Does A BMW 328i Have A Timing Belt Or Timing Chain?

All the model years from 1995-2016 of the BMW 328i are equipped with a timing chain, not a timing belt. This chain is designed to last the vehicle’s lifetime, making it a low-maintenance part of the engine. Unlike timing belts, timing chains are recommended for high-powered engines.

Do you need clarification about whether a BMW 328i has a timing belt or timing chain? You can check it yourself if you have one, but if you’re going to buy one, here’s what you need to know.

So, today, I’ll answer Does a BMW 328i Have A Timing Belt Or Timing Chain?

Let’s analyze whether the BMW 328i has a timing belt or chain in more detail.

Does a BMW 328i Have a Timing Belt Or Timing Chain?

The BMW 328i belongs to the BMW 3 series; several year-based models come with a timing chain. However, different engine options are available for other year models.

In the BMW 3 series from 1995 to 2016, all the engines are equipped with timing chains instead of belts. Here’s a quick overview of the models, chain type, OEM number for the timing chains, driving chain system, and their cost.

Model YearsTiming Drive SystemGenuine BMW OEM Part NumberChain TypeInterchangeable Part OEM NumberCost
2016Timing Chain11318648732Roller Chain, Simplex1131758408411317516074$70-$130
2015Timing Chain11318648732Roller Chain, Simplex1131758408411317516074$70-$130
2014Timing Chain11318648732Roller Chain, Simplex1131758408411317516074$70-$130
2013Timing Chain11318648732Roller Chain, Simplex1131758408411317516074$70-$130
2012Timing Chain11318648732Roller Chain, Simplex1131758408411317516074$70-$130
2011Timing Chain11318648732Roller Chain, Simplex1131758408411317516074$70-$130
2010Timing Chain11318648732Roller Chain, Simplex1131758408411317516074$70-$130
2009Timing Chain11318648732Roller Chain, Simplex1131758408411317516074$70-$130
2008Timing Chain11318648732Roller Chain, Simplex1131758408411317516074$70-$130
2007Timing Chain11318648732Roller Chain, Simplex1131758408411317516074$70-$130
2000Timing Chain11311432176Roller Chain, Simplex1131173018911311722754$55.66-$60.50
1999Timing Chain11311432176Roller Chain, Simplex1131173018911311722754$55.66-$60.50
1998Timing Chain11311432176Roller Chain, Simplex1131173018911311722754$55.66-$60.50
1997Timing Chain11311432176Roller Chain, Simplex1131173018911311722754$55.66-$60.50
1996Timing Chain11311432176Roller Chain, Simplex1131173018911311722754$55.66-$60.50
1995 Timing Chain11311432176Roller Chain, Simplex1131173018911311722754$55.66-$60.50

From the above tables, we see that all the model years of the BMW 328i have simplex roller timing chains. The reason is their high-powered, multi-cylinder engine, which needs extra durable operation and longevity. 

The cost of the timing chain for the older generations (1995-2000) ranges between $55.66-$60.50, and for newer generations (2007-2016), it’s around $70-$130. There are interchangeable parts available that you can substitute, find the OEMs on the table.

If you’d like to know about the timing belt changing interval of BMW 5 series, this page will help you get that.

You can find other technical details about the timing chains using the OEM number provided in the table. Now, let’s move on to the types of available timing chains. 

What are the Types of Timing Chain BMW 328i Use?

Primarily, there are three types of timing chains, but the BMW 328i models are equipped with a single roller chain or simplex timing chain system. This is the most common type of timing chain used in engines. It comprises a series of single interconnected links that rotate around sprockets, which help transfer power from the crankshaft to the camshaft.

What Other Types Of Timing Chains Are Available?

There are other timing chains available based on different engine models as follows.

  • Double Roller Chain (Duplex): This timing chain is similar to a single roller chain but has two rollers on each link. This provides additional strength and durability and is often used in high-performance engines.
  • Silent Chain: Silent chains are characterized by their smooth and quiet operation, which is achieved through the use of links that have teeth on the inside and outside edges that mesh together. 

This design makes silent chains ideal for low-noise engines, like those found in luxury vehicles. Additionally, silent chains are known for their durability and long service life, as they can withstand high loads and resist wear.

Can You Use a Double Roller Timing Chain on the BMW 328i?

No, you cannot. Timing chains’ compatibility depends on the structure of the crankshaft sprocket. Engines with duplex chains or double roller chains are equipped with duplex sprockets. BMW 328i models have a single sprocket system. As a result, you have to stick with the single roller or simplex chain.

Can You Use Silent Chain on the BMW 328i?

