Updated at: 06-08-2023 - By: Lucas

Two types of belts are commonly found in modern automobiles: drive belts and timing belt. Both of these belts are made of the same material, but they serve quite different purposes due to the differences in their design, construction, and use. In older automobiles, timing chains were used; in today’s vehicles, they are replaced with a timing belt.

The engine’s pistons, valves, crankshaft, and camshaft all run in time with the help of a timing belt. To put it another way: The drive belt powers belt-driven accessories such as the alternator and water pump with the engine’s revolutions.

Differences between a timing belt and drive belt

Drive Belt Vs Timing Belt

The teeth on a timing belt are deeper and tougher than those on a serpentine belt, so they are more durable. Timing belts, on the other hand, tend to be more durable and thicker than driving belts.


The water pump, air conditioner, and alternator are all powered by this belt, while the timing belt maintains the engine’s internal components in time.

Its location in the engine

The drive belt is situated outside the engine, while the timing belt is contained under a shield for safety reasons..


Drive belts are cheaper, while timing belts are more expensive. Additionally, a timing belt replacement will be more expensive and may necessitate the assistance of a mechanic.

What happens if the belts break

If a car’s timing and drive belts are defective, it will not run. Although a driving belt failure will not harm the engine, a timing belt failure can completely ruin the engine.

What is the role of the drive belt?

Drive Belt Vs Timing Belt-3

A drive belt is an engine part used to power the vehicle’s basic components, commonly referred to as “accessories” in the industry. In a typical engine, the drive belts are positioned outside and are primarily made of rubber. The engine’s crankshaft drives a single, continuous belt that is propelled by a slew of lifters. To prevent the belt from slipping, it travels through the pulleys on the loungers.

The primary function of a drive belt is to provide power to the vehicle’s vital components. Car models with a fan may also have an alternator or a water pump as well as an air conditioning system.

How long do drive belts last?

Manufacturers say a drive belt may last at least 80, 000 kilometers (50, 000 mile) and possibly even longer. However, factors such as driving circumstances can affect how long the battery lasts. It can even fail before it is finished. In general, the life expectancy of a drive belt is comparable to that of a timing belt.

Symptoms of a faulty drive belt. When is it appropriate to make a change?

Loud noises coming from the engine compartment indicate a worn-out serpentine belt drive belt. Overheating, air conditioning failure, and electrical power loss are all possibilities in the worst-case scenario. Another sign of a bad drive belt is a rubber surface that is cracked and missing pieces. In addition to these, there are further symptoms:

  • Rib separation
  • Uneven damage on the belt or ribs
  • Melting or malformation
  • Abrasions
  • Cracking

Depending on the manufacturer, drive belts may need to be replaced after a certain amount of time of service. Serpentine belts typically endure between 60,000 and 100,000 kilometers (37,600,62,400 miles) under normal operating conditions. It is possible to manually tension some belts; however, this requires modification.

As a result, there is considerable leeway in terms of replacement frequency. When replacing the drive belt, be sure to consult your owner’s handbook for a recommended time frame and listen closely to any noises it produces. You can also check the belt periodically to hear if it’s worn out and replace it if necessary.

Drive belt replacement cost

If you buy and replace a drive belt at the same shop, the cost can vary greatly in terms of how much it costs to do so. Local commercial stores can save you money, depending on the make and type of your car. You should expect to pay a bit more for repairs at a dealership, but in most circumstances, the money is well worth it.

What happens if the drive belt break

A broken, worn, or contaminated drive belt can cause the engine’s accessories to stop working or not work at all, resulting in a loss of power to the vehicle’s electrical system. Alternatively, it can result in an abrupt loss of steering power help and a stalling of the vehicle.

As long as you repair the drive belt kit or tow the automobile, a damaged drive belt isn’t going to do much harm to the vehicle. A faulty timing belt, on the other hand, may necessitate a complete replacement of the engine.

What is the role of the timing belt?

This lengthy, continuous rubber band is used to keep the crankshaft and camshaft in perfect rhythm. The camshaft and crankshaft cogs are interlocked by a belt with strong teeth. Unlike the drive belt, the timing belt is housed within the engine compartment itself instead than on the outside.

Crankshaft and camshaft movements are coordinated by the timing belt to guarantee that exhaust gas flow, file introduction, and spark all occur simultaneously.

How long do timing belts last?

Between 100, 000 and 170, 000 kilometers (62, 000 miles and 105, 000 miles), a timing belt can endure between seven and ten years. As a result, this time may vary based on the driving conditions, among other considerations. When compared to a drive belt that will need to be replaced sooner, this has a minor advantage.

Faulty timing belt. When it needs to be changed?

The engine’s smooth operation can be jeopardized if the timing belt breaks down. Misfiring, low oil pressure, and harsh idling are all possible outcomes. Many times a timing belt problem can lead to engine damage, such as broken valves or pistons that need replacing.

Another sign is:

  • Ticking noise from the engine
  • Failure of the engine to then over
  • Leaking of oil from the mother rear

Timing belt replacement cost

According to the type of vehicle and where it’s being replaced, a timing belt’s replacement cost can vary widely. Since some timing belts must be disassembled to be replaced, the cost of a timing belt replacement is typically higher than that of a drive belt.

It is recommended that you change your timing belt every 60, 000 to 100, 000 miles. However, since each automobile manufacturer is unique, it’s best to consult the owner’s manual for our vehicle.


A car’s engine relies heavily on the timing and drive belts. When one or more of the belts is damaged, your vehicle will not start. Forcing an engine with a damaged timing belt to run might harm the engine’s internal components, which can be difficult to repair. The two components are critical to the engine’s operation and should be checked on a frequent basis to ensure proper operation. It is possible for the vehicle to shut down and cause damage to the pistons or valves if a timing belt fails, for example.

A drive belt is also necessary to keep the mechanism operating at the required level. It will overheat, the battery won’t charge, and the air conditioning won’t work if it isn’t properly maintained. As a result, a timing belt failure can be far more dangerous than a broken drive belt.