistons.
  • Engine misfire: If one or more cylinders don’t ignite the right way, it can cause the engine misfire issue. It happens when the cam phaser is not adjusting the camshaft position correctly and hence causes the valves to open and close at the wrong times.
  • Rough engine idling: Rough and uneven engine idling is another common issue that you have to face. This happens when the phaser is not adjusting the camshaft position the right way. It can cause vibrating and shaking.
  • Check engine light: You may see the CEL will turn on due to bad cam phaser issues. The reason is the engine control module will notice the poor cam phases as a problem and the light will come on.
  • Engine performance issue: The engine will let out reduce performance.  It also includes the show acceleration, minimal power output and the poor responsiveness.

How do I know that the cam phaser has gone bad?

There are few signs that tell you about bad cam phases in the car right away. All you have to do is to keep an eye when your car is behaving in an odd manner.

Wear and tear

The wear and tear is the most obvious sign that tells you about the poor performance in any component of your car. When the car cam phaser gets too old due to wear and tear it certainly underperforms.

For high-mileage engines the wear and tear is common. The stress and movement can put the cam phaser into the zone of excessive wearing.

Poor maintenance

Like durability, if you don’t keep the cam phaser well-maintained, they will go bad over time. If you don’t keep the engine maintenance regularly checked, the component will likely get the effect. The build-up sludge and debris can cause malfunctioning.

The use of bad quality or incorrect oil can cause damage to the cam phases. Likewise, if you don’t use the right oil, it can also cause defects in the cam phaser. The oil flow maintains lubrication and also protects the component from wear and tear.


As you know the overheating of the car and its components is not acceptable in any way. So when the car cam phaser gets hike in temperature ranges can be damaging to the cam phaser.

Overheating can be due to faulty thermostat, a malfunctioning water pump, or a damaged radiator. So check the reason to specify the solution.

Defect by-default

Not always the cam phaser can fail due to overheating or wear and tear. Sometimes the reason is manufacturing defects which lead them to malfunction. Although it’s rare, it’s not something that you should be thinking of. If there is some manufacturing defect, you can only replace the cam phaser with the functioning one

What Should I Do To Avoid Bad Cam Phaser In My Car

  • Make sure to keep changing oil on regular bad oil to avoid bad cam phaser issues. Dirty or contaminated can cause vehicle component damage. Likewise always use high-quality oil so that the engine receives the best of the best lubrication and performs better.
  • If you use your car for short trips more or often it can cause more stress. To avoid faster wear, try to drive your car from longer trips so that the engine car warms up and operates at an ideal level.
  • If you drive the car at high RPM, it can be dangerous for the cam phaser. Try to avoid that by driving in the recommended range.
  • Make sure to maintain the engine and keep it clean. Contamination, gunk, debris, dirt and other such elements can be damaging for the engine and cam phaser.

However, if you still hear noises such as knocking or ticking, we’d recommend you to take your vehicle to the professional car mechanic for an ideal solution and timely repair.

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