A car’s engine design is beautiful. Many components inside the car have to move and rotate and move in perfect time and symmetry to get the engine to run without any flaws. Chains and belts are like bridges that connect integral parts of the engine to others. This is important because, for the engine to function, crankshafts and camshafts need to rotate at precise intervals, and chains and belts help achieve this movement.

Brief History

For most internal combustion engines, the crankshaft, that holds the pistons, spins around. The crankshaft further connects to the camshaft that opens and closes the valves. There are various ways you can connect the camshaft to the crankshaft, one of them being the timing chains and timing belts.

When timing chains and belts did not exist, gears did the job of synchronizing shaft rotations in combustion engines. However, as time progressed, designers realized that they were not as effective for car engines. Even though the gear system was solid and reliable, but it has two disadvantages.

One of them was that the manufacturing of the gears was very costly, and the other was that the gears were loud. Hence, instead of having multiple gears fit into each other, car engine makers resorted to using timing chains.

With the introduction to timing chains, there was a shift in car engine design. In this car design, the crankshaft sprocket had teeth on it, which the timing chain could attach to. Following that, all American engines came with timing chains.

However, like everything, evolution has to take its course. Timing chains, although solid and durable, were also expensive to mold since they consisted of metal. This led to the introduction of rubber belts. These timing belts were rubber base, and connected to the crankshaft and camshaft, and did the same job as timing chains.

Why Some Cars have Timing Belts and Others have Timing Chains?

Many car manufacturers install timing belts instead of timing chains. One of the reasons why this is so is because they are cheaper to make. Toyota relies heavily on timing belts instead of chains because not only are they reliable in the Toyota engine, but also because every engine they make is non-interference.

This means that if the timing belt breaks, it will not cause the pistons to do any damage. However, if you take faster engine cars, the pistons are higher and the values were lower. This meant that if the rubber belts broke when driving fast, this would cause damage to the engine.

Both, the rubber timing belts, and metallic timing chains serve the same purpose but have different advantages and disadvantages. Many people can argue whether belts are better than chains, but if you want to get a car that requires the least expenditure and maintenance, then look for one with a timing chain. Chains, unlike rubber, do not deteriorate over time and last longer.