What's the difference between a timing belt and a timing chain and why is it important service FAQ in Seattle, WA
Subaru timing belt and chain difference service FAQ

Carter Subaru Ballard Car Care Tips: What's the Difference Between a Timing Belt and a Timing Chain?

Get answers about timing belts and chains in your Subaru

In order to synchronize all your engine's moving parts, your Subaru engine is equipped with either a rubber timing belt or a metal timing chain. The timing belt looks similar to a drive belt you'd also find under the hood of your car. Meanwhile, a timing chain looks more like a heavy-duty bicycle chain. They both serve the same purpose, and they both do it well! However, a timing belt will eventually need to be replaced. A timing chain is usually permanent and will last the life of the engine - but even a metal timing chain can stretch over time and need replacement.

Schedule a timing belt or chain replacement service at Carter Subaru Ballard
Learn why changing your timing belt or chain is important

Below, we'll tell you how to find out what kind of timing mechanism your vehicle is equipped with! We'll also tell you what you can expect in terms of maintenance, so you can ensure your engine always stays in time.

What Kind of Timing System Does My Subaru Have?

Since 2013, all Subaru engines have been equipped with timing chains rather than belts - except for the high-performance Subaru WRX and WRX STI. The WRX got one more year with a timing belt in 2014, and the WRX STI still uses a timing belt to this day. That's because these engines are designed to be driven hard by enthusiasts who enjoy taking their car on twisty two-lane roads and track days. The extra stress of high-performance driving means replacing parts like timing belts more often. Using a timing belt instead of a chain makes replacement easy, so these engines can work extra hard and stay in time.

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If your Subaru is older than 2013, check your owner's manual. It'll indicate in the maintenance schedule whether your model is equipped with a timing chain or a timing belt - and if it's equipped with a timing belt, how often it should be replaced. For example, the 2011 Subaru Legacy requires timing belt inspection every 30,000 miles and timing belt replacement at 105,000 miles.

Order parts for your Subaru online

No matter how your engine does what it does, the factory-trained experts at your local Subaru service department will do what they do: take better care of your Subaru vehicle than anyone else! In Seattle, Carter Subaru Ballard is your authorized Subaru dealership.

Carter Subaru Ballard

5201 Leary Ave NW
Directions Seattle, WA 98107

  • Sales: (206) 782-7475
  • Service: (877) 835-5240
  • Parts: (877) 884-0162
  1. Carter Subaru Ballard

    5201 Leary Ave NW
    Seattle, WA 98107

    • Sales: (888) 843-2701