The difference between a cambelt and a timing chain
What is a timing belt, and is it different to a timing chain? Simply put, a cambelt and timing belt are the same component. In the debate of cam belt vs. timing belt, it’s a dead heat.
When it comes to timing chain vs. timing belt, there are major differences to understand. It’s important you know which one your car’s engine uses to keep everything running smoothly.
So, timing belt or chain? If you’re not sure whether your car has a belt or a chain, you can find a list of cars with timing chains with a simple Google search.
The biggest distinction between the two is when they need replacing. As you can most likely gather, a timing belt is a strip (usually made of rubber). Due to friction and constant strain, it tends to become worn, several times, throughout the life a car.
With a timing chain (or cam chain), built similarly to a bicycle chain, you’re less likely to experience the belt snapping before your car gives out. You should consult your car’s manual to know whether it uses a timing belt or timing chain.
When to replace a cambelt/timing belt
So, what is a cam belt? A cam belt/cambelt/timing belt is one of the most vital parts of your car’s engine. That means it’s pretty important to know how to tell if your timing belt is in bad shape. It keeps the camshaft in order and handles operations like the opening and closing of valves – maintaining timely combustion. Not addressing a worn belt in time can cause catastrophic damage to your car.
One of the major benefits of a car timing belt is that it’s much quieter than a chain. However, without any audible warning, it’s not obvious when a belt becomes worn.
For preventative maintenance, your best bet is to follow manufacturer instructions. The range for when to replace a timing belt can vary drastically – from 40,000 – 100,000 miles. If you’re approaching the advised belt replacement point – consider Fixter’s door-to-door service, starting at £299. This price is considerably lower than Confused.com’s estimate of £1000, and much cheaper than if other engine parts break due to a bad timing belt.
Potential cost of ignoring worn belt
After performing a routine oil change, diagnostic inspection, or a major, full, or interim service, your mechanic should alert you of a worn belt. Although it may seem like an unnecessary cost at the time, not addressing the problem quickly can cause expensive damage.
Also, while timing belts / chains are not specifically checked in an MOT test, if any engine damage is noticed during the examination – your car could fail. As the belt operates within the camshaft, it affects the cylinder head valves and rocker arm assembly. You’ll certainly know when the belt breaks; your car likely won’t start. The engine could also misfire, and oil might leak from the front.
A timing belt may seem like a very minor part, but it’s connected to bigger, more expensive components. Replacing it when worn will save you additional time, money, and frustration.
When receiving a cambelt or timing belt replacement with Fixter, your car is in good hands. Our garage network comprises over 35 years of experience and services thousands of cars per month. We work with top networks, including Bosch Car Care, Autofirst, Auto Care, Unipart Car Care, RAC, AA, and Trust My Garage.
Our garages receive training from Group Auto, Bosch, and Autofirst, among others to maintain compliance and stay up to date on industry and technological changes. All our garages meet the UK’s MOT standards, and thoroughly tests each car.
Additionally, you can count on Fixter to perform regular maintenance check-ups with our full, major, and interim services. Each offering is tailor-made based on the needs of your particular car.
And while you’re gathering your prices, you’ll never have to ask, “Is a timing belt the same as a cam belt?” ever again.