Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

Does My Toyota Have A Timing Belt Or A Timing Chain?

Timing Belts vs. Timing Chains (and why it matters)


Do you know whether or not your vehicle has a timing belt or a timing chain?

Timing Chain vs Timing Belt

Do you care?


While no one probably blames you if you don’t know, but your Toyota’s health depends on it.


This is something important to know!


But that’s okay. After reading this nifty little article you will be in the know and can tell all your friends about your timing belt or chain… and visit the service department less often.


You’ll thank me later.





A Bit of Background


If you’re completely unaware of the concept of mechanical timing, don’t panic.


I’ve got you covered.




Mechanical timing (in very basic terms) is the relationship between the rotation of the crankshaft and camshaft(s).



Chain vs Belt

I know. Bear with me.


This is basically just how the movement of the valves and pistons inside the cylinders are controlled.


Timing belts and timing chains are the devices that connect the crankshaft to the camshaft(s).


Make a little more sense?



So What’s the Difference?


Here’s where knowing the difference between timing belts and timing chains comes in handy.


In other words, this is why you should care.


Timing belts are made of rubber and often have fiberglass or Kevlar woven in for extra strength.


They tend to be very quiet when they rotate, but they do wear out and have to be replaced over time (between 60,000 and 100,000 miles).


Fun fact of the day: Pontiac was the first to release this engine design in 1966.


I am just loading you up with conversation starters, my friend.




Timing chains, on the other hand, look a lot like a fancy bicycle chain.


They last a long time. Some manufacturers recommend replacing them at certain mileage or time intervals, while others say they are good for life.


The downfall of these devices, however, is that they have a tendency to be noisy.


And if it breaks it has the potential to destroy your engine.




Just something to keep in mind.



If you have any other questions, just take a look at the image below. That should be of help to you.


Happy driving, and don’t forget about that Pontiac fact!



 Model Engine Year  Belt / Chain / Gear
 4Runner  4-Cylinder  1990-2000, 2010  Chain
   V6  1990-2002  Belt
   V6  2003-2014  Chain
   V8  2003-2009  Belt
 Avalon  V6  1995-2004   Belt 
   V6  2005-2014  Chain
 Avalon Hybrid   4-Cylinder   2013-2014  Chain
 Camry  All  1990-2001  Belt
   4-Cylinder  2002-2014  Chain
   V6  1990-2006  Belt
   V6  2007-2014  Chain
 Camry Hybrid  4-Cylinder  2007-2014  Chain
 Celica  4-Cylinder  1990-1999   Belt
   4-Cylinder  2000-2005  Chain
 Corolla  4-Cylinder  1990-1997   Belt
   4-Cylinder  1998-2014  Chain
 Cressida  L6  1990-1992   Belt
 Echo  4-Cylinder  2000-2005   Chain
 FJ Cruiser  V6  2007-2014  Chain
 Highlander  4-Cylinder  2001-2007, 2009-2014  Chain
   V6  2001-2007  Belt
   V6  2008-2014  Chain
 Highlander Hybrid  V6  2006-2010   Belt
   V6  2011-2014  Chain
 Land Cruiser  L6  1990-1992   Gear
   L6  1993-1997  Chain
   V8  1998-2007  Belt
   V8  2008-2014  Chain
 Matrix   4-Cylinder  2003-2013  Chain
 MR2  4-Cylinder  1990-1995   Belt
 MR2 Spyder  4-Cylinder  2000-2005   Chain
 Paseo  4-Cylinder  1992-1997   Belt
 Previa  4-Cylinder  1991-1997   Chain
 Prius  4-Cylinder  2001-2014   Chain
 Prius c  4-Cylinder  2012-2014  Chain
 Prius v  4-Cylinder  2012-2014  Chain
 Prius Plug-in  4-Cylinder  2012-2014  Chain
 RAV4  4-Cylinder  1996-2000   Belt
   4-Cylinder  2001-2014  Chain
   V6  2006-2012  Chain
 Sequoia  4.7 V8  2001-2009  Belt
   4.6 V8  2010-2012  Chain
   5.7 V8  2008-2014  Chain
 Sienna  V6  1998-2006   Belt
   V6  2007-2014  Chain
   4-Cylinder  2011-2012  Chain
 Solara  4-Cylinder  1999-2001   Belt
   V6  1999-2009  Belt
   4-Cylinder  2002-2008  Chain
 Supra  L6  1990-1998   Belt
 T100  4-Cylinder  1995-1998   Chain
   V6  1993-1998  Belt
 Tacoma  4-Cylinder  1995-2014  Chain
   V6  1995-2004  Belt
   V6  2005-2014  Chain
 Tercel  4-Cylinder  1990-1998   Belt
 Truck  4-Cylinder  1990-1995  Chain
   V6  1990-1995  Belt
 Tundra  V6  2000-2004   Belt
   4.7 V8  2000-2009  Belt
   V6  2005-2014  Chain
   5.7 V8   2007-2014  Chain 
   4.6 V8  2010-2014  Chain
 Venza  All  2009-2014  Chain
 Yaris  4-Cylinder  2007-2014  Chain

Which Is Right For Me, Leasing Or Buying?


