When changing a timing belt, what other parts are:

  1. Always changed with it ( as in they always have to be replaced ) ?
  2. Often, but not always changed with it ( depending on how worn they are )?

For example, my mechanic said he would also inspect the water pump and might have to replace that also.

I'm not sure if this can be answered in general, or I need to relate this to a specific vehicle.

  • I agree with the water pump recommendation. However, water pumps –particularly rebuilt ones- have a small but worrisome tendency towards infant mortality, i.e. the failure rate is initially higher. Higher quality is a good investment.
    – TomO
    Apr 5, 2017 at 21:52

3 Answers 3


Obviously the timing belt needs to be replaced. Then they could change any followers or guides which mechanically get worn out. I would always recommend getting the water pump changed if it is driven off of the belt, or located in the same vicinity as the belt. The reason for this is, if you have to remove everything to replace the pump (ie: timing cover, belt, followers, re-time the camshaft(s), etc) to do the work, if the pump were to go out at another time, you'll end up spending for a second round of labor to get it replaced. Labor is the biggest part of the bill on doing the timing belt. In most cases, it is literally five to ten more minutes of work to replace the pump. Most timing belt kits come with a water pump. The cost of most of them are very incidental to the overall cost of getting the timing belt replace. For peace of mind sake, just do the pump at the same time. You could view changing the water pump as pro-active maintenance as you're doing it before it fails.

  • What are the follower or guides? Do all these things usually come in a timing belt kit? Is OEM recommended on something like this or are cheaper third party parts usually OK? Feb 26, 2015 at 19:49
  • @RobertS.Barnes ... If it needs changed for any particular vehicle, it will usually come in the kit. For any vehicle you are considering doing the work on, become completely fluent in how it's done prior to attempting it. This will give you the best idea whether you can even do it, as well as all of the parts involved. There are vehicles like a lot of Jaguars which I wouldn't even attempt (though it has chains instead of belts). With them, if you get one thing wrong, it will lunch the entire engine. Feb 26, 2015 at 23:10
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    @rhill45 ... ummm ... You should never pull the head unless the gasket is blown or you are rebuilding the engine. This falls under the adage if it ain't broke don't fix it. Feb 27, 2015 at 10:26
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    @Paulster2 "a follower is (probably my term) for the part which can take up slack in the belt." That's usually referred to as a tensioner in all the cars I have dealt with...
    – Nick C
    Feb 27, 2015 at 10:39
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    Don't forget cam and crank oil seals while you're in there, too. Another thing you'd have to do the whole job over again for. @RobertS.Barnes
    – jscs
    Mar 1, 2015 at 9:43

Timing belt, timing belt tensioner, spark plugs and maybe spark plug wires, water pump, thermostat and all other belts. I also at that time drain my transmission fluid (not flush).


The alternator belt. When it shreds it can entwine with the timing belt. Bend valves and require a head skim. Very expensive. Or terminal.

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