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Thinking about a Honda CR-V and its engine service life. Does the engine have a timing belt or chain?

Asked by Bianca Perestrelo

Thinking about a Honda CR-V and its engine service life. Does the engine have a timing belt or chain?

Answered by CarsGuide

6 Sep 2021 David Morley

Is the engine in your Honda CR-V timing belt or chain? It depends on when the car was made, but it’s crucial information. That’s particularly so for owners of the first-gen CRVs we saw in Australia. That vehicle had the B Series Honda engine which used a rubber timing belt. The good news is that this has proved a very reliable set-up, and Honda recommends the belt be changed only every 150,000km which is a huge replacement interval by industry standards. A full kit to replace the timing belt on this engine, including a new water pump, will cost around $300 for the parts

After that (from 2001 onwards) Honda fitted the K Series engine to CRVs, and this engine used a timing chain which should be good for the life of the engine. The R20A four-cylinder engine used from late 2012 also uses a timing chain, as does the turbo-diesel 2.2-litre engine from the same era. The current-model CR-V with its 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine (the L15B7) also uses a timing chain.

The task of the timing chain or timing belt is exactly the same: They take drive from the engine’s crankshaft to the camshaft and, in the process, keep all the moving parts in harmony. Many car makers moved away from a timing chain to the rubber, toothed drive belt as a way of simplifying engine design and driving down the cost of each engine. The rubber timing belt is also quieter in its operation and is also less prone to stretching (as a timing chain can) so the camshaft (commonly referred to as the cam) stays in perfect synch with the rest of the engine’s rotating parts. The rubber timing belt is a simpler design because it doesn’t need to be tensioned via oil pressure from the engine as many timing chain systems are.

The timing chain, meanwhile, is preferred by some manufacturers because it should last the lifetime of the engine and never need replacement. This isn’t always the case, however, and some engines designs from a variety of manufacturers suffer problems in this regard. But, in a properly maintained engine of sound design, the timing chain should never need attention, while the rubber timing belt generally requires periodic replacement.

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