TIMING BELT VS. TIMING CHAIN: What’s The Difference? - Advance Car Wreckers | Car Wreckers Melbourne | Car Removal

TIMING BELT VS. TIMING CHAIN: What’s The Difference?


For the last two decades that Advance Car Wreckers has been in the junk car removal Melbourne industry, we have seen a lot of cars that have suffered from total engine failure because of timing belts and chains that have broken and were totally neglected by their owners. And even as expert wrecked car buyers, we still want to help you avoid that catastrophic situation. To do that, we must have a better understanding of how a timing belt or a timing chain works – what’s the difference between the two?

Their ultimate purpose is the same. Both of them play an integral part in your car’s MECHANICAL TIMING. Gas engines today work on four major strokes: intake-compression-power-exhaust. The crankshaft connected to the camshaft by the timing belt or chain, makes your car start. Throughout the whole process, these two produce the proper engine timing – that which controls the movement of the pistons and valves inside your engine cylinders.

Again, the timing belt and the timing chain work for the exact reason. There is actually no real difference as to the performance of both. When they break, both will also pose dangers to your engine. Apart from the obvious that one is a chain and other one is a belt, if we are to really differentiate them, here is a simple and clear list of each’s characteristics:

The Timing Belt

  • Made from rubber with fiberglass and Kevlar
  • Very quiet while rotating
  • Strong and durable; but will also wear out
  • It’s protected by tensioners to avoid excess gap or stretch
  • It’s also affected by your water pump
  • Needs to be replaced every 60,000 to 100,000 mile-intervals
  • It’s less obvious when they’re already worn
  • Things will look fine and quiet just right before it breaks and ends up in an catastrophic engine failure
  • It will usually break during engine start or stop, and at high RPMs


The Timing Chain

  • Made from metal (think bicycle chains but cleaner)
  • Produces more noises when at work
  • It has nothing to do with your water pump
  • Its tensioners are controlled by oil pressure
  • They are heavier
  • They will require regular oil baths
  • Some say it still needs replacing (even at least once), but other manufacturers say they’ll last until the end of the vehicle’s lifetime
  • Things will look fine and quiet just right before it breaks and ends up in an catastrophic engine failure
  • During low speed, when worn, it may just slide off and cause no damage to your engine; but during high speed, it will definitely destroy everything
  • If you keep the car running while it’s broken, you may eventually need to do a complete engine transplant because of the major damages it’ll cause


In conclusion, timing chains are technically better because it needs almost zero maintenance. On the other hand, almost all carmakers all over the world still prefer to use timing belts because besides the fact that it produces no noise, it is also best for cost-saving considerations. And because not all vehicles are the same, if your car’s manufacturer says that it has to be replaced at certain intervals, JUST DO SO. Like what we said, both can cause severe engine damage. If you choose to neglect that, you might just end up needing a ton of money for repairs that can actually cost more than your car’s current value.


Does your old car have a ‘like-new’ timing belt or chain that you want to sell for extra income? Let our expert car removalists and dismantlers help you out. After taking out all the parts that you want to see individually, let our team take the rest so you won’t waste any more space in your home. We’ll do that for free, and we will even pay you a good and reasonable amount for your vehicle.


Just call us at 0405-063-700 and we’ll be happy to assist you with your junk car removal and scrapping needs.

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