Belts or Chains? How Do You Choose?

Both belts and chains have advantages and disadvantages in each application. According to an aftermarket supplier of engine components, belts offer lower weight, lower cost and less noise. They are wider than chains, however, increasing the overall engine length. Belted engines need more room under hood. They also require replacement, typically at 50,000 to 90,000 miles, depending on the belt’s construction.

However, according to another leading timing component supplier, over the past 20 years belt applications have been fading out. “The Achilles heel of belts has always been the recommended change interval, which, for the most part, remains around 60,000 miles. A timing belt is considered an internal engine component, mission critical and most manufacturers offer powertrain warranties of 100,000 miles and they do not want a mission critical component that can’t make it through the warranty period.  Timing belts are not cheap to replace.  The job can cost well over $300, more or less in the same realm as a timing chain.”

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