Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: What Is the Difference Between a Timing Belt and a Timing Chain?

asked by on

What is the difference between a timing belt and a timing chain?

A: The main difference is the material that th...

The main difference is the material that they are made of. The timing belt is made out of a rubber base product. The timing chain is made from a type of metal.

An engine has one camshaft or it can have up to four camshafts. It depends on the engine set-up. It operates valves to control the air/fuel mixture in and out of the engine cylinder. There is either a timing belt or chain that rotates the camshaft.

The timing belt is located in the front cover assembly of the engine. The engine has a crankshaft that rotates to move the pistons in the engine. Both the crankshaft and the camshaft have a sprocket. The sprockets allow a connection for the timing belt. When you start the engine, the crankshaft and camshaft(s) rotate in a synchronous relationship. There is a timing aspect between the pistons and camshaft. Physical damage to the engine can occur if this were changed. The belt has a tensioner assembly that keeps the proper tension on the belt. The timing belt is a wearable item that needs replacement as part of a maintenance schedule. The timing chain does the same job as a belt. There can be more than one timing chain depending on engine configuration. It uses gears instead of sprockets. Hydraulic tensioners keep the proper tension on the chain. The chain system requires no scheduled maintenance.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: The car cranks but occasionally wouldn't start

If the battery is going dead after a couple of days then you have an issue with something drawing the battery down. A battery that is low may not be able to start the engine since the starter will take...

Q: How Does a Timing Chain Work?

A timing chain works very similar to the chain on a bicycle. The timing chain has links that engage with the teeth on the crankshaft sprocket and camshaft sprockets. The chain ensures that the crankshaft and camshafts are in constant...

Q: Hello I have a 2001 Montero sport 3.0 that died and tries to start but won't acts like it's way out of time. Would a bad CPS cause this problem?

Hi there. A crankshaft position sensor will cause the engine to not start if the sensor has failed. The crankshaft position sensor is designed to tell the ECM (computer) when the cylinder number one is at top dead center and...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.