Mazda 3 Timing Belt Or Chain? Find Out! 

Mazda 3 vehicles released from 2004 till now predominantly use a timing chain . However, a few models in 2nd generation Mazda 3 diesel engines use a timing belt. Whether it’s a 4-door sedan or a 5-door hatchback with naturally aspirated or turbocharged engines, all gasoline Mazda 3 engines use timing chains.

To find out which timing chain is suitable for your trim, and how much it will cost you, continue reading Mazda 3 timing belt or chain

Mazda 3 Timing Belt Or Chain: Quick Overview 

Here is a brief overview of timing chain types and related costs of all Mazda 3 vehicles. 

Mazda 3 Model YearsEngine TypeTiming Belt/ ChainOEM of Timing ChainCost
2004-20102 L I4Timing Chain1F20-14-151A$33-35
2004- 20082.3 L I4Timing ChainL305-12-201$60-
2008-20132.3, 2,5 L I4Timing ChainL3G3-14-151$75-90
2012-20132 L I4Timing ChainLF7A-12-201
2013-20182 L I4Timing ChainPE02-14-151$45-50
2012-20212 L I4Timing ChainPEDD-12-201
2014-20212.5 L I4, TurboTiming ChainPY02-12-201A$68-72
2003-20131.6 L MZ BK, BL
Timing Belt 
2003-20132L MZR CD BKTiming Belt RF7J12205$30-35
2003-20132.2L MZR CD BLTiming Belt 7 303 414$26-28

All Mazda 3 vehicles whether it’s a sedan or a hatchback uses a timing chain instead of a timing belt. From 2.0L inline (I4) engines to 2.5L turbocharged engines, all of them have timing chains to synchronize the movement between the camshaft and the crankshaft. 

Depending on the production year, the OEM number of timing chains and cost range are shown in the table. 

Does Mazda 3 Have Timing Belt Or Chain

All Mazda 3 vehicles that were released in the USA, use a timing chain. Mazda 3 sedans and hatchbacks both use 4-cylinder engines that run on gasoline. Available engine configurations are, 2 L, 2.3L, and 2.5 L flat engines and a powerful 2.5L turbocharged engine. 

Does Mazda 3 Have Timing Belt Or Chain

Mazda 3 Timing Chain Replacement Cost And Interval

Usually Mazda 3 timing chains don’t need a replacement for the lifetime of a vehicle. However, as a rule of thumb, timing chains can run well over 100,000 miles. It is recommended to replace the timing chain if your Mazda 3 has already crossed this threshold.  

To change the timing belt, the service charge varies and it can range from $400 to $1000. 

Symptoms of a Bad Timing Chain 

There are several warning signs when a timing chain is going bad. Here you can see the symptoms and reasons at a glance. 

Bad Timing Chain SymptomsReasons
Engine will not start Sudden Engine Failure Check Engine Light ONBroken Timing Chain 
High Fuel Consumption Engine Overheating Timing Chain Noise Engine Misfire Bad Timing Chain 

If your timing chain is completely broken, you can’t start your vehicle since the crankshaft won’t spin. 

But what happens if your timing chain breaks while driving? If your timing chain breaks suddenly while driving then your vehicle will stop abruptly. 

Mazda 3 has both interference and non-interference engines. In an interference engine, if the timing belt or chain fails, the pistons can collide with the valves, causing significant damage to the engine.

In a non-interference engine, in case of timing chain failure, the engine will not sustain significant damage. 

However, a bad timing chain will have less severe issues such as engine overheating, misfiring, timing chain noise, and high fuel consumption. Usually, you are not supposed to hear your timing chain.

That’s why when the timing chain makes a rattle, grinding, or tapping noise, it means something is wrong with your timing chain. A worn-out timing chain can make noise as well. It’s important to diagnose the noise and look for the required solution.

So, what type of noise does a worn-out timing chain make? 

A worn timing chain will make a distinct squealing sound. Also, you might hear noise from engine cylinders because of misfiring. Bad timing chains can’t synchronize the camshaft and crankshaft so misfiring happens. You need to replace your timing chain when this happens. 

Engine misfire will contribute to excessive heat in the engine chamber, and at the same time, you will notice that your fuel consumption is higher than usual. All of these phenomena point towards a bad timing chain. 


A bad timing chain won’t fail catastrophically without giving you any sign. So, look out for any unusual noise coming from your engine compartment. Replace your worn timing chains as soon as possible before it severely damages your engine.

Why Does Mazda 3 Mostly Use a Timing Chain Instead of a Belt?

Mazda 3 uses a timing chain instead of timing belts since timing chains last longer, handle powerful engines better and give a loud warning before breaking. 

Replacing the timing belt or chain is a major hassle for drivers and costs a lot of money. Naturally, you would want one that lasts as long as your vehicle. Unless you are driving aggressively and are careless about maintenance, the timing chain will last as long as the vehicle. 

Mazda 3 timing chains are equipped to handle powerful engines at their highest torque and HP. Timing chains are notorious for their strength and ability to handle high revolution engines (high engine rpm). Another amazing fact about Mazda 3 timing chains is that they make loud rattling noise before breaking.

This rattle is a way to notify you to park your vehicle safely before the timing chain breaks completely. You won’t get this type of failure notification with a timing belt.

If you’d like to know whether a Lexus RX 350 comes with a timing belt or a chain, you can check this out anytime.


Mazda 3 uses timing chains instead of timing belts because of its longevity, ability to handle powerful engines, and loud notification before failure. 

Tips To Maintain Timing Chain In Mazda 3

To maintain the timing chain of Mazda 3, you can follow these tips: 

  1. Lubricate your timing chain properly: Lubricating timing chains are extremely important for their optimal performance. Use quality engine oil and follow the recommended interval for an oil change. 
  1. Fix timing chain tension: Check the timing chain tension with a tensioner and fix it so it’s not too loose or not too tight. Check and replace (if needed) your timing chain tension every 100,000 miles. 
  1. Keep track of your timing chain replacement: If you are using an old vehicle or you are using a 2nd hand car, keep track of your timing chain replacement history. Make sure you change your timing chain before causing major damage to your engine. 

Mazda 3 Sedan and Hatchback these days run on 2 to 2.5 L gasoline engines that use timing chains to coordinate the camshaft and crankshaft rotation. It is highly efficient in terms of longevity and with basic maintenance, it runs powerful engines smoothly.  

Tips To Maintain Timing Chain In Mazda 3 Infographic


Will My Car Run Better With New Timing Chain?

Yes. Your car will run better with a new timing chain. A worn-out timing chain will give you high fuel consumption and can break down completely. So, it is imperative you replace your timing chain with a new one. 

Do Timing Chains Last Forever?

No, timing chains don’t last forever. It can fail due to wear and tear and many other factors. However, with good maintenance, a timing chain lasts as long as the vehicle. 

What Causes A Timing Chain Break While Driving?

Due to wear and fatigue over a long time, a timing chain might break while driving. Usually, it will make a loud rattling sound before a complete breakdown. 

Bottom Line

Mazda 3 timing belt or chain is a frequently asked question in automotive forums and we hope this piece cleared your confusion. If you find this article helpful and informative regarding the timing belt or chain in Mazda 3, please leave a comment below. 

Then, until next time!

1 thought on “Mazda 3 Timing Belt Or Chain? Find Out! ”

  1. Yes, the Mazda 3 comes with a timing chain, which offers durability and low maintenance compared to a timing belt – great choice for hassle-free driving!


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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.

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Talha Atta

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