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Timing belts

I HAVE noticed you are often asked about timing belts and when to change them, and have come to realise there is a lot of confusion about the subject. I have a Holden Vectra and it's recommended that the belt be changed every 60,000km, but my son recently bought a Mazda6 and we discovered it has a timing chain. That got me wondering: how many cars have chains instead of belts? And why do motoring writers never mention what seems to be an important piece of information?

MANY cars have chains instead of belts, and carmakers seem to be returning to chains after many years during which they preferred belts. Belts were introduced because they cost less than chains. They are also quieter than a chain, which can be quite noisy as it wears. As to why it isn't mentioned in road test reports, I can only say it is a little too technical for most readers. They are more interested in how a car performs when put to the test. It is the sort of detail the buyer should check before settling on a new car.