Yes, it is possible to install a silent chain on the vehicle. When installing a silent chain on the BMW 328i, it is important to choose the correct size. The chain should match the size of the sprockets that drive the engine and transmission and should be the right type for the application. Before using the chain, ensure that it is properly tensioned.

Can the BMW 328i be Equipped with Aftermarket Timing Chains?

Yes, Febi Blistein produces the best aftermarket timing chains and other BMW parts. Their parts have the OEM quality standard and come at an affordable price. In addition, Febi Bilstein offers a comprehensive warranty on all its parts. If anything goes wrong, you can rely on Febi Bilstein to help you quickly get back on the road.

What are OEM Parts? Why They’re Important?

OEM Parts (Original Equipment Manufacturer Parts) are components made to the same exact specifications as those originally used to build a machine or vehicle. That means they are held to the same standards of quality.

OEM parts are designed to function the same way as their original counterparts. This ensures that the parts will fit without any issues and function correctly in your vehicle.

Also, OEM Parts are often of higher quality, meaning they will last longer and require less maintenance than generic parts. 

Furthermore, OEM parts help maintain your vehicle’s warranty, as most car repairs need OEM parts. Using OEM parts ensures your vehicle performs well, thereby preserving its resale value. It’s essential if you plan to sell your car in future.


OEM parts are made to the same exact specifications as those originally used to build a machine or vehicle. They are of higher quality, will last longer, and require less maintenance than generic parts.

What are the Pros and Cons of Timing Chains?

Timing chains have many pros and cons. Take a look at the table below.

Durable and has a long lifespan.It can be prone to wear and tear.
Acts as a vibration damper.Difficult to diagnose and repair.
It does not require regular maintenance.Needs proper lubrication.
Silent chains are available.Expensive to replace.
No chance of slippage.Produces oil debris.
Heat resistant.It can be noisy.

Why does the BMW 328i Use Timing Chains Instead of Belts?

Timing belts are generally less expensive than timing chains but have a shorter lifespan. On average, you should replace a timing belt after 60,000 to 150,000 miles. (1) Timing belts can also become contaminated and, if turned bad/damaged, can result in serious engine damage. 

On the other hand, timing chains are pretty expensive compared to timing belts. If it has an issue, you should replace a timing chain only after 80,000 to 120,000 miles. Also, a timing chain is recommended if your car has a high-powered multi-cylinder engine.

Timing chains may last up to the engine’s life, depending on the vehicle type and manufacturer. Timing chains are also more resistant to damage from heat and oil and are less likely to break than a timing belt. They are also less prone to contamination.

Ultimately, the decision between a timing belt and a timing chain comes down to cost and personal preference. In terms of affordability, a vehicle with timing belts is a good choice. However, if you’re looking for a more reliable option that will last for the life of your engine, a vehicle that comes with a timing chain is the better option.


Timing belts are cost-effective, have a shorter lifespan, and are susceptible to contamination.  Alternately, timing chains are durable, require no maintenance, and are heat-resistant. These are recommended for cars with powerful multi-cylinder engines, and they can last up to the engine’s lifespan. 
BMW 328i Timing Chains Explained Infographic


How Much Does It Cost To Replace Timing Chain On BMW 328i?

Timing belt replacement cost on your BMW 328i depends on the model year. However, replacing the belt with a mechanic would cost around $1,624 – $1,879. Here the cost of the parts is $667 to $672, and the labor cost can be $957 to $1,207.

What Year Does BMW Have Timing Chain Problems?

In BMW diesel engines manufactured between 2006 and 2015, timing chains appear to have a design problem. Over time, the engine timing chain stretches, eventually snapping. There have been timing chain failures on BMW’s 1, 3, and 5 Series models, with the N47 diesel model being the most affected.

How Many Hours Does It Take To Replace A Timing Chain?

In general, replacing a timing chain on a BMW 328i can take anywhere from 5 to 8 hours or more. (2) However, timing chain replacement time on a BMW 328i can vary depending on several factors, including the specific model year, engine type, and the experience and skill level of the mechanic.


Thank you, that was everything about your query Does A BMW 328i Have A Timing Belt Or Timing Chain? You should have all the answers now. One tip from me is to use a timing belt only if your manufacturer recommends a chain.

Forcefully using a timing belt on a high-powered, turbocharged engine may wear off faster and even break while driving. This could lead to catastrophic engine damage.

Leave a Comment

Written By

Photo of author

Aaron Byrne

Hi, Aaron Byrne here. I'm an expert automotive mechanic with 10 years of experience. I work on engine parts especially timing belts for their repair, maintenance, and replacement.

Fact Checked And Mechanically Reviewed By


Talha Atta

Talha Atta, a Mechanical Engineer and experienced technical content writer and editor at with a passion for the automotive industry.