Pros and Cons of Timing Chain vs Timing Belt

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A lot of people get confused about the difference between a timing chain and a timing belt. This is understandable because they both have practically the same function. Either of these parts can be found in the internal combustion engine of a vehicle. Their responsibility is to keep the rotation of the camshaft and crankshaft synchronized. The crankshaft is what moves the timing chain or timing belt, and then the chain or belt is what moves the camshafts. From there, the camshafts control the opening and closing of the valves in the engine. These valves are what let in air so that the internal combustion process can take place. They must be opened and closed at just the right time, which is why the word “timing” is put in front of belt and chain.

A vehicle will either have a timing chain or timing belt. Which one is better? Which one is worse. You will learn the pros and cons of each component below.

Timing Belt

About 50 years ago, the timing belt was invented for vehicles. It was an alternative to the timing chains which currently existed. The benefit of a timing belt is that they operate more quietly and are very strong. While a timing chain is susceptible to breaking and causing you major damage to your engine, a broken timing belt won’t be too serious for your engine. But you should still take care of the problem and replace your timing belt before the damage gets worse.

Timing belts do wear out faster because they will only last you between 60,000 and 100,000 miles. This is about half as long as a timing chain will last you. Plus, timing belts are about double the cost of timing chains. For example, if you wanted to replace a broken timing belt, you are looking at between $1,000 and $2,000 worth of expenses. Meanwhile, a broken timing chain would cost you up to $1,000 on average.

Timing Chain

Timing chains were originally used in vehicles because they have a lifespan that is very long. In fact, most timing chains will last as long as the car itself. This means you can easily get between 150,000 and 200,000 miles out of a timing chain. This is at least double the amount of time you can get from a timing belt, and the timing belt was invented after the timing chain. At the most, the only things you will have to replace are the plastic guides which are used for running the chain. They tend to get worn out after 150,000 miles.

As great and long lasting as timing chains are, there are a few things that might annoy you about them. The biggest annoyance is the noise they make. Timing chains are known for being much noisier than timing belts. Also, it is possible for a timing chain to break completely. Once this happens, it will cause a lot of expensive damage to your engine. You may even need to replace your engine altogether if your timing chain breaks and damages it. Engine replacement would be cheaper than engine repair in this situation.

Read also: 5 Symptoms of a Bad Steering Column and Replacement Cost

Overall

If you are the type of person who regularly replaces parts in your vehicle and believes in good maintenance, then the timing belt will be the best choice for you. That way, you can monitor the condition of your belt and then get it replaced if necessary. On the other hand, if you want an affordable solution that will be long-lasting and affordable, the timing chain will be your best option in that case. Just be sure to check the chain periodically to ensure it is in good condition. This could allow you to replace the chain before it breaks and causes any serious damage.

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