- A lot of heat is generated when an engine works. To function properly, an engine requires a moderate temperature.
- To provide a moderate temperature, a cooling system is attached to it.
- The water pump is the main component of the cooling system.
- A bad or failing water pump can cause engine trouble.
- Coolant leaking out, engine overheating, decrease in coolant level, and a whining sound is the common signs of a bad water pump.
- Factors like a damaged seal, obstruction in the coolant passage, loose water pump pulley, misaligned drive belt, worn out bearing or shaft, faulty impeller, and worn out gaskets cause the water pump failure.
- If you don’t want to risk breaking down, replace your water pump before it’s too late.
What is a Water Pump?
Engines heat up because of the friction between the engine parts. When the engine parts rub against each other, friction and heat are produced. When the engine works, the amount of heat generated increases. Excessive heat must be eliminated for the engine to continue working correctly. If the water pump goes wrong or fails, the engine overheats and eventually gets damaged.
8 Common Signs Your Water Pump May Be Going Bad
A failing water pump always leaves some clues; however, it’s up to you to take their cognizance. Here are some of the most common signs that you should notice:
1. Having your check engine light on
A red warning light on your dashboard is never a good sign. The check engine light indicates an issue with the engine that needs to be addressed and corrected. When the water pump, considering the engine’s heart, starts to fail, the check engine light automatically turns on.
2. Leak from the Weep Hole
Most of the water pumps have a weep hole. This hole is designed for the liquid to escape in the event of wear and tear inside the water pump. However, excessive wear and tear inside the water pump trigger a leak out of the weep hole. Behind the weep hole, there are specific seals. These seals prevent the coolant from seeping out. Unfortunately, a bad or contaminated coolant damages these seals, and the liquid trapped inside starts seeping through the weep hole.
3. Engine Overheating
Engine overheating is a common sign that your water pump may be going bad. An engine requires a moderate temperature level to work, and the water pump ensures that the temperature does not exceed the required level. Unfortunately, the engine overheats when the temperature rises due to a bad water pump.
4. Whining Sound
There is a belt known as a serpentine belt, and it transports power to some of the engine accessories. When this belt becomes loose, it creates a whining sound. It gets louder with the increased acceleration. For example, when the water pump pulley becomes loose due to wear and tear, it causes the serpentine belt to get open and make a whining noise.
5. Coolant Leak
A puddle of leaking coolant below the vehicle indicates that the water pump has gone bad and is close to failure. A bad water pup fails to keep the coolant inside and leaks out the coolant.
6. Water Pump Rust and Corrosion
Contaminated coolant can not only corrode the internal system of the water pump but also generate rust in the absence of a suitable pressure plug. Corrosion and rust indicate that the water pump cannot cool down the engine.
7. Low Coolant level
Low coolant levels can signal that a water pump is going bad. For example, when the pump starts to break down, the coolant level drops because the coolant either starts turning into steam and evaporates or seeps out through the damaged gaskets.
8. Steam comes out from Under the Hood
Steam from under the hood is a clear sign that engine is overheating. An engine never overheats in the presence of a working water pump. Whenever the pump fails to perform its duty, the engine overheats, and steam comes out.
Causes of Water Pump Failure
Water pumps are the most common cause of engine failure. Therefore, it is essential to understand the causes of water pump failure to take preventive measures to reduce the risk. There are many causes for water pump failure, but in this article, we will discuss some of them.
One of the common causes of water pump failure is when there is a leak in the seal or gasket . A leak in the seal not only leads to the loss of coolant but also causes forming of bubbles in the coolant. Loss of coolant and forming of bubbles disrupt the performance of the water pump.
Obstruction in the coolant passage
Another cause for engine water pump failure is when there is an obstruction in the coolant passage. Rust, dirt, and sedimentation are some elements that obstruct the coolant passage and keep the water pump from functioning correctly.
Misaligned Drive Belt
A misaligned drive belt also causes the water pump failure. When a water pump is tight more than required, extensive pressure is put on the water pump bearing, and it wears out too early. On the other hand, when the drive belt is loose and not tight enough, it fails to move the pulley, and resultantly water pump fails to circulate the coolant through the engine block and radiator.
Worn Out Bearing or Shaft
Worn out bearing and shafts are among the significant causes of water pump failure. Over time bearing gets loose, and the shaft gets rusty. A lousy bearing and shaft disrupt the water pump’s performance and eventually get worse .
The water pump circulates the water through the engine block and radiator with the help of an impeller. A faulty impeller causes the water pump to fail. An impeller is defective when it becomes warped or cracked and has an improper rotation for it has come off or broken off its shaft.
Faulty gasket between the pump and engine block
However, coolant seeps out when the gasket becomes faulty, and factors like dust also get inside and contaminate the coolant. Resultantly, the water pump fails to perform correctly.
The cost of water pump replacement varies depending on the vehicle make, model and location. However, some cars’ average replacement cost is listed below.