Your 1997 Chevy Cavalier should be equipped with the 2200 SFI 2.2L pushrod OHV Motor, unless it is the Z24 model... If your running the normal 2200 motor your car is using a timing "chain" and not a belt since it a push-rod motor and the actual cam sits right above the crankshaft in the engine block itself. These chains are normally good for the life of the vehicle, unless it has had some extreme wear and tear over the years, your more than likely experiencing ignition or fuel problems if your car seems to be running "off time" On the other hand if your hearing valve clatter this is not a timing problem either... As miles build on your push-rod motor the valve lifters will start to space, unfortunately the 2200 SFI only uses "solid lifters" and not self adjusting "hydraulic lifters" so unless you have had the heads ripped into and the valves routinely shimmed these engines will eventually start to make some racket. Now if your car is the Z24 model of the Cavalier then your running Chevy's first attempt at a DOHC motor predating its now infamous "Eco-Tec" motor. The Z24 model uses a 2.4L DOHC motor that does in fact use a timing belt, in which case should be replaced every 100k miles to avoid breakage and valve damage/timing problems
It depends on what engine you have.
That requires a OBDII engine scanner. You can not use a timing light. The timing is computer controlled.
All 1997 Chevy Cavlier Z24 (2.4 Litre engine) have a timing chain, that typically never needs to be replaced except in case of engine damage. On this vehicle the timing chain also runs the water pump.
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Your 2.2 Liter Chevy engine does not have a cam belt, it has a chain. No regular maintence is required.
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No belt. It has a chain.