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Toyota Corolla Timing Components

One of the most beloved brands of automakers is Toyota because of the enduring legacy the company has created for building high-quality cars, trucks, minivans, and SUVs that can last for years. One such model is the Toyota Corolla, a fuel-efficient compact sedan that offers reliability over time when engine maintenance is routinely performed. Understanding how and when the Toyota Corolla timing components should be replaced and what parts and tools are required will help you keep your Corolla driving for miles to come.

What is the lifespan of a factory installed timing belt?

When assessing your Toyota Corolla for repairs of the different timing parts, you will need to consider several different factors, including:

  • Model year: Corollas with a four-cylinder engine built between 1990 and 1997 come equipped with a factory-installed timing belt that has a lifespan of 60,000 miles. Models built after 1998 use a timing chain, which has a lifespan of well past 100,000. They may also last the life of the engine.
  • Vehicle performance: Regardless if your Corolla hasn't hit the lifespan for recommended replacement of its timing belt, changing it for a new one sooner may increase fuel economy and overall horsepower and performance levels.
What is a timing belt and a timing chain?

The timing belt and the timing chain both work to move the camshaft that opens the valves, allowing combustion to occur. While both parts serve the same purpose, however, they differ in construction. Timing belts are constructed of rubber. Chains are constructed of metal and have a similar appearance to the gear chains found on a bicycle.

Because timing belts are made of rubber rather than the metal construction of a chain, they create a lesser amount of noise than a timing chain. However, the rubber does wear out faster and requires replacement during the life of the engine. On the other hand, chains may last for the entirety of the life of the engine.

What tools are needed to replace a Toyota timing belt?

Most replacements can be done with typical tools found in your home automotive repair kits, such as socket wrenches, torque wrenches, and screwdrivers.

One key point in doing any work on your automobile's mechanical parts is the accessibility of the part you wish to replace. If the belt is located in a difficult to reach spot or other parts must be removed to swap out the belt, you may need to have a professional auto mechanic shop do the work for you.

Another key point is the need for a belt tension gauge and understanding what the belt tension should be. This spec should be located in your owner’s guide. You will want to set the right belt tension on your Toyota to ensure part efficiency and effectiveness.