15. Drive Belt vs Timing Belt1

Drive Belt vs Timing Belt: Differences & How to Choose

Read Time:8 Minute, 13 Second

We described a timing belt as a type of drive belt in this article and stated that a serpentine belt is a single drive belt used to drive all of the peripheral components. so today we’ll be looking at the major difference between a drive belt and timing belt since they are quite related.

The timing belt is in charge of ensuring that the crankshaft, pistons, and valves of the engine are operating simultaneously or at the appropriate times. (Hence, timing belt.) All of the accessories that are powered by the front of the engine are driven by accessory drive belts.

What Are Timing Belts

Timing belts are important parts of an engine that ensure its dependability. Because the timing of the camshafts, valves, pistons, and crankshaft is so exact, if it is off by even a small amount, the engine may not start or, worse, sustain serious damage. The timing belt and tensioner must always be in good working order for this reason, which makes it so crucial.

Timing belts must be replaced due to wear and tear, just like other rubber components. As a form of maintenance, the majority of manufacturers advise that the timing belt be changed on schedule. This usually occurs after 90,000 miles, but for information specific to your vehicle, see our guide to timing belt replacement.

Eventually, the belt will break if it is not replaced. The engine will stall out and not start again if this happens. However, on some vehicles the engines are refered to as “interference engines.”

In “interference engines”, when the timing belt breaks severe internal engine damage can occur. Typically, open valves strike the pistons and bend, causing costly engine damage. In the worst-case scenario, the engine might need to be replaced.

If your vehicle is not an “interference engine” it is known as a “free-running engine”. In these engines, if the belt snaps, the engine will stall out, preventing internal damage. While you will still need to be towed to a repair shop, typically just a new belt is needed to get the car running again.

The water pump is typically also powered by the timing belt in vehicles with timing belts. Although it is not necessary, it is advised that the timing belt and water pump be replaced simultaneously because they both eventually wear out and you can save money on labor by doing so.


The timing of combustion engines is crucial. The introduction of fuel/air mixture, the spark, and the flow of exhaust gases must all occur at precisely the right moment. The camshaft and craft shaft are both controlled by a timing belt to keep everything in synchronization.


Timing belts typically have a lifespan of 100,000 to 170,000 kilometers, or seven to ten years, whichever comes first.

Symptoms of a Faulty Timing Belt

The engine will have difficulty operating smoothly if the timing belt breaks. Either your engine will misfire, idle very rough, or lose oil pressure. Broken pistons or valves are the worst possible outcome for an engine with a bad timing belt.

Replacement Cost

The price of replacing a timing belt will vary, just like with drive belts. Timing belts may require some disassembly, so they are typically more expensive to replace. More on this later.

15. Drive Belt vs Timing Belt2

What Are Accessory Drive Belts

Drive belts are another crucial component that needs to be replaced on schedule to avoid breaking and leaving you stranded. Car manufacturers use one of two drive belt types. There are V-belts and serpentine belts.

Older cars frequently have V-belts. They do not last as long as a serpentine belt, but they are less expensive to replace. Every three years or 36,000 miles, V-belts need to be replaced. After three years, the probability of failure increases significantly.

On the majority of new cars, serpentine belts are used. Compared to V-belts, they are more flexible and operate cooler. As a result, they need to be replaced only every five years or 50,000 miles. However, these extra advantages come at a cost because they cost about twice as much to replace as V-belts.


The vital components of an automobile are driven by a drive belt. These typically include the alternator, air conditioner, power steering, and water pump. In the majority of engine designs, the engine fan is also powered by the drive belt.


A drive belt should last for approximately 80,500 kilometers, according to the manufacturers. It might, however, fail before its time based on driving conditions.

Symptoms of a Faulty Serpentine Belt

You’ll hear a loud, squeaky, and occasionally even screaming noise coming from your engine bay when a drive/serpentine belt is beginning to fail.

In the worst scenarios, you’ll encounter even worse symptoms, such as overheating, a power outage, or a lack of air conditioning.

