Honda CRV Timing Belt or Chain: Let’s Find Out!

All Honda CR-Vs manufactured between 1997 to 2001 were equipped with timing belts. Due to better service and less hassle, Honda CR-V switched to a timing chain in 2002. From then to this date, all the models of the Honda CR-V Series were made with the timing chain.

The question of whether your car has a Honda CRV timing belt or chain may still be circling in your mind. Check out all of the models and how they transitioned from timing belts to timing chains throughout the year.

Which One Does Your Honda CR-V Have: A Timing Belt Or A Timing Chain?

Honda CR-V was first introduced in 1997. From 1997 up until 2001, all Honda CR-V models had timing belts in them. From 2002 onwards, all Honda CR-Vs were made with timing chains. The CR-V models with petrol engines also use a timing chain.

Here’s an overview of the type of engine your Honda CR-V model might have and whether it has a timing belt or chain-

YearEngine TypeHorse PowerTiming Belt/ Timing Chain

2.0 L B20B I4(Gasoline)
2.0 L B20Z I4(Gasoline)


Timing Belt

2.0 L B20B I4(Gasoline)
2.0 L B20Z I4(Gasoline)


 Timing Belt

2.0 L I4 K20A1 (Gasoline)
2.0 L I4 K20A4(Gasoline)
2.4 L I4 K24A1(Gasoline)
2.2 L turbodiesel I4 N22A2


Timing Chain

2.0 L I4 K20A12.0 L I4 K20A42.4 L I4 K24A1 (Gasoline)
2.2 L turbodiesel I4 N22A2


Timing Chain

2.0 L R20A I42.4 L K24Z I4(Gasoline)
2.2 L N22A turbodiesel I4


Timing Chain

2.0 L R20A I42.4 L K24Z I4(Gasoline)
2.2 L N22A turbodiesel I4


Timing Chain

2.0 L R20A I42.4 L K24Z I42.4 L K24W I4(Gasoline)
1.6 L i-DTEC I4 (Europe)2.2 L i-DTEC I4(Diesel)


Timing Chain

2.4 L K24W I4(Gasoline)
1.5 L L15B7 I4 (Turbo)(Gasoline)

Timing Chain

1.5 L L15BE turbo I4 (RS3/4)(Gasoline)
2.0 L LFA1 I4 (RS5/6)(gasoline Hybrid)
190Timing Chain

As you can see from the table above, all Honda CR-Vs that used “B” series engines have timing belts. All Honda CR-Vs that used other than “B” series engines, in contrast, have timing chains.

Timing Belt vs. Timing Chain

You are now aware of whether your Honda CR-V engine uses a timing belt or chain. But how do the two differ from one another?  

The timing chain is made completely of metal. But the timing belt is made of rubber, nylon, or neoprene. 

As a result timing belts are considerably lighter than timing chains. This improves the fuel efficiency.

However, the timing belt wears out faster. Every 60,000 to 100,000 miles, most cars need to have their timing belts replaced whereas timing chains can last from 80,000 miles to 120,000 miles. In some cars, it can even last up to the engine’s lifetime if maintained properly.

The belt is quite vulnerable to slippage as well. This is because the teeth of the belt could slip from the gears. This can easily desynchronize the camshaft and crankshaft, potentially causing engine damage.

But the possibility of the timing chain slipping and elongation is much lower than the timing belt. However, the chain requires proper maintenance to stay in good condition. For example, as it has metal-to-metal contact the chain requires regular lubrication to reduce friction.

In addition, the belt is significantly quieter than the timing chain as there is no metal-to-metal contact. But the timing chain will cause significant noise. Although, in modern cars, these noises are minimized by using a hydraulic timing chain tensioner. 

Furthermore, the timing belt is comparatively cheaper than the timing chain. Timing belts made by Original Equipment Manufacturers are frequently priced under $50. Timing chains on the other hand can range from $80 to $250 depending on the manufacturer and car model.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to say whether your vehicle does have a timing belt or chain. Here’s how you can say whether your Toyota has a timing belt or chain.

Honda CR-V Timing Belt/Timing Chain Replacement Interval

Honda CRVs from earlier models with timing belts have a lifespan of 60,000 to 100,000 miles. Now, this may vary depending on the temperature you normally drive your car.

If you drive the car over 110°F (43°C) in very high temperatures or under – 20°F( -29°C) in very low temperatures then replace the belt at 60,000 miles (U.S.) For Canada, this will be 100,000km.

The mileage limit for a timing belt replacement on the older model cars may have already been reached. You should do a visual inspection of the timing belt if you haven’t changed the belt or don’t know when it was last changed. Another option is to have a mechanic examine it and replace the belt if necessary.

Timing chains, on the other hand, need to be replaced every 80,000 to 120,000 miles. On some models, the timing chain can last up to 200,000 miles, which is practically the whole lifespan of a car. They should be well-maintained to survive that long.

