Timing chains and timing belts are integral components of your vehicular transport’s engine. They are parts that facilitate the rotation inside the engine. Without rotational movements, an engine cannot work, so any faults in the chain or the belt can drastically damage your vehicle’s interior mechanics.
Even though the major difference between a timing belt and a chain is that chains are metal and belts are rubber. This may lead you to believe that chains are better options than belts because metals are stronger.
However, strength is a quality that does not matter when you apply it to holding engine components in the car. For engine components to work most efficiently, timing belts and chains need to have better durability instead.
You may think that timing chains are more durable than belts because of their metallic properties. Even if that is true, you have to take into account differences in maintenance. Chains need lubrication, whereas rubber belts can run dry. Similar to this, you can find more differences between timing chains and belts.
The difference in Service Intervals
Timing chains have a longer service life than belts because of their durability. Some even manage to outlast the engine life. You cannot find a timing belt that can give you this type of service interval. Instead, you will have to replace the service belt every couple of years.
Since service belts are mainly rubber, they have compositional vulnerabilities that make them reactive to heat. When you take into account the fact that a car engine tends to overheat, you can understand why a timing belt has a shorter service interval. Despite heat, rubber also goes through a natural deterioration process with time.
Other Differences of Timing Chains and Belts
Timing belts are also sensitive to oil and coolant spills. This means that they are vulnerable to quicker wear inside a leaky engine. Rubber belts also have a difficult time adhering to high temperatures. So if they are inside engines that have a heating problem, they can wear off quicker than their shelf life.
A typical modern engine has a timing belt service of about 60 to 80 thousand miles. In general, timing belts featured rubber material with reinforcement fibers, which are usually fiberglass. This reinforcement of other materials increases the tensile strength of the belt. A modern timing belt, however, consists of highly saturated Nitrile, which allows it to have such an increased time interval.
Although timing belt rubber is weaker than the metallic chain, it is softer and lighter. This means that belts are particularly quieter than chains. They also have less friction and inertia, making them easier to spin. Rubber is also better for absorbing the vibration and harmonics of an engine, which in turn results in an engine that feels smoother.
As you can see, both rubber belts and timing chains have different properties, advantages, and drawbacks. You can either invest in the longevity that timing chains offer, or settle for a smoother engine with a timing belt.