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Bad Water Pump Symptoms That You Should NOT Ignore

The water pump is the reason why your engine stays cool and the cooling system works well. However, a bad water pump can be catastrophic. Don’t worry, there are a few bad water pump symptoms that you can diagnose easily.

So. Let’s find out without delay!

What Are The Functions Of The Water Pump?

Before learning about signs of a bad water pump, it is essential for you to know what water pump is and what it does in a car.

In hot summer day, your car needs to have a constant coolant flow feeded from the radiator throughout the engine to make sure it will run cool. The water pump is the principal element which maintains this flow. If the water pump runs correctly, your car will be kept at a constant running temperature, operate smoothly and take you to wherever you want with ease. When there are some signs of a bad water pump happened to your car, it can result in many serious engine problems.

bad water pump symptoms
The function of the water pump

From the first time the water-cooled (as opposed to air-cooled) engine debuted, lots of auto experts thought the water pump circulating coolant through the engine block was as important for protecting engine as oil. Until today, this viewpoint is still true even as technology enhances over decades to make a more effective cooling systems in modern cars. The water pump plays an vital role in ensuring the whole system work. It’s an impeller pump and is commonly located below the timing belt cover on the side of the engine. The engine’s drive belt is used to run the pump – as the belt runs, the pump runs. Blades on the water pump push coolant oil to run through the engine block and come back to the radiator to be cooled by a forced air cooling fan.

Though modern technologies create water pumps with long lifespan, it doesn’t mean these pumps can not be unbreakable. Like many other mechanical equipments, these pumps will make some symptoms of wearing out to warn its owners.

What Are The Bad Water Pump Symptoms?

After learning about the functions of the water pumps, now it’s time to learn about some signs of water pump failure. Can you drive a car with a bad water pump? Let’s go now.

1. Unusual Sounds

Are you hearing some bizarre noise from the pump? If yes, this is the indication of the loose belt of the water pump, which is increasing the rushing. The loose belt results in a whining sound while circulating inside the pump. Damaged bearing or loose pulley of the water pump are two major reasons for the belt to get baggy. When noticing bad water pump noise, you should do a maintenance as fast as possible. This is one of the bad water pump symptoms, which you should take care of.

Find the signs of a bad water pump
Important signs of a bad water pump.

2. Liquid Outflow

One of these symptoms of a bad water pump is coolant leakage. Leakage from any part of the vehicle is considered bad, all the time. If you find the liquid of ginger or green color on the floor right beside your car, the water pump is the suspect. Coolant is presumed to pour into the shaft, which ultimately locks the shaft to turn. The result of this is dropping circulation belt that makes your car non-derivable. When you run the engine, a few amounts of liquid might leak. As the engine stops the leakage from the water pump stops as well.

3. Smoke Or Steam

The damaged engine, which is near the fan of the pump, creates the smoke or steam coming out of the radiator or hood. If you find smoke from these parts, stop the car immediately. This smoke is highly one of signs of water pump failure. In this situation, the first thing to do is to call the experts or use some maintenance tips that you know. But, never try to restart the car as the engine is hot and would have some real hazardous consequences.

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4. Engine Overheating

Engine overheating is one of the answer for question “How to tell if water pump is bad?” As now you already know that an overheated engine and water pump affect each other, adding coolant to the engine is helpful. As the bad water pump would never let the engine to cool down, hence, increases temperature directly indicates to the bad water pump.

Learn about signs of a bad water pump
Different bad water pump symptoms.

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5. Abnormal Temperature Gauge

If you are not certain about the water pump to be damaged, check the execution of a cooling system of the car through temperature gauge. If the needle is running back and forth, surely there’s a faulty water pump. To handle such situation, let the mechanic look at it.

Things To Know When Replacing A Water Pump

Replacing water pump might not be easy process for common drivers. It requires certain knowledge about car engine as well as lots of tools and machines. If you are professional, you could do it at your garage. If you are not then going to car shops is likely reasonable.

Advice For Replacing A Water Pump

For most of drivers, replacing a water pump is not a DIY job. Because it is placed deep in the car engine and you can not touch it easily. Almost shops recommend replacing the water pump and making other labor intensive repairs such as swapping out the timing belt in unison.

There are some reasons to do that. Firstly, A water pump life time is from 60,000 to 90,000 miles which is about the same of time as a timing belt. Secondly, water pumps are commonly placed behind the timing cover. Most of the water pumps are not visible without removing the timing belt cover and it could lead to significant labor costs when removing that to check the condition of the water pumps. So it makes sense to replace the water pump when you have the timing cover off and are already that deep into a labor-intensive repair. However, it does not mean that you have to replace the water pump when you do a timing belt, anyway it is a good idea.

bad water pump symptoms
It is hard to reach the water pump.

Cost To Replace A Water Pump

The estimated cost for replacing a pump is from $300 to $750, depending on the make and model and labor costs. In detail, the price of a new water pump itself may only costs $50 to $100, but labor can runs between $200 and $450 depending on the difficulty level of reaching the pump.

Check the video below to learn some bad water pump symptoms in detail:

The Verdict

If your vehicle is in any of the above situations, call the specialist as quickly as possible. The situation could be worst if these bad water pump symptoms are ignored or not handled carefully. Driving with a bad water pump definitely causes serious damages to your car engine.

So, stay safe and pay attention to what your car is signifying?

6 Comments
  1. Nicholas Mutwiri says

    1) Does adding water instead of coolant damage a car system in any way?
    2) does mixing car coolant of different filling stations and different colors have any effect to car?

  2. Kelly Page says

    Thanks for informing the importance of water pump maintenance of the car. The water pump plays an important role in the activity of the cooling system of the vehicle. Abnormal water pump could jeopardize the activity of the engine. So, it is really essential to inspect the condition of different components of the cooling system including the water pump at a regular interval. By doing so, we could identify and repair mechanical errors associated with the cooling system in time and ensure the smoother performance of the vehicle.

  3. Bryan says

    I have a 98 EL Ford Station Wagon and I can drive it about 20 kilometres and then it starts to leak water the leak looks like it coming from the middle of the front of car any idea what this could be

  4. Jason Stephens says

    i have a honda civic 2003, i replace fan, head gasket, timing belt, radiator cap, however water keeps pushes up through the reservoir (overflow tank ) and overheating, not sure what else to do….wonder if its the water pump

  5. Q says

    Jason Stephens

    I had similar problem and it was the thermostat that wasn’t opening up. The part costed me like $15.

  6. Glenda says

    I am thinking of buying a1984 Toyota ter cel hatch back with 190000mi. Would you do it. I know it needs a water pump.

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