Timing belts and chains

My wife and I have 2002/2004 CRV’s.There’s some contravery on whether cars made after 2000 need timing belts changed,and in our case whether our cars have belts or chains,and the difference that makes.Simple questions for our dealers if I could trust them.

What does your owner’s manual say?

Do your cars have owner’s manuals? Give 'em a read!

You can look up your cars here: http://www.gates.com/downloads/download_common.cfm?file=428-1466_web.pdf&folder=brochure

If there’s a belt listed, that means your car has a timing belt. If it’s listed as an “interferance” engine, that means that if it breaks, it’ll ruin your engine as opposed to just leaving you stranded. I am 100% sure your 2002 has a timing belt, but some of the newer CRV’s don’t have them. I’m pretty sure 2004 still has them though.

There is NO controversy as to whether cars made after 2000 need their timing belts changed. If a car has a timing belt, it needs to changed, period.

both have chains.

should last years years and then, MORE years.

dont worry about them.


That’s because they’re chains, so nothing to do.

You can go to the brochure that GreasyJack shows you, or to the same belt maker’s (Gates) web site at www.gates.com, like this: http://www.gates.com/part_locator/index.cfm?location_id=3598 If a timing belt isn’t listed in the parts list, it (your engine) doesn’t have one. Honda CR-Vs had timing belts from 1997 through 2001. From then on, they have timing chains.

I will only add that nor ALL cars made after 2000 have chains. Most have belts and those belts do need to be changed. Those with chains are the exception, not the rule.

It lists automotive v-ribbed belt…belt drive pulley…and belt drive tensioner,for both CRVs. Does that indicate to you that they do not have timing belts, but have chains? If so do I have to do maintenance on chains? Thankyou for your info and patience.

Belts and chains both need to be changed. Just that chains last a LOT longer then a belt. The big question is if it’s an interference engine. If so and the belt breaks or the chain slips…there’s a very good chance the engine will be destroyed. Belts usually need to be changed around every 100k miles. Chains usually last to 250k+ miles before they start to stretch and need to be replaced.

In that case, you have a chain, so there’s nothing to be done for regular maintenance.

As I understand it, chains can eventually loosen up and cause problems, but usually only after a huge number of miles.

Timing chain life is very dependent on the frequency of the oil changes. Most chain failures can be traced to extended and/or irregular oil changes.

While you may think the dealer is also putting one on you for this procedure, you should consider the idiotic extended valve lash check/adjustment as recommended by Honda Motor Co. for these vehicles. Here’s a little info for your perusal.



The one disagreement I have with the last link there is in the final paragraph in which they refer to shim and bucket valve lash not being as critical as the screw/locknut method. I’ve been doing shim and buckets since the mid 70s and they do go out of adjustment far more than what is commonly thought.

Valve lash is one those out of sight and generally unnoticed things that may not be a problem until a symptom crops up, and by then the damage has occurred and the bill is now headed into the four figures.

those refer to the serpentine belt, and the tensioner pulley. this is NOT the timing belt.

this is the outside, visible rubber belt which drives the AC, power steering pump, air pump.

just for kicks, go back to that web site and go through the page again, but just change the year of the car to 2000. then enter honda, and crv. see what difference the page looks like. you should see a timing belt listed (in addition to the v belt.)

Now that we have probably confused the OP, please allow me to return to lion9car’s question and to OP’s response to that question. Lion9car asked what the OP’s Owner’s Manual stated regarding timing belt replacement, and the OP replied that the manual was silent on the topic.

If the Honda Owner’s Manual/Maintenance Schedule makes no mention of changing a timing belt, then that is the authoritative answer to the question. Years ago, most manufacturer’s specified a 60,000 mile interval for this procedure. Nowadays, maintenance schedules typically specify that timing belts be changed at 90,000 miles, 100,000 miles, or 105,000 miles–IF the vehicle has a timing belt. If the vehicle has a timing chain, then, naturally, there is no mention of timing belt replacement.

I would suggest that the OP carefully read through the Honda Maintenance Schedule for both cars for 90k, 100k, 105k, and perhaps even 110k. If there is no mention of replacing the timing belt at any of those intervals, then that is a clear indication that the vehicles in question do not have timing belts, and that they have timing chains instead.

I do have to make one additional comment. If this maintenance item is such a mystery to the OP, then that leads to the question of whether he has ever looked at the maintenance schedules that came with his vehicles. And, if that maintenance schedule has not been followed, then that leads to the question of whether the vehicles are actually up to date with required procedures. As we know, CR-Vs have become somewhat notorious for problems with the center and rear differentials if the fluid is not changed every 30k or so, and there are numerous other procedures that are also important to do on schedule. Davagoon–Do you follow the maintenance schedule for your cars?

It’s very simple: what you don’t see, is what you have.

I would get new chain tensioners and guides around 100K. These do fail, causing the chain to slip and thus tanking an interference type engine.

Timing chain life is very dependent on the frequency of the oil changes. Most chain failures can be traced to extended and/or irregular oil changes.

I’ll agree with that. I only had ONE chain failure on a vehicle with less then 250k miles. I’ve replaced a few timing chains for friends and when I was in college working as a mechanic…Every one I pulled apart was loaded with sludge.

Ah, nuts… I never get the Belt vs. Chain thing right!

you have a chain keep your oil cleen and forget about it