Which Toyota Models Have Timing Chains?

Last Updated on March 5, 2022 by

Your car’s engine comes with either a timing belt or timing chain to synchronize the movement between the camshaft and the crankshaft. The timing belt is made of very flexible rubber, while the timing chain is made of metal links. Most Toyota models made after 2010 have a timing chain.

A timing chain is more durable compared to a timing belt and can last the entire life of your car without needing to be replaced. A timing belt is cheaper than the chain initially, but it is more expensive in the long run because of the frequent repairs. If you need to know whether your car has a timing chain or belt, you can either check the user’s manual or ask your mechanic. You can also open the cover at the engine’s end using the right tools and check. The timing chain will be made of metal links, while the belt is made of rubber and is more flexible.

This article takes you through the difference between a timing chain and a timing belt, plus their advantages and disadvantages. It also looks at different Toyota models with timing chains and answers some FAQs. Please ride with us to the end.

Timing Chain Vs. Timing Belt: Differences

Timing Chain Vs Timing Belt

Whether your car has a timing chain or a timing belt, the functionality is the same, and both work similarly in all engines. However, many manufacturers are switching to timing chains because they have long-term benefits over timing belts. This section looks at the main differences between a timing chain and a timing belt that make timing chains superior. Let’s get into it.

1. Timing belts are made of rubber, while timing chains are made of metals

2. Timing chains are more durable and less prone to breaking down or slipping 

3. Timing belts need to be replaced occasionally (after every 100,000 miles) because they are prone to wear and tear, while timing chains can last the lifetime of the vehicle (over 200,000 miles)

Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Timing Chain

Advantages

1. It is durable thanks to the metallic material. A timing chain doesn’t need to be replaced the vehicle’s entire lifetime. 

2. Timing chains don’t require maintenance except for a check after reaching 125,000 miles

3. The material of the timing chain is resistant to changes in temperature

Disadvantages 

1. A timing chain is heavier than a timing belt, thus impacting engine power and increased fuel consumption

2. Its initial cost is higher than that of a timing belt

3. A timing chain is noisier than a timing belt

Toyota Models With Timing Chains

If you are curious to find out whether the Toyota you are looking to buy has a timing chain or timing belt, look no further. This section takes you through a list of all the Toyota models and what they use: those with a timing chain and those with a timing belt

Toyota model Year What they use
Toyota Avalon 1995-2004Timing belt
Toyota Avalon 2005-2020 including the 4-cylinder hybrisTiming chain
Camry 199-2001 V6 model up until 2006Timing belt
Camry 2002-2020 4-cylinder2007-2020 V6 modelsTiming chain
Corolla 1990 -1997Timing belt
Corolla 1998- 2021Timing chains
Cressida 1990-1992Timing belt
Echo 2000-2005 4-cylinder engineTiming chain
Matrix 2003-2013Timing chain
Paseo 1992-1997Timing belt 
Prius All modelsTiming chain
Tercel1990-1998Timing chain 
Yaris 2007- 2020 including Yaris hatchback Timing chain
C-HRCompact crossoverTiming chain
Highlander 2001-2007 4-cylinder engine 2008- 2019 V6 models 2011 onwardsTiming chain 
Highlander 2006-2010V6 hybridTiming belts
Supra 1990-1998Timing belt
Supra New GRTiming chain
Solara 1991-2001 4-cylinder1999-2009 V6 modelTiming belt
Solara 2002-2008 4-cylinderTiming chain
MR2 1990-1995Timing belt
MR22000-2005 SpyderTiming chains 
GT862013-2020Timing chain 
Celica 1990-1999Timing belt
Celica 2000-2005Timing chain
RAV4 1996-2000 4-cylinder modelsTiming belt
RAV42001 onwards 4-cylinder models2006-2012 V6 models2016-2020 hybrid Timing chains
Sienna From 1998-2006 Timing belt
Sienna 2007-2020 V6 Models2011-2012 4-cylinder versionTiming chain
Previa 1991-1997Timing chain
Venza 2009-2015Timing chain
FJ Cruiser2007-2014 Timing chain 
4Runner1990-2000 2010 4-cylinder 2003-2010 V6 engineTiming chain
4Runner1990-20022003-2009 v8 modelTiming belt 
Tacoma 1995-2020 4-cylinder 2005 onwards V6 modelsTiming chain
Tacoma 1995-2004 v6Timing belt 
Sequoia 2001-2009 4.7 L V8 Timing belt
Sequoia2010-2012 4.6L V82008-20205.7L V8Timing chain
Land cruiser 1993-1997 straight-six2008-20112013-2020 V8 Timing chain
Landcruiser 1998-2007 V8Timing belts
Tundra 200-2004 V6200-2009 4.7L V8Timing belt
Tundra 2005-2014 V62007-2020 5.7L V82010-2019 4.6 L V8Timing chains
T1001995-1998 4-cylinder Timing chain
T100 1993-1998 V6 Timing belt 
Toyota truck1990-1995 4-cylinderTiming chain
Toyota truck 1990-1995 V6 engine

We hope that you can tell if your car has a timing belt or timing chain from this list. The only model we have excluded is the Landcruiser between 1990-1992 straight-six engines because the model uses a set of gears instead of chains or belts.

Frequently asked questions 

Q.  When Should I Replace The Timing Chain?

Timing chains are pretty durable, and most times, you won’t need to replace them since they last more than 200,000 miles. The timing chain needs to be replaced between 80,000 to 100,000 miles for higher mileage vehicles or when it shows signs of failing. You need to know the signs of a failing timing chain to have it replaced before it fails

Q. What Are The Signs Of A Failing Timing Chain?

If your timing belt or chain fails, you will notice the engine misfiring or rough idling, and it might also have strange noises coming from the engine or hard starts. Later models with VVT applications will generate engine codes and check engine lights before you hear engine rattle.

Q. What Causes The Timing Belt Or Chain To Break Or Wear?

The timing belt stretches over time due to internal component wear, which causes the tensioner and guides to wear out. Wear and tear may cause the chain to fail, making the vehicle not run at all. Using the wrong engine oil also causes the timing belt or chain to wear faster. Always check the recommended API oil service rating and viscosity and use the correct oil to ensure it flows quickly and at the proper pressure; this ensures the chain is lubricated and the old doesn’t cause extra load.

Q. Can I Drive With A Damaged Timing Chain Or Belt?

No, it is not advisable to drive with a bad timing chain because this can cause damage to valves, camshaft, cylinder head, and other parts of the engine leading to a more intensive and expensive repair. Please do not drive with a bad timing chain for your safety and also for your wallet’s sake 

Conclusion 

A timing chain or timing belt synchronizes the engine’s camshaft and crankshaft to allow valves and pistons to move at the correct timing. They will enable the engine to operate smoothly while avoiding damage to components. Toyota uses both timing chains and timing belts in their models, but since 2005, timing chains have been more prevalent due to their durability. We hope that you can identify whether the Toyota you are eyeing has a timing belt or a timing chain from our list.

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