Honda Civic Timing Belt Or Chain: (1985 – 2023)

Timing belts or timing chains greatly affect the engine’s combustion process. If you have a Honda Civic, you can have either of the parts. Are you wondering whether you have a Honda Civic timing belt or chain?

If your Honda Civic model was built on or before 2005, you have a timing belt (except for a few engines). But if you have a Honda Civic model from 2006 to 2023, you have a timing chain.

But how are they different, and which one is better? Are they interchangeable? Stay tuned until the end as I answer all your questions regarding the Honda Civic engine timing mechanism.

Does a 2005 Honda Civic have a Timing Belt or Chain?

2005 Honda Civic has a timing belt. 2005 was the last year that Honda used timing belts on the Honda Civic models. Honda recommended changing the timing belt after 110000 miles or every 7 years. Whatever comes first.

Honda Civic timing belt or chain: 1985 to 2023

Honda Civic
Model YearEngine CodeDisplacementHorsepowerBelt or Chain
1985-1987D15A21.5 L62 hpTiming belt
1988-1991D15B11.5 L70 hpTiming belt
D15B21.5 L92 hpTiming belt
D16A61.6 L105 or 108 hpTiming belt
1992-1995D15B71.5 L102 hpTiming belt
D15B81.5 L70 hpTiming belt
D15Z11.5 L92 hpTiming belt
D16Z61.6 L125 hpTiming belt
1996-2000D16Y71.6 L106 hpTiming belt
D16Y81.6 L127 hpTiming belt
1999-2000B16A21.6 L160 hpTiming belt
2001-2005D17A11.7 L117 hpTiming belt
D17A21.7 L127 hpTiming belt
D17A61.7 L127 hpTiming belt
2002-2005K20A32.0 L160 hpTiming chain
2003-2005Hybrid1.3 L85 hpTiming chain
2006-2011R18A11.8 L140 hpTiming chain
K20Z22.0 L197 hpTiming chain
2012-2015R18Z11.8 L140 hpTiming chain
K24Z72.4 L205 hpTiming chain
2016-2023R18Z11.8 L141 hpTiming chain
K20C22.0 L158 hpTiming chain
21017-2023K20C12.0 L306 hpTiming chain

How Engine Timing Works

The internal engine combustion process in a Honda Civic happens in four stages. They are intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust. During the process, the camshaft rotates once, and the crankshaft rotates twice to help the engine run smoothly.

However, the movement of pistons and valves within the cylinder must follow proper timing to ensure the rotation is synchronized. This time is often referred to as “mechanical timing” or simply the engine timing.

A timing belt or chain ensures the engine valves open and close at the correct time so that the crankshaft and camshaft can rotate perfectly.

Both the timing belt and the timing chain operate in the same way. They maintain the movement timing of various parts in the internal combustion process.

Timing Belt vs. Timing Chain: What’s the Difference?

Timing Belt vs. Timing Chain

The main difference between these two is that a timing belt is made of rubber, whereas the timing chain is made of metal.

Due to the use of different materials, they share some differences. But their purpose and working process are the same.

Here’s a table showing the detailed differences between a timing belt and a timing chain:

FeaturesTiming BeltTiming Chain
Construction materialIt is made of rubbers and reinforced with hard corded fibers to produce tension.It is made of metal and looks similar to bicycle or motorbike chains.
DurabilityDue to the rubber build, a timing belt has less durability. It can stretch and wear over time leading to engine damage.Timing chains are extremely durable due to their metal build. They usually last the lifetime of the engine or the vehicle.
NoiseTiming belts operate quietly without making any loud noises or vibrations.The chain’s friction with the moving parts of the engine leads to louder noise and vibration.
MaintenanceNo special maintenance is required, but it should be replaced every 60,000 to 100,000 miles.No special maintenance is necessary, and it usually does not require replacement.
Replacement costThe replacement cost is low, around $500 to $1,000, including the labor cost.The replacement cost, is higher, usually between $800 to $2,000, including the labor cost.
Performance reliabilityLess reliable as they can wear and break over time.More reliable for its strong construction.
LocationLocated outside the engine, usually in front.Located inside the engine, at the end of the camshaft.
Ease of replacementEasy to access and replace.Tough to access and replace.
Engine weightThe lightweight rubber material makes the engine lighter.Timing chains are located inside the engine, making it bigger and heavier.

Timing Belt vs. Timing Chain: Which is Better?

Although both of them perform excellently, a timing chain is considered better than the timing belt. That’s because the timing chain has a robust construction and is more durable and reliable.

Due to the timing chain’s rise in popularity and reliability, all the latest Honda Civic models use it. You would have a timing belt in your Civic only if it were manufactured before 2005.

Can you swap a timing belt for a timing chain in a Honda Civic?

Can you swap a timing belt for a timing chain in a Honda Civic

No! The timing belt and timing chain have different construction styles, and that is why you can swap them in your Honda Civic.

Not only Civic, but you also can not do that in any vehicle. Although their purpose of use is the same, they are located in different places. That is why they are also built differently, which means they are not interchangeable.

If you want to swap them, you will need to redesign the whole engine compartment. That is because engines are also made in different styles to fit either of them. Hence, it is not possible to swap timing belts with chains.

How often do you change the timing chain on a Honda Civic?

How often do you change the timing chain on a Honda Civic

Timing chains are extremely durable, and you may never need to change them. You can expect them to last as long as the engine lasts.

However, if there is any accident or the timing chain goes through excess pressure, you may need to change it. But that is a rare case.

If you hear sudden rattling or knocking noises from the engine, it is most probably due to a damaged timing chain.

How long do Civic timing belts last?

Unlike timing chains, the Civic timing belts do not last the lifetime of the engine. Honda recommends inspecting the timing chain in Civic every 7 years or 60,000 to 100,000 miles.

However, if the belt goes through extreme pressure, it may go out earlier than expected.

Is there any warning before the timing belt or chain breaks?

You will hear loud knocking or clunking sounds from the engine before the timing chain breaks. But timing belts can break at any time without sending any warnings.

The warnings from the timing chain will let you know in advance if there is anything wrong. Then you can inspect it and take the necessary actions.

But you do not get such an advantage from the timing belt due to its rubber construction. It will not make any sound even if it is on the verge of breaking.

I think it’s a huge drawback of the timing belts. That is because the sudden breaking of the belt can cause huge damage to the engine.

How do you maintain a Honda Civic timing belt or chain?

How do you maintain a Honda Civic timing belt or chain

Neither the Honda Civic timing belt nor the chain requires any special treatment. In the case of a timing belt, you only need to follow the regular replacement schedule.

But if you have a timing chain, you will need to lubricate it regularly. You do not need to do anything separate for the chain as it is located inside the engine. Regularly changing the engine oil and keeping the oil filter fresh is enough.


  1. What happens if I don’t replace my timing chain?

If you do not replace the timing chain, even if it is damaged, it can lead to severe engine failure. As a result, the replacement cost can skyrocket.

  1. Will a broken timing chain destroy my engine?

Yes, a broken timing chain can destroy your car’s engine. If the chain breaks at a lower RPM, then the damage will be minimal. But it can destroy the engine if the chain breaks at a higher RPM.

  1. Can a timing belt affect acceleration?

Yes! The timing belt controls the timing of the combustion process, which affects engine performance. As a result, it affects acceleration. Your car may struggle to shift gears or accelerate if the timing belt is worn out.