In the know: What’s the difference between a timing chain and a timing belt?

Your car’s engine is a complex machine. Various valves open and close in a synchronized fashion to turn fuel and air into power, which then propels your vehicle. Responsible for making sure that your engine’s air intake, fuel injectors, and pistons work in unison can either be a timing chain or a timing belt.


  • What are the pros of timing chains?

    Timing chains are more durable and will last longer than timing belts.

  • What are the benefits of timing belts?

    Timing belt-equipped vehicles are usually quieter and will ultimately cost less when it comes to maintenance.

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    We’ll look at what these are and their differences in this article.

    As we’ve briefly covered above, a timing chain or a timing belt is a component that ensures that the parts of your engine needed for the combustion of air and fuel work simultaneously. Timing chains and timing belts are connected to both the engine’s crankshaft and camshaft to facilitate the correct timing for when the valves open and close.

    Mechanical timing is the synchronized movement of your engine’s valves and pistons. Should your engine’s mechanical timing is off, it can damage your valves and pistons and can even affect your engine’s fuel efficiency and power delivery.

    While both belt and chain perform the same function, they do have their differences. For one, timing chains and timing belts differ in the type of materials used in their construction. A timing chain is made out of metal while a timing belt is made from rubber.

    Since timing chains are made with a more durable material, they tend to last longer than timing belts. In addition, timing chains are typically housed within the engine and therefore receive lubrication from the oil, further improving its overall lifespan.

    Timing belts, on the other hand, are usually found outside the engine and are therefore exposed to heat and humidity. On that note, timing belts tend to dry out and crack over time leading to owners replacing them every once in a while.

    Timing belts, however, are quieter than timing chains, and even though they need to be replaced occasionally, doing so is still cheaper than changing a timing chain.

    Photos from Zigwheels

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