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Difference Between A Timing Belt and Timing Chain

difference between timing belts and chains

What is a timing chain?

A timing chain is located inside the engine, and is what connects the top and bottom rotating components in an engine. It has to keep the components spinning precisely at the same time, consistently. Imagine your car’s engine is like a well-choreographed dance. The timing chain is the conductor, making sure everyone (or in this case, every part) moves at the right moment. It’s a strong, durable link in the engine that keeps things in sync, ensuring your car’s performance is smooth and efficient. Unlike some other parts, you don’t need to change the timing chain regularly – but then why are some cars notoriously famous for having to get timing chains replaced prematurely?

What is a timing belt?

A timing belt is similar to a timing chain. It is essentially a very strong cogged (or geared) rubber belt that does the same thing as a timing chain, but does it on the outside of the engine. The engine design is what determines if it is a timing chain or belt type. Japanese engines popularized timing belts; but practically all manufacturers have used timing belts and chains at one time or another. Timing belts are designed with a time or mileage expiration in mind, so it was a moderately easy serviceable part that was designed to be replaced from time to time.

Typically if you had a timing chain, you were worry free for the life of the engine having to deal with anything maintenance related. If your engine had a timing belt, you would typically replace it around 60,000 miles or so. Recently though, some engines have shown to have a real Achilles heel to longevity and/or reliability; even though they have a timing chain.

Is this something that can be prevented? While I’d love to say yes, there are some cars that inevitably will need some type of repair or replacement with their timing chain, despite what you do to try and prolong or maintain it. On the other hand, I have some tips on what you can do to help it more than hurt. I think premature timing chain stretch is something that can be prolonged but can’t be avoided. Sometimes its beyond what you can control- (the type of engine/how it was designed/the components they use/etc).

Next week we’ll dive into why timing chains stretch, along with some engine examples.

In the meantime, We’re wrapping up our 9th annual Marines Toys for Tots toy drive in The Woodlands, where you bring us toys, and we’ll give you free brake pads! Come by or call to schedule your appointment for a free brake inspection!

Alex Noll

CEO – ABR Houston
832-797-9114 8498 Miller Road, The Woodlands Texas 77354

Welcome to ABR Houston, the leading European auto repair shop in The Woodlands. With over a decade of experience and a proven history of serving over 10,000 satisfied customers, we have recently relocated our shop to The Woodlands to better serve our valued clients. Our commitment to exceptional service and expertise remains our priority. From routine maintenance to intricate repairs, our dedicated team is determined to keep you confidently on the road. Trust in the experience and reliability of ABR Houston, where customer satisfaction drives our passion for excellence. Your Local Experts for AudiBMWMiniRolls-Royce & Volkswagen Service In The Woodlands.

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