So, to keep the crankshaft and camshaft(s) synced, both are linked via the timing belt. Or, as AAMCO reports, depending on what kind of vehicle you have, a timing chain. The belt is quieter and doesn’t have to be lubricated. But the chain is made of metal, which lasts longer. Regardless, at some point, due to stretching and wear, they’ll have to be replaced. Typically, for a timing belt, that’s after 60,000-100,000 miles.
Note, the timing belt isn’t the same as the serpentine (‘drive’) belt, Autoblog explains. True, both are connected to the crankshaft. However, the former is located inside the engine, albeit by the outer wall. The latter is found externally, and drives many of the car’s accessories, like the alternator, power steering pump, and A/C pump.
But, as NAPA explains, the timing belt sometimes pulls double-duty. Not only does it keep the crankshaft and camshaft(s) synced, it sometimes also drives the water pump.
Why replace the water pump and timing belt?
Technically, replacing the water pump with the timing belt isn’t strictly necessary, Central Automotive reports. If your coolant isn’t leaking and your engine isn’t overheating, the water pump is still fine. However, Carfax explains, there are some reasons why replacing the water pump and timing belt together is a good idea.
For one, the water pump’s lifespan is typically 60,000-100,000 miles. And if the timing belt fails, whether due to simple age, or the failure of a tension pulley or bearing, the water pump will likely fail along with it.