What Happens If the Timing Chain or Belt Goes Bad?

The synchronization of engine components will be in chaos because of a broken timing belt or chain. You could even end up severely damaging your engine. However, the impacts vary depending on the kind of engine your car has. 

In an interference engine, the piston’s movement can interfere with the valves. The piston can move up to the point where the valves usually extend. The timing belt or chains ensures the proper timing when to move these components so that they don’t collide.

If the timing chain or belt malfunctions, pistons can hit the valves because of the sheer inertia and damage them. In some cases, the piston itself will be damaged.

On the other hand, a non-interference engine is the complete opposite of an interference engine. Due to the unique design of the combustion chamber in this engine, the pistons and valves never come into contact under any circumstances.

Because the gap between the pistons and valves ensures no contact working mechanism between them. Therefore, if the timing belt breaks in a non-interference engine, the catastrophic damage is essentially zero aside from the belt.

But for the timing chain, the situation is still hazardous. As chains are made of metal, if they break while the engine is running, other components can get damaged, even in a non-interference engine.


The synchronization of engine components will be in chaos because of a broken timing belt or chain. With timing off in the internal system, the interference engine can face severe damage, but the non-interference engine can avoid it because of its unique design.

Honda CRV Timing Chain/Belt Replacement Cost

The timing chain replacement kits can cost you between $80-$250.This kit usually contains a timing chain, cam tensioner, upper rail, right tensioner guide rail, and left side guide rail. The oil pump chain, oil pump tensioner, and oil pump guide rail are also part of the kit. Make sure you avoid common mistakes while installing or replacing a timing chain/belt.

Labor costs for this replacement can vary depending on your location and your car model. Here are a few estimated costs from a couple of leading garages

Garage NameEstimated Cost (Parts & Labor)
Your Mechanic$435-785
Mr. Tire$440-895
Pep Boys$422-1040

Timing belt replacement, on the other hand, will cost you between $490-600. The cost of labor is expected to be between $280-360, while the cost of a replacement kit is between $190-250.

This kit usually contains a timing belt, timing belt tensioner, water pump with gasket, and three accessory drive belts. It also contains the gaskets  and seals for the camshaft and valves.

This expense can go up if the timing belt/chain is not replaced at its recommended time. You need to be wary of the warning sign of a bad timing chain so you can avoid this extra expense.

What are the Signs of a Bad Timing Belt or Chain?

A bad timing belt or chain can be indicated by a ticking or knocking noise coming from your engine, Check Engine light coming on, engine misfiring, etc.

You will notice a decrease in fuel economy and in engine performance. Unusual RPMs and excessive exhaust smoke can be seen as well if the timing belt or chain is faulty.

In severe cases, with the timing belt or chain completely broken, the engine will stop abruptly or not start at all. 

Tips for Maintaining the Timing Chain of Honda CR-V 

Checking  signs for faulty or bad timing chains can definitely help you avoid accidents. But at the same time, you need to ensure proper maintenance of the timing chain so that it can last a long time.

The engine oil you use plays a vital role in keeping the timing chain in proper working condition. So, you need to ensure that you use the manufacturer’s recommended grade engine oil. This will keep the chain running smoothly and decrease the possibility of wear and tear.

Sometimes we can miss the possible indicators of a bad timing chain. So it’s better to get a professional to check the car right before the recommended replacement time.

A bad-timing chain can cause severe issues if not replaced as soon as possible. Replace the chain as soon as you can if it’s worn-out or damaged.


Will A Timing Chain Cause the Check Engine Light to Turn On?

Yes, a  timing chain can cause the Check Engine light to turn on. A worn timing chain reduces engine performance and increases emissions. The Check Engine light may come on as a result. It’s better to take the car to a mechanic to check the car if this light comes on.

How Long Does the CRV Engine Last?

The Honda CRV engine usually lasts around 15 to 20 years if it is maintained properly. If you consider miles then it should last you 120,000 up to 200,000 miles without any severe issues. This all depends on how well you take care of the engine.

Which Honda CR-V Models are the Best?

The 2005 Honda CR-V and 2006 Honda CR-V are considered the best of the older models. Both of these cars offer a reliable engine with great fuel economy. For a comfortable and smooth ride, these two are mostly recommended. But if the older model is not your first choice you can check out the 2015 Honda CR-V as well. The Continuously Variable Transmission(CVT) option offers a great driving experience.


That concludes our discussion on the Honda CRV timing belt or chain. Hopefully, you figured out whether a timing belt or chain is used in your model.

The Honda CRV rarely faces major issues with the timing belt or timing chain problems. Nevertheless, with time any car is bound to face some issues. Get your Honda CRV checked out by a mechanic as soon as you notice any alarming signs.

Until next time!

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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.