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 is the Water Pump?

But first! We need to know the definition of the water pump. In any single car, the engine must be set in the right level of temperature in order for it to work normally, and car owners can see this in the manual. And in order to maintain the exact right range of temperature, the drivers must find the way to cool down the engine whenever the temperature rises. Therefore, the manufacturers create a water pump.

This car component will be responsible for maintaining the proper temperature of the engine. If something wrong happened with the water pump, the engine will also be affected. As a result, it affects the performance of your vehicle. 

On the other hand, the problems that happen with your water pump are usually significant. They are very serious and might damage your engine. For that reason, car owners must understand the signs of bad water pump with the purpose of avoiding high repair costs.  

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 (Photo Source: napaonline)

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. (Photo Source: reference)

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. (Photo Source: medium)

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.

6. Pump Rust 

In many cases, the coolant might leak, but they leak very slow. New car owners might think that this is the good thing, since you will not get outflow coolant right? However, most of the time it is impossible to know by checking under the car for a water puddle. And this slow coolant leak will lead to pump rust. 

Whenever you need to check for signs of bad water pump, car owners must look around for cavitation or pitting. These are caused by the coolant leak. 

7. Holes on The Dry Side of the Water Pump

Last but certainly not least, you might see holes on the water pump. No matter the condition of your vehicle, your water pump will get older. And over time, the outer seals start breaking and deteriorating. If car owners even check the dry side of the water pump, there might be some holes. And that is one of the signs of bad water pump. For this reason, drivers must take their dear car to the mechanic as fast as possible.  

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.

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?