If you are among the very keen car owners, you will be concerned with the type of timing belt your vehicle has.
Many drivers don’t care what is under the hood.
But on the flip side, car manufactures have been keen on what they put under the hood for maximum efficiency.
Whether you are aware of what goes on underneath the hood, or you are the type that is concerned only with the exterior and interior comfort, you ought to notice the changes from timing belt to timing chain over the years.
This has been necessitated by the fact that the timing chains are more durable compared to the timing belts.
Does Toyota Tundra Have a Timing Belt or Chain?
Since 2010, they all have had chains. The early V-6 and V-8 models used belts. In 2005, the Tundra V-6 engines came with a chain. Later on, the 2010 4.6-liter V-8 Tundra was fitted with a timing chain, while the 5.7-liter V-8 engine switched to a timing chain starting in 2007.
Over the years, Toyota Motors have been doing both major and minor updates on their vehicle to enhance efficiency and performance while striving to keep their models affordable.
The Toyota Tundra is one such full-size truck that has received functional and stylistic upgrades over its model years.
This has enabled the Tundra to remain among the topmost reliable Toyota vehicles in the market.
Difference Between a Timing Chain and Belt
The engine of every modern gas-powered vehicle is synchronized by either a timing chain or belt. The purpose of the chain and belt is to link the camshaft to the crankshaft at a turning ratio of 1:2.
When the crankshaft turns one time, your camshaft will turn twice.
During the rotation of the crankshaft, the pistons go up and down in the cylinder, and the camshaft rotates, allowing the valve to open and shut.
Now, what is the difference between a timing belt and a timing chain in a Toyota? These two differ in what they are built of as opposed to their functions.
Because a timing chain is designed and manufactured from sturdy and long-lasting metal, it is less likely to wear out compared to a timing belt.
A timing belt is made of rubber and composite material that is prone to wear and tear.
The internal teeth of the timing belt mesh with gears on the camshaft and crankshaft, making it spin smoothly between the two.
Just like the timing belt, the teeth of the chains are also subjected to wear and tear and can also get worn down or break off completely sometimes.
That can cause the belt to slip away from the gears or cause the timing belt to be thrown off.
In addition to stretching, the belt can lose its ability to keep the exact timing that you anticipate from it if it becomes too slack.
It is possible for a timing chain on a Toyota Tundra to be stretched in extreme situations.
Since this is a heavy-duty truck that handles most of the off-road conditions and carrying or hauling heavyweights, it is likely to put immense pressure on the timing chain.
Naturally, stretching metal is more difficult, but it can still happen.
Thus, the timing chain can stretch out as it wears out.
On the other hand, the timing chain is prone to be thrown off when subjected to increased tension.
As a result, fuel may be injected into the combustion chamber at the wrong moment, resulting in reduced fuel efficiency and performance.
Timing problems can lead to a variety of issues, including piston in valve opening and shutting at the wrong time, as well as ignition problems that occur at the wrong time or don’t occur at all.
Toyota’s latest vehicle employs only timing chains, so it’s worth learning the difference in performances and efficiency of the two.
Also, Toyota vehicles that come fitted with the timing chain will be more affordable to maintain compared to those fitted with timing belts because of the reduced frequency of replacing the timing chain compared to that of the timing belt.
The timing belts were introduced by Toyota back in the 70s and 80s.
Back then, the oil crisis and financial running costs prompted vehicle makers to find ways of making cars more affordable to be able to sell to the consumers at an affordable price and also to save the owners money in terms of running and maintenance costs.
To further reduce the initial costs, timing chains were replaced with more cost-effective belts.
Of course, the rubber belt was cheaper to produce than the metal chain.
This reduced the initial cost of production and hence the unit selling price.
But in the long run, it was more expensive to run, because the rubber belt had to be replaced frequently, depending on how the vehicle was being utilized.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Timing Belt Vs. Timing Chain: Which one is better?
Both the timing chain and belt do the same job in your Toyota Tundra engine. Material and durability make a tremendous difference.
Even though timing belts are often built from composite material, they are mostly called rubber belts.
Nylon threads, and often metal, are then used to strengthen the material.
They resemble bicycle chains and are made of metal, just like the chain on a bicycle.
Because of this, the timing chain will serve you for longer than a standard belt under the same condition.
Your owner’s manual will have the duration for your timing belt or chain.
It is estimated that the timing chain can survive between 60,000 and 100,000 miles.
In contrast, a timing chain is anticipated to last as long as your engine will survive.
That means a timing chain should last between 200,000 and 250,000 miles before it needs to be replaced.
Timing belts and timing chains should be checked every so often to make sure they are in working order.
Manufacturer’s faults or accidents can cause the duration of replacement to reduce.
Are the timing chains more durable than the timing belts?
In spite of the fact that the timing belts are also well designed to last, they just cannot last as long as the timing chains, and they are also very vulnerable to damage.
Recently, there has been an increased number of car manufacturers who are resorting to the timing chains.
Engines running on timing chains are more reliable and last for the long haul with a longer engine lifespan.
Which other Toyota models use a timing chain?
Currently, all Toyota models use a timing chain, as alluded to earlier.
Although some model years may feature different trim levels that will have either a timing chain or belt for the same engine capacity.
This was the transition period for the specific models. This was done before the complete switch.
Therefore, If you are on a budget, and you are planning to buy an old Toyota, it may be necessary to check under the hood for the type of timing link used.
For example; Toyota 4Runner (1990 and 2000 model years) uses a timing chain for the 4-cylinder engine while the V-6 variant is fitted with timing belts.
The Toyota 86 (model years 2013 – 2020) are equipped with a timing chain while the Toyota Avalon used a timing belt until the 2004 model year.
Others include the Camry (1990 & 2000), Celica (1990 &1999), Toyota C-HR, and Toyota Highlander among others.
There are some model years where timing belts were used, even though most modern Toyotas use a timing chain.
When it comes to maintaining your vehicle, knowing what is beneath the hood is essential.
This can lead to engine failure if the timing chain or belt breaks.
For example, if the timing belt rips when you are driving, the valves, cylinders, and pistons will be seriously damaged.
Fixing such damage can be very costly and can go upward of $5000.
Sometimes, it may call for a total replacement of the entire engine block; this is a cost that no car owner would like to incur.
Therefore, whether your vehicle is running on a timing chain or belt, frequent maintenance and inspections should be done to ensure they are still in working condition.