Replacement Cost

The price of replacing a drive belt in the Philippines can vary depending on where you buy it and where you have it installed.

A drive belt can cost anywhere between Php 1,500 and Php 2,000 depending on the brand and car model, if we were to base our estimates on those offered on local e-commerce sites like Lazada PH.

It will cost you money if you decide to use the repair department at a dealership. But it’s worth it in the majority of situations.

What is the Difference Between a Drive Belt and Timing Belt?

With the explanation of the two belts that power engine parts, I’m confident you can determine their distinction. if you still can’t, don’t worry I got you covered. Below is the difference of drive belt and timing belt in tabular form:

Drive BeltTiming Belt
1.The drive critical components of the vehicle (alternator, fan, )Two essential components that cause the engine to work is powered (camshaft and crankshaft)
2.As soon as the engine starts running, all components go to work.The two components are synchronized
3.Using multiple belts to power the components can make it complicated.Its working is less complex as it uses one drive belt to drive the components
4.Drive belts are less expensive,Timing belts cost a lot of money.
5.The damage of drive belt will cause the devices it power to stop workingVehicle breakdown is brought on by timing belt damage.
6.The design of modern engines allows for the use of multiple belts to power various components.To drive the components, a timing belt uses just one belt.
7.Drive belts are mounted on tensioner pulleys to prevent slipping.Components with sprockets on them are where the timing belt is attached. Because of this, the systems are kept in sync.
8.A broken drive belt could render the engine completely useless.No part of the engine is damaged, but a broken timing belt will stop the engine from running.

Drive Belt Vs Timing Belt: Timing Chains Might Be Better

The timing belt and drive belt are both significant parts of the engine. It is likely that your car won’t start if either of those are damaged.

Forcing an engine to run in the case of the timing chain may even result in broken internals, which are typically even more challenging to repair.

Keep in mind, though, that some car models actually use timing chains instead of the rubber-based timing belts that are used in most vehicles. Although they are made of metal rather than rubber, they perform the same function as timing belts.

In addition, they have a similar appearance to the chain on a motorcycle’s drive. They are therefore more durable and have a longer lifespan.

Most BMWs, some Honda Jazz models, any Mazda with a Skyactiv-G engine, the Chevrolet Corvette, the Subaru BRZ, the Toyota Celica, the 2008–2012 Toyota Land Cruiser, and others use timing chains instead of belts.

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In Conclusion

An automobile’s engine depends on both the timing and drive belts. Your car won’t start with any of the belts broken. Forcing an engine to run with a broken timing belt may result in damage to the engine’s internal components, which are challenging to repair. The two parts need to be regularly maintained because they are essential to an engine’s operation. For example, if a timing belt breaks, the car will stop and harm the pistons and valves.

A drive belt is also necessary to maintain the mechanism to the necessary standards. Lack of maintenance will result in overheating, a discharged vehicle battery, and malfunctioning air conditioning. In addition, a broken drive belt frequently poses less of a threat than a defaulted timing belt in terms of gravity.

Drive Belt Vs Timing Belt: FAQs

Is the Drive Belt More Important Than the Timing Belt?

The timing belt and drive belt are both essential to a car’s operation. Your car might not even start if one or both are damaged.

Where Can I Buy a Replacement Timing Belt/Drive Belt in the Philippines?

The manufacturer of your car, numerous reputable auto parts stores, and regional e-commerce websites all sell timing belts.

Why Don’t All Cars Use a Timing Chain Instead?

In comparison to a timing chain, a timing belt is less expensive to produce in large quantities. Therefore, most cars are equipped with a timing belt to reduce costs.

What If My Timing Belt Snaps While Driving?

The engine may fail catastrophically or you may lose power if a timing belt breaks while you’re driving.

What If My Drive Belt Snaps While Driving?

The answer is that your car will use up all of the battery’s stored energy if your drive belt snaps while you’re driving. The vehicle will stop moving if that runs out. Additionally, your engine could overheat or you could lose your air conditioning.

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