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How can you find out if car has a timing chain or timing belt?

Stephen Wright, 1 year ago

5 min read

  • Advice
  • howto
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WhoCanFixMyCar explains the key differences between a timing chain and a timing belt

What's the difference between a timing belt and a timing chain?

In order to tell if your car has a timing belt or a timing chain the first thing you need to do is inspect your engine. Check the side of your engine, and if it has a tinplate or plastic cover, then you’ve got a timing belt.  If your engine has neither of those, then it has a timing chain.

There are a few exceptions to this rule although thankfully they are few and far between. For example, the Peugeot Pure Tech has a dry belt buried inside the engine. If you are unsure about your vehicle, and cannot decipher from looking at your engine, consult your car owner's manual or manufacturers website. Alternatively, book an appointment with WhoCanFixMyCar at your local garage.


Why are timings chains and timing belts important?

The timing chain or belt is located in the car's engine and it is designed to synchronise the various parts of the engine so that they work together. A very clever piece of technology, it basically tells the camshaft what the crankshaft is doing so that it grabs onto the different gears to keep you moving.

Like everything they don't last forever and generally will need to be replaced between 40,000 and 100,000 miles due to natural wear and tear. If your engine oil is low, this will speed up the process of degradation as the build-up of heat and friction invariably damages the part.

That's why it's important to change your engine oil regularly as this will give you the best chance of keeping the timing chain in the best possible condition as will the regular use of a premium oil. In a well maintained engine, it's not unknown for a timing chain to last for up to 300,000 miles.


How much does it cost to replace timing chain or timing belt?

The cost of a timing chain can vary depending on the car you drive as well the labour and parts required. We've outlined below the average costs for replacing either a timing chain and timing belt on some of the most popular car manufacturers.

ManufacturerAverage Cost of Timing Chain
Audi£371.62
BMW£427.49
Citroen£340.84
Fiat£313.63
Ford£328.92
Hyundai£360.10
Jaguar£406.63
Land Rover£368.86
MINI£368.68
Mercedes£449.95
Nissan£341.18
Peugeot£337.56
Renault£332.16
SEAT£341.82
Skoda£357.04
Vauxhall£320.02
VW£356.24

The same applies to timing belts as costs will once again vary depending on the make and model.

ManufacturerAverage Cost of Timing Belt
Audi£920.83
BMW£954.00
Citroen£655.07
Fiat£572.96
Ford£668.39
Hyundai£601.66
Jaguar£843.46
Land Rover£962.60
MINI£699.97
Mercedes£702.60
Nissan£703.78
Peugeot£597.41
Renault£788.63
SEAT£568.13
Skoda£580.82
Vauxhall£589.95
VW£608.82

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