Your vehicle’s engine will either have a timing belt or a timing chain to keep the engine’s efficacy and mechanics in check. As the name suggests, timing belts or timing chains have a design that fits into the teeth of the camshaft and crankshaft and allows them to rotate with precise and accurate timing. Before timing chains or timing belts, combustion engines had a complex gear system, which connected the movements of the camshaft and crankshaft.
This gear system consisted of many gears that you could attach and rotate in a synchronized fashion. However, the gear system posed a challenge when it came to mass production and assembly. The manufacturing process of the gears was expensive, and they made a disturbingly loud noise inside the car’s engine.
This was when they realized that they have to look towards cheaper alternatives. This led to the innovation of gear chains. After a couple of years, automakers started facing troubles with manufacturing timing chains because they were large metallic components that were also relatively costly, so carmakers had to come up with an even cheaper alternative such as a rubber timing belt.
Differences between Timing Belts and Timing Chains
Timing belts and timing chains both serve a similar purpose, which is to connect the crankshaft with the camshaft so that they can rotate in unison. This is important because for the car to function, the valves have to open and close at the correct timing.
The primary difference between the two belts is their material composition. The timing chain consists of a metallic chain, while the timing belt is mainly rubber. Cars that have either timing chains or timing belts may even differ in terms of performance, however, that depends on the car’s engine assembly.
Why Some Cars have Timing Belts Rather than Timing Chains
Since timing belts are cheaper and quicker to manufacture. Carmakers that produce Automotives in bulk quantity benefit from installing timing belts into the engine instead of timing chains. One example is Toyota.
Most of their cars consist of a non-interference engine, which means that timing belts are favorable. Moreover, carmakers want to make quieter cars that are appealing to the consumer, hence, they settle for timing belts because they are better at absorbing the vibration and neutralizing harmonics of the engine. This gives way to a quieter car.
On the other car, some carmakers opt for timing chains because of their various benefits. One of which includes their incredible lifespan. Unlike timing belts, timing chains can last for the entirety of your car’s life and you may never have to replace them.
Both timing belts and timing chains are applicable for a combustion engine. However, depending on the car you have, timing belts can lead to costly circumstances if they deteriorate and snap. Deciding which one is best for your engine will require you to consider multiple factors.