car water pump

Water Pump Symptoms, Function & Replacement Cost

In Coolant by Magnus Sellén4 Comments

A vehicle’s engine runs on a specific temperature. This temperature needs to be maintained otherwise the engine can stall and refuse to start up.

The water pump plays an important role in the healthy functioning of the engine. The pump regulates the amount of coolant that goes into the engine. Its job is to constantly supply the engine with fresh and cool liquid from the radiator so the engine can work properly.

However, when the water pump fails, and they do regularly fail, the engine will not be able to get the correct amount of coolant and will heat up. That’s just how water-cooled engines work: if there is no water, the engine cannot survive.

Therefore, a well-functioning water pump is of crucial importance. If it fails, some symptoms will appear, which will prompt you to contact the mechanic to ensure the engine is in good condition.

Signs of a Bad Water Pump

water pump

The symptoms of a failing water pump will tell you whether to visit a mechanic or not.

1. Leaking of Coolant

The water pump comprises a number of gaskets that ensure the coolant stays sealed and that the flow of water is uninterrupted. However, in time, these gaskets can deteriorate and become completely useless, causing the coolant to leak out from under the water pump. If you have a puddle of water or coolant below the front end of your car, you are probably looking at water pump failure and so you need to go to a mechanic.

2. Water Pump’s Pulley Loosens Up

There is a belt placed near the water pump that runs in tandem with the engine. If the water pump is failing, this belt will start making a weird whining noise, which sounds something like a squeak. The loose belt is caused because the bearings in the water pump wear out. If this happens you are looking at a complete replacement of the water pump rather than repair.

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3. Overheating Engine

The primary job of the water pump is to supply the car’s engine with adequate water constantly. If the water pump fails somehow, you will see the temperature gauge rising on the dashboard. This can happen due to a number of reasons, such as thermostat failure or short electrical wiring, but you should always get it checked out by a certified mechanic. Otherwise, you are looking at widespread damage to the head gasket, the cylinders, and pistons, all of which can reduce the overall life of your engine.

4. White Smoke From The Radiator

If you see white smoke coming out of your radiator, you are looking at a clear sign of water pump failure. The steam in the radiator is produced from an overheated engine, which can happen if the water pump is not working perfectly. When faced with this problem, it is better to stay safe and stop driving, wait for the engine to cool down, and try to reach your mechanic.

Problem Symptoms Causes Solutions
Bad Water pump Coolant leakage

Overheating engine

White smoke from radiator (overheating)

Bad water pump bearing

Bad serpentine belt

Replace water pump gaskets

Replace water pump

Possible Solutions

Solving water pump failure is not an easy task. Even though the part itself is small, it requires expert care for proper repair. Therefore, take your car to the mechanic to get your issues sorted out.

Replace the water pump

If a water pump is defective, there is often not much more to do than to replace the entire pump. In some cases, a defective serpentine belt can be the reason why the pump does not work properly. The water pump can often be driven by the timing belt. In these cases, you often have to remove the timing belt as well, which is a difficult job, and do nothing if you do not have the knowledge. You can find water pumps for a good price at Amazon: Water Pumpsir?t=askamastermec 20&l=ur2&o=1

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Use High-Quality Coolant

Maybe the water pump hasn’t failed yet but it is on its way towards failure. This would mean that the water pump is functioning but it is not functioning up to its full efficiency. In such a case, the engine will not be getting enough coolant circulated into the coolant chamber and it will heat up. This can be avoided by using top-grade coolant. If you are using sub-standard coolant it will not only cause problems in your engine but it won’t cool down the engine either. You can also try to bleed your coolant system.

Repair or Replace the Water Pump

When it comes to the water pump, you should know that very often it is not easy to repair. Gaskets are metal sheets that can act as a barrier between opposing fluids such as water and oil. These gaskets can break or burst over time and must be replaced.

When the water pump fails, gaskets are the first thing your mechanic will look at, and the first things he will change. Furthermore, if your water pump is electronically operated, your mechanic might have to check for electronic failures. If they exist, the repair will be short and snappy.

Water Pump Replacement Cost

However, there is one thing that when it goes bad cannot be repaired and that is the water pump bearings. If the bearings in a water pump deteriorate, the water pump will have to be changed entirely.

The water pump is often driven by the timing belt, in these cases, the labor cost will be a lot more because you have to remove and often replace the timing belt when you are replacing the water pump. Most often the water pump is replaced with the timing belt replacement for cars like Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Seat.

The water pump is not expensive but it is not very cheap either, which means you will easily need to spend $100 to $200 for a new water pump. The cost of the water pump is directly related to the make and model of your vehicle. If your car has a bigger engine, it will need more coolant to flow inside and therefore your car will need a bigger water pump.

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Furthermore, the cost of the water pump will be affected by its availability in the market. When a spare part is very rare in the market its prices are high, but when it is easily available you won’t need to pay as much.

However, you will not get away with paying a small amount for the work required to remove and replace a water pump, which is a bit hectic. Your mechanic will have to work very hard to remove the water pump from the engine and for that, he may charge you exorbitant rates. You can expect labor costs equaling $150 – $300 or more.

4 thoughts on “ Water Pump Symptoms, Function & Replacement Cost ”

  1. i am driving a 2 litre toyota condor 2003 model. the problem is that it breaks the water pump while the car is in motion, did that for the second time after replacing new water pump, new radiator and new fan blade.

    what could be the problem

    1. Author

      What do you mean with breaks the water pump? How far can you drive before it brakes? If the water pump is driven by the serpentine belt, make sure that you don’t tighten it too hard!

  2. Water throws from front end of engine what could it be I put in weld on water pipe but it still throws from bottom

  3. Hellow, I have a 2007Pontiac six cyl, terrence, suv. Ove heats when at ideling speed. the radiator eletric fan works, but need to put car in nutural and rev up engine to 1500 or so rpms to bring engine temp down. Im not getting a milk shake in the oil, and it dosent smoke bad out the tailpipe. I put in a can of “blue devil” gasket sealer as a preventavive. I plan to have my mechanic locate and fix the problem. The car has a ton of miles on it! over 300k. What would you look for first if this was your car? i appreciate your answer, thank you!

  4. Due to very high demand and a high amount of comments, you might have trouble getting your comment answered by me. If you want to get fast answers from a certified automotive technician you should ask your questions here: Ask A Mechanic

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