When shopping for a replacement timing belt you might need to choose between these three main brands – Gates, Contitech (also referred to as Continental) and Dayco. How do you choose?
Choosing the Factory Belt
All three of these manufacturers supply vehicle manufacturers with timing belts for installation at the factory. If you purchase an OEM belt from a dealer you may actually see the OEM logo printed right along side the manufacturer logo.
In the photo above you can see the OEM VW logo printed right next to the Contitech logo. This belt was purchased at a VW dealership. These markings mean that Contitech manfuactured this belt for VW to sell via their dealership network.
As we mentioned above, all three of these manufacturers supply factory belts, so all of them will be “genuine” or “factory” quality belts, designed to survive the factory service interval.
Contitech vs. Continental
Continental is a global brand made up of a wide variety of largely rubber-focused industries. You’ve probably see Continental tires at your local tire shop, they even make tires for bikes! Contitech is the division and trade name for all sorts of belt manufacturing – timing, serpentine, v-belts etc. So, if you see that a Continental belt is advertised you can be sure it is a Contitech branded belt – and that Contitech belts are made by Continental!
The Dayco Question
Dayco timing belts stand out for their white-colored interior, which is made up of a special proprietary kevlar weave. Dayco belts also use a patentend tooth profile – if you look at the tooth you can see that the middle of the tooth is indented, making a sort of “W” shape.
Dayco claims that these unique qualities make their belts more durable than their competitors. In our experience, however, belts by Gates and Continental are just as reliable through the full service interval. (we don’t test belts beyond the service interval, for obvious reasons, and neither should you!)
The unique Dayco design does come with a drawback, however – flexibility. Brand new Dayco belts are much less flexible, and therefore much harder to work with, than belts from Gates or Continental. Depending on the application, this may make installing a Dayco belt much more difficult. For example, on the ALH engine (VW TDI) the belt installs very tight, meaning the stiffness of the Dayco belt may prevent a novice from being able to install the belt at all!