The cooling system in your car is responsible for keeping your engine from overheating, and the water pump is a vital part of this system. However, just like other parts of your engine, the water pump can fail, and when that happens, your car could suffer from reduced performance or even stop functioning. Fortunately, the symptoms of a car water pump failure are fairly easy to spot if you know what to look out for.
What Is a Water Pump?
The water pump in your car functions to pump the coolant into the engine and radiator so the engine remains at a safe and stable temperature while driving. When the water pump fails, there may be insufficient coolant running through the engine causing it to run too hot and overheat. This can lead to the failure of the engine gasket, cylinder head, and other components. If left unfixed, your engine could get so damaged that it requires an overhaul.
5 Car Water Pump Failure Symptoms You Should Know
A car water pump can last for 100,000 to 150,000 kilometers and is generally changed when you replace your timing belt. However, like all mechanical components, it can fail before its time if you don’t regularly maintain your cooling system. By paying attention to the condition of your water pump, you can ensure that it functions properly and prevent damage to your engine. To help you do just that, here are five signs of water pump failure.
1. Leaking Radiator Coolant
The water pump in your car has gaskets that properly seal the pump ensuring a consistent coolant flow. However, the gaskets can dry up over time causing them to crack, break, or wear out. When this happens, the coolant can leak from under the water pump, usually at the center front end of your car.
If you notice a leak under your car, it’s worth getting it checked immediately as it’s one of the symptoms of water pump failure. Do note that coolant can come in various colors such as green, yellow, and blue, so it helps if you know the color of your coolant so you can identify it if there’s a leak.
2. Deposit or Corrosion on the Water Pump and Engine Bay
One symptom of water pump failure is the formation of deposits on your water pump and the surrounding components. Deposits can form when small leaks on your water pump go unnoticed and the leaking coolant dries on surfaces after a long period of time. If left for too long, there can even be corrosion on the water pump and surrounding surfaces.
Having corrosion on or around the radiator is also a sign that there’s an issue with your water pump and cooling system. If you notice deposits or corrosion, it could mean that you have a non-compatible or dirty engine coolant, mineral buildup in the cooling system, or air entering through a defective radiator pressure cap.
To identify these issues before it’s too late, it’s recommended to inspect your engine bay every now and then to make sure there are no deposits or corrosion.
3. Loose Timing Belt & Squealing Noises
Most car water pumps are driven by a timing belt. When the timing belt becomes loose, there could be a squealing noise from the water pump and belt while the engine is running. A