If you are on the market for buying a Lexus RX350, you want to be familiar with your car’s parts – particularly whether it has a timing chain or a timing belt. The Lexus RX350 has been around for decades, and we have seen some improvements in this vehicle’s components over the years. There is some speculation as to whether the Lexus RX350 is designed with a timing belt or a timing chain, as this can be a selling point for a lot of buyers.
Table of Contents
- Does The Lexus RX350 Have A Timing Belt or chain?
- Which Lexus RX350 Models Have a Timing Belt?
- Which Lexus RX350 Models Have a Timing Chain?
- Which is Better: a Timing Belt or a Timing Chain?
- How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Timing Belt or Timing Chain?
- What are Timing Belts & Timing Chains Made Out Of?
- What Does a Timing Belt & Timing Chain Do?
Does The Lexus RX350 Have A Timing Belt or chain?
As of 2007, all Lexus RX350 models are designed with timing chains – not timing belts. If you own a Lexus RX350 built prior to 2007, and it’s equipped with a 3.3l v6 engine, then it will have a timing chain installed. Whereas Lexus RX350 models that have a 3.5l v6 engine will have timing chains.
The Lexus RX350 is a world-class SUV that was designed for reliability and comfort. The original Lexus RX350 came out back in 1997 and it has received praise since its initial launch.
Over the years, Lexus continued to improve upon the design of the RX350 and added a bulk load of features, components, and installed advanced parts. Traditionally, vehicles that were built prior to the early 2000s always have timing belts.
However, when timing chains became popularized and standardized, a lot of car manufacturers started to phase out timing chains. Whether you already own a Lexus RX350 or are interested in buying, make sure you know whether your vehicle has a timing belt or a timing chain.
After extensively researching Lexus automotive forums, I have been able to gather enough information to determine if the RX350 is equipped with a timing belt.
My research has indicated that the Lexus RX350 may have a timing chain or a timing belt installed depending on the year that it was manufactured and its engine type.
Which Lexus RX350 Models Have a Timing Belt?
Timing belts were common in Lexus RX350 models that were made before 2007. Virtually all Lexus RX350 models that were built from 1999 to 2006 will have timing belts installed.
You can also identify whether your Lexus RX350 has a timing belt based on its engine type. All of the original models of the RX350 had a 3.3l v6 engine. If your vehicle has this engine type, then it will be equipped with a timing belt.
Which Lexus RX350 Models Have a Timing Chain?
From 2007 onwards, Lexus transitioned from timing belts to timing chains with the RX350 models. If you own a Lexus RX350 that was made between 2007 and 2022, then your vehicle will have a timing chain.
In addition, Lexus also revamped the engine with these models and installed a 3.5l v6. This engine type is also an indication of a timing chain, rather than a timing belt.
Which is Better: a Timing Belt or a Timing Chain?
A timing chain is going to be much more reliable than a timing belt. This is a newer form of automotive technology, and it comes with a lot of added benefits.
The most important of which is longevity. Timing chains have been proven to last quite a bit longer than timing belts. If you have the option, you should try to pick a Lexus RX350 model that has a timing chain over a timing belt.
How Long Do Timing Chains Last?
One of the best things about having a Lexus RX350 with a timing chain is that you rarely need to get it serviced or replaced. So long as the timing chain was installed correctly and the vehicle is looked after, you can get as much as 120,000 miles out of your chain.
Some Lexus RX350 owners have been able to push their timing chains considerably further than this, but you should always confirm the condition of your chain with a mechanic if you want to drag out the mileage. This implies that you could potentially have a single timing chain that can last you the majority of your vehicle’s lifespan.
How Long Do Timing Belts Last?
Timing belts, on the other hand, have a much shorter life expectancy. Depending on the quality and condition of your timing belt, you should be able to get anywhere from 60,000 to 80,000 miles out of it.
However, if treated with care, some Lexus RX350 owners have been able to get as much as 100,000 miles out of a single timing belt.
How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Timing Belt or Timing Chain?
Replacing a timing belt or a timing chain can be costly. The reason for this is that both of the components are hard to access. There is a considerable amount of labor required to disassemble the parts necessary to reach the belt or chain, which is why the price of labor can be incredibly high at times.
In general, you can expect to pay around $500 to $1,000 to replace a timing belt and upwards of $1,600 to $1,800 to replace a timing chain.
This is a lot more money than you will pay for a casual tune-up, which is why you luckily only have to replace these components 2-3 times out of your car’s lifespan, in most cases. The parts are actually not all that expensive compared to what you actually end up paying for labor.
The price for buying these parts will be around $250 to $300, which implies that if you are handy with tools and are comfortable with getting under the hood of your Lexus RX350, you can change your timing belt or timing chain for a fraction of the price. The bulk of your money is going to go to labor, as it can take anywhere from 3.5 to 5 hours to replace these components.
What are Timing Belts & Timing Chains Made Out Of?
The key distinction that determines how long a timing belt or chain lasts is the materials used to create the components. A timing chain is made out of metal and it takes a lot of miles for this material to reach its breaking point.
The metal that a timing chain is made out of can vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle, but the material, as well as the design, are almost identical to a standard bicycle chain.
A timing belt is usually made out of rubber, which is why the parts are often a bit cheaper. However, a rubber component in your vehicle is not going to last nearly as long as something that is made out of metal.
What Does a Timing Belt & Timing Chain Do?
Both the timing belt and timing chain are designed to serve the same purpose. The only difference between the two is their durability and longevity.
These components ensure the timing of your engine’s valves. The belt is essentially the driving force that enables the valves to open and close as each cylinder fires. The timing belt and chain does this by synching up the rotation of the camshaft and driveshaft.
Taking care of your timing belt and chain is incredibly important, as it can result in serious complications if this component fails. If the chain were to fail, the engine would skip a gear and misfire. This can ultimately lead to a damaged engine, which is why it is crucial to service timing belts and timing chains when needed.