I just purchased a 2000 Miata with 127,000 miles on it and have no way of knowing if the timing belt and water pump have been changed. Is there an easy way for either a mechanic or myself to check?
Not really. Does previous owner have paper work showing this repair? You can also look around engine block for writing from a mechanic noting type and date/mileage at time of repairs, with something as major as a timing chain some will make a note under the hood. If you pull a timing cover or water pump, you may also see if it is a factory gasket or an aftermarket gasket, but then at that point you've already invested time/money in repair.
Save yourself some grief and have the timing belt, idler, tensioner and water pump replaced.
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