When you dive into engine maintenance, timing chains, and timing belts are something that you must consider. Without the rhythmic and systematic movements of the pistons, a combustion engine is incomplete. Timing chains and timing belts are bridges that make sure that the crankshaft and the camshaft work in a synchronizing fashion.
How do they manage to do that? The outer layer of the crankshaft and the cram shaft consists of teeth. Belts or timing chains attach to the circular crankshaft and cram shaft because of these teeth and connect the rotational movement of one to the other.
This connection is incredibly important as the crankshaft connects to the pistons, which dictate the range of movements of the valves. Thus, as the name suggests, timing belts and chains are critical for maintaining the mechanical timing of a combustion engine.
Despite both of them performing the same function, both have their advantages and drawbacks.
Life interval refers to the life span of the timing belt and the timing chain. Timing chains, in terms of longevity, are far superior to timing belts. To better understand why you have to consider their material qualities. Timing belts consist mainly of rubber, which is vulnerable to the natural aging process, meaning that it will go through the deterioration process and you will likely have to replace it after five to ten years.
On the other hand, timing chains are hard metal and with good oil maintenance, they can last you the lifetime of the car, and you will never have to replace it forever. Nevertheless, if you do not stay on top of oil maintenance then your timing chain can wear off.
Unlike timing belts, timing chains do not damage completely, instead, they increase in size. This can cause the engine to make a rattling sound.
Timing Chain Noises
Before timing belts or timing chains came into fruition, gears served the purpose of maintaining mechanical timing. Even though the gear system was an effective and robust mechanism, it had two setbacks. One was the costly manufacturing cost, and the other was the noise.
The gears made plenty of noise inside an engine, and this led to an uncomfortable driving experience. Due to this, the invention of the timing chain was so successful because it decreased the noise to quite an extent.
Timing belts however managed to further decrease the sound of the engine even more than timing chains. Since they are rubber, they absorb the vibration of the combustion engine, this helps lower the harmonics of the engine.
Deciding between timing chains and timing belts is very tricky since they have more or less the same functionality. However, you may also have to take into account your car, its engine, and the mileage to make a better choice.