Seems like an age-old question, doesn’t it?

Is Leasing Or Buying A Vehicle Better

Well, we’re going to give you some rare insights and help you determine which option is better for YOU.


Each option has its advantage and some potential disadvantages as well.


In certain situations leasing can have some excellent benefits. Same with buying to own.


But what situations and circumstances are best for each one of us? And are there certain situations where you should avoid one or the other?


Let’s dive deeper into it and uncover some of the details.


Appreciating vs Depreciating Assets


There’s a good chance you’ve read or heard this before, ‘If it appreciates, buy it. If it depreciates, lease it.’


On the surface it looks fine. It’s pretty straightforward and it’s actually the bedrock of sound investing. We want to own things that go up in value.


But what happens when we look at the depreciation side?


When it comes to automobiles, as soon as a new car, truck or SUV is driven off the lot, it loses value.


One major benefit of leasing is that you are not tied to this initial depreciation. You don’t own it and you are not investing in an asset that’s depreciating.


This is a very good thing.


When you look long term, a lease will end and so will financing on your car. When the lease ends, you’ll have the option to purchase the vehicle or you can trade it in and move on to the next one.


When an auto loan ends, you keep your vehicle and there are no additional monthly payments.


The biggest thing you should consider here is the ongoing monthly payment.


It’s a great thing not to own that depreciation, but you should account for a continuing monthly payment. If you enjoy moving into a new vehicle every two to three years and don’t mind a monthly car payment, then leasing is an excellent option.


Service Costs – One Thing You Probably Haven’t Considered


Service costs are one thing most people never consider when deciding to lease or buy. But everyone should and here’s why…


Service costs are typically much less when you lease. You’re only going to drive the car for two or three years before the lease is up. In that time you should only encounter the very basic service needs.


Sure you’re going to need oil changes here and there, but not a whole lot more than that.


When you buy a vehicle you typically will own it for longer than a lease. In that time, you’ll need to take on larger service and maintenance costs.


Instead of just paying for oil changes, you will likely need to purchase new tires, have certain fluids, like transmission fluid, flushed, replace brakes and rotors, have your vehicle tuned up, and so on.


This is not necessarily a bad thing and someone who is diligent with servicing their vehicle timely and properly can reduce costs. They will never be totally eliminated though.


Try not to view this in terms of a right or wrong, but use this to help understand your current situation and make the best decision for yourself.


A Look At The Advantages & Disadvantages


To keep it simple, we’re going to break down some of the advantages of both leasing and buying.


Advantages of Leasing:


  • Drive a new vehicle every two to three years
  • Drive a higher quality (higher trim level) vehicle for a lower monthly payment
  • Typically requires a lower down payment than buying
  • Reduced service costs
  • Tax benefit in that you only pay sales tax on the portion of the car you pay for
  • Business benefit for business owners to write off the monthly payment as a business expense


Disadvantages of Leasing:


  • Limited mileage – typically lease agreements require that you drive less than 12,000 or 15,000 miles a year. Should you exceed this, you’ll pay for excess mileage at the close of the lease
  • When the lease is up, you don’t own the vehicle. You can move to purchase it or move into another lease
  • There are potential wear and tear charges at the end of the lease
  • It’s not always simple to end a lease before the term is up


Advantages of Buying:


  • Unless you trade your vehicle in often, it is typically less expensive than leasing in the long run
  • You have the option to customize your vehicle any way you would like
  • You have more options with the vehicle in terms of selling it, trading it in or continuing to own it at any time
  • Better option for drivers that are going to use more than 15,000 miles per year.


Disadvantages of Buying:


  • Buying usually requires a larger down payment than leasing and typically results in a monthly payment that is higher than a lease payment
  • Service costs should be reasonable while the vehicle is under factory warranty, but when the warranty expires, you are responsible for all service and maintenance costs.
  • When you want another car you need to sell or trade-in your existing vehicle
  • You are investing in a vehicle whose value is only going to go down


The trick with this information is not to blanket one option as being right or wrong. Leasing a vehicle is not always the ‘right’ option, but it is absolute the right option for certain people. The same goes with buying a vehicle.


Use this information and apply it to your own situation, your needs and finances. Doing so will ultimately bring you the most benefit when making this decision.


Buying A New Car? Here Are 6 Questions You Should Ask


 New car buying tips

It’s finally here.


Some no-nonsense information that will benefit you while purchasing your next new car.


We know how exciting it is to drive away from the dealership in a new car, but we also see some people get frustrated during the process.


There’s no need to stress about any of it. Buying a car should be fun.


And to make sure you have more confidence in the process, here are some questions to ask when purchase a new car.


Questions About The Financing



  • What Are The Total Of Payments?

    The total of payments are part of your auto loan. Essentially they are going to give you the main details – the amount financed, the monthly payment, the interest rate and the length of the loan. These details will be determined in large part by your credit, but it is important information to know.

  • What Fees Are Being Incurred?

    When a vehicle is purchased there are certain unavoidable fees – a documentation fee, a recording fee and sales tax. There is a unique opportunity when you know the fees involved. Many times these fees are added to the car loan and paid off over time. You do have the option, though, to pay them upfront and save on the interest.



Questions To Ask About The Vehicle Itself



  • Is it a demo?

    Demo vehicles are typically driven by dealership employees and used to give customers test drives before purchasing a vehicle. Buying a demo is not a bad thing. In fact, it can be a way to get additional savings. You want to make sure you know if the vehicle you’re purchasing as new has miles on it.

  • Is there any damage?

    We know you’re thinking it’s an absurd question. In a sense it is. A new vehicle is totally fresh and untouched. It is, but remember that a vehicle needs to make it from the manufacturer to the dealership and it’s not impossible that it got a small ding or scratch. It’s highly unlikely there’s any kind of damage, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.



Miscellaneous Questions



  • What Is The Warranty?

    There are a couple key warranty details you should be aware of. First, you need to know the essentials and what is covered. Is it a 3-year, 36,000 mile warranty? What does it cover and, more importantly, what doesn’t it cover? Second, find out if any service is included.

  • Do I Love This Car?

    This is really where the rubber meets the road. You’re likely going to be driving your new car daily so you want to make sure you’re extremely happy with it. If you’ve found the one you truly want, go for it!



We understand the car buying process may be a little confusing and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. These simple questions give you a great foundation to build from. Use them and be confident in your new vehicle purchase.

5 Fuel Efficient Driving Techniques That Really Work

Everyone’s trying to save money on gas these days. But did you know that your own driving habits can actually affect your fuel consumption by as much as 25 percent? Check out these five tips for fuel efficient driving and watch the savings add up:

1. Don’t be a lead foot. Putting the “pedal to the metal” wastes gas because the harder you accelerate the more fuel waste. Press the accelerator pedal gently. A good rule of thumb for optimal fuel efficient driving is to take about five seconds to accelerate your vehicle up to 15 miles per hour from a stop. For a manual transmission, use a moderate throttle position and shift between 2,000 and 2,500 RPMs.

2. Keep it steady. Dips in speed combined with spurts of acceleration can increase your fuel use by up to 20 percent. One easy fuel efficient driving technique is using cruise control on the highway.

3. Stay alert. Keep your vehicle’s momentum by planning your maneuvers ahead of time. Pay attention to the road ahead, anticipate the movements of pedestrians and other drivers, and keep a safe distance from the car in front of you. This will save you gas and keep you safer on the road.

4. Don’t slam on the brakes. Sometimes, to avoid an accident, you have no choice. But in regular driving situations, coasting toward a stop sign or red light helps you conserve fuel and save money. It’s not only a fuel efficient driving habit, it’s also easier on your tires and brakes, which helps you save on maintenance and repair costs.

5. Slow down. While every model is different, most vehicles’ gas mileage starts to tank at speeds above 50 mph. Look at it like this: every 5 MPH you drive over 50 MPH is like paying an extra quarter for a gallon of gas. Slowing down can also save you money on those speeding tickets and insurance costs.

Aside from exercising these fuel efficient driving techniques, keeping your tires properly inflated and following your vehicle’s maintenance schedule will also help you save money on gas.

So no that you’re a professional, what are you waiting for? Come to Arlington Toyota in Palatine and take a test drive or schedule a maintenance appointment!

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