You are about to buy a car. You've put together a tentative list of makes and models to see if you want diesel or gasoline and how much money you can spend on buying a car, but you come to the question "car with a chain or timing belt" and you start to hesitate a little.
Timing chain or belt - similarities and differences
Automotive internal combustion engines use four strokes to complete the combustion process (shock, compression, fuel and exhaust). During the process, the camshaft rotates once and the crankshaft rotates twice. The relationship between the rotation of the camshaft and the crankshaft is called "mechanical timing". For the engine to work properly, the movement of the pistons and cylinders must work synchronously, and it is during this time that the timing chains or timing belts are responsible.
Simply put, the function that both the timing chain and the belt in a car perform is exactly the same and involves synchronizing the pistons and cylinders in the engine so that it can run smoothly and efficiently.
If they serve the same function, what is the difference?
While these two engine synchronization components perform the same task, they differ in both the materials they are made of and the length of time and location.
For example, the timing chain is made of metal and closely resembles single-row bicycle chains. It is installed inside the engine and there must be tensioners inside the engine that are oil controlled.
The main advantage of the chains is their extended service life. They do not freeze and are not subject to heat, they hardly stretch, they can regulate the valve timing much more precisely, and, most importantly, they can last forever in practice (if you drive carefully and do maintenance).
They, of course, have disadvantages such as:
- if they break, they can cause irreparable damage to the engine
- they are noisier compared to timing belts
- replacing them is a rather complicated process that requires special knowledge
- their price is much more expensive
Timing belts appeared in the 60s of the last century, and today almost all brands and models of middle-class cars are equipped with belts. The advantages of timing belts are that they are made from resilient, durable materials, making them much quieter than chains, and that replacing them is relatively easy.
Their disadvantages are that they wear out relatively quickly, which in practice makes them consumables. In addition, when the belt needs to be replaced, the tensioners, pump and many other elements must be replaced along with it.
As we noted, quite a large proportion of mid-range cars today are equipped with timing belts, and if you decide you want to drive a car that has a belt instead of a chain, you can easily find one.
A large number of manufacturers and owners continue to prefer timing chains. Why?
The truth is, big car manufacturers choose to rely on timing chains, especially on turbocharged cars or cars in the higher price range. Manufacturers such as BMW, Opel, Volkswagen, Ford, Cats, Mercedes and many others equip many of their models with timing chains, and the main reason for this is that the chains are significantly more reliable, the risk of wear or breakage is minimal and they can handle a much higher load than timing belts.
Which car models have a timing chain?
Before we get started, we must tell you that the list is not intended to be exhaustive, but at least it will give you basic guidelines if you want to drive a timing chain car.
- Alfa Romeo 159 - 2,2-liter, 4-cylinder and 3-liter V6 petrol engine
- BMW - all models with engines over 2,0L
- Cadillac - all models
- Chrysler - Neon, PT Cruiser, 300 C petrol and diesel
- Chevrolet - Corvette, Epica 2.0, Colorado pickup with I-TEQ engine, Spark 1.0 and 1.2, Colorado 2.5 and 3.0 diesel from 2007.
- Citroen - gasoline C1 1.0, gasoline C3 Picasso 1.6, gasoline C3 1.4 and 1.6 (2010 models), gasoline DS3 1.6, gasoline DS4 1.6 and others
- Dacia - Duster 1.6 gasoline, Sandero and Sandero Stepway 0,9 TCe 90, etc.
- Fiat - Multijet 1.3 diesel, Sedici 1.6 petrol, etc.
- Ford - Ka and Fiesta 1.3, C - Max and Focus 1.8 and 2.1, Mondeo - all modifications from 2001 to 2006, Mondeo V6s, 4-cylinder Mondeo 2.0 petrol engines from 2007, etc. Etc. And t.d.n.
- Honda - all Jazz and Civic models released in 2006, including 1.8i - VTEC, CR - V 2.2 i CDTI diesel and others.
- Mercedes - all models from 2012, including class A, with the exception of the 1.4 class model with a diesel engine, and all models with engines over 1,8 liters.
- Mini - All 2011 models including 1,4 Diesel and 1,6 N47 and 2,0 Diesel. All new Mini 1.2, 1.5 3-cylinder and 2.0 4-cylinder engines launched in 2014 also have timing chains.
- Audi - 1.4 TSI and 1.4TFSI from 2013, A3 - 1.6FSI petrol and others
- Renault - Twingo 0.9TCE 90 I 1.0, CLIO 0.9 petrol and 1.2 TCE 115 petrol, Scenic and Megane 1.2 TCE 115 petrol and 1.4 TCE 130 petrol, Scenic 2.0 diesel, Laguna 2.0 diesel, Laguna Coupe 2.0 diesel and 3.0 V6 diesel, etc. D. p.
- SAAB - all turbo petrol 4 liter engines and all 2,2 diesel engines with a few exceptions
- Opel - Agila 1.0 12V, 1.2 16V, 1.3 CDTI, Corsa 1.0, Astra, Meriva, Zafira Tourer, Insignia (turbo), Vectra 2.2 gasoline, etc.
- VW - all car models with 1,2-liter 3-cylinder engines manufactured before 2012, Golf VR5, Golf VR6, Sharan VR6, all Touareg models and all Phaetons and others
- Nissan - all models with vg, gg, sr, gr engines.
This is a very small part of the brands and models of cars that have a timing chain, but we will stop there, because, on the one hand, our time is limited, and on the other, we have more interesting (and, hopefully, useful) things for that. to tell you ...
How to quickly and easily know if the car you like has a timing chain?
If you are not browsing the long list of models and brands, you can simply remove the hood of your favorite car and take a look. If there is a plastic cover on the side, left, or right side of the engine, it means the car has a belt. If you do not see such a thing, then the car has a timing chain.
Which car models have timing chain problems?
SsangYong Action - G20 gasoline engine, 2 liter capacity, 149 hp. The village is a second generation Korean SUV model. It's stylish and extremely elegant, but unfortunately its weak point is the timing chain, which only lasts about 70000 km.
Popular crossovers of the previous generation Volkswagen Tiguan in the original configuration were equipped with 122 hp. page 1.4 TSI turbo engine. Unfortunately, the owners of these versions of the Volkswagen Tiguan experienced the whims of the timing chain, which, even with the slightest wear, “slipped” and missed the lower stage of the crankshaft gearbox.
Volkswagen engineers struggled with this problem for a long time and to some extent managed to increase the service life of the timing chain from 60 to 000 km, but in the end they decided to replace the new generation Tiguan engine.
Owners of a used Audi A3 with 1,2-liter TFSI turbo engines experience the same timing chain problems, which “slips” or breaks at a distance of about 60 km.
This small, agile vehicle comes with a wide range of engines, but the 1,2-liter 3-cylinder petrol engine that stands out for its efficiency stands out among them all. The only drawback of this engine is that the operating limit of the timing chain is 90000 km.
The second generation A5 with a 1,8-liter turbo engine producing 152 hp. from. and a torque of 250 Nm. This Skoda model has very good grip and high efficiency, and everything would be great if not for its low reliability due to the chain component of the drive.
And before we finish, all we had to do was make a quick comparison between cars on a timing chain and cars with a belt.
If at this point you expect us to tell you whether to settle for a car with a belt or a chain, we will disappoint you, because we will not. We will not do this, insofar as car manufacturers produce both components to synchronize the engine drive, the discussion of the topic: "Timing chain or belt" remains relevant, and there is no definite answer. Therefore, we will not express our opinion, we will simply compare a car with a chain and a belt, and you yourself will decide which option is more profitable and convenient for you.
It has already become clear which car models have a timing chain, and if you decide to choose one of these models, you will get the following benefits:
- timing chains are more durable and you will not need to change the chain at all, or you will only need to change it once
- the circuit will give you a much better distribution of engine torque
- You don't have to worry about external influences and high engine loads.
Of course, in this case you will have to take into account that:
- the timing chains are noisy
- You cannot change the schema yourself
- their price is higher and if they accidentally break you will have to have the whole engine repaired or consider buying a new car
If you stop in a car with a timing belt, you win:
- from a lower price for this component
- its easy replacement
- low noise level that it produces during operation
The disadvantages of timing belts are:
- their rapid wear
- almost mandatory replacement not only of the belt, but also of all its other components (tensioners, pulleys, etc.).