Timing belt vs. timing chain, which is better? Great question. This debate has been going on for many years. The thought behind the timing belt was that is was less expensive to have on a vehicle’s engine then a timing chain. The belt was dry, so it did not add extra oil dragging friction which in turn should make it more efficient. A belt can be inspected and therefore replace as needed.
None of these ideas ever panned out. If you take a 2004 Honda Accord 4 cylinder with a timing belt and compare it to a 2004 Toyota Camry 4 cylinder with a timing chain, you will find that the miles per gallon the vehicles achieve is pretty much the same.
Cost of a timing belt and water pump replacement can be anywhere from $600 to $1,200. If your vehicle requires this service every 60,000 to 80,000 miles it can get quite expensive so Manufacturers has stirred away from using timing belts on engines and have gone to timing chains. Sounds great right? No, it hasn’t turned out to be so good. Mini Cooper in particular have had so many timing chain issues, they would have been better served sticking to timing belts.
It’s not just Mini Cooper, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Hyundia, Ford, GM, and Honda have had issues with their timing chains. I believe only Toyota has not had any timing chain issue, though they have suffered for their brake and air bags problems.
Timing chains are supposed be good for the life of the vehicle but lately we had to replace a few on cars with less than 100,00 miles on them.
At Peak Auto located in Apex NC, we still replace timing belts on vehicles and have the factory timing tools necessary to get it right. Call us today to find out if your car has a timing chain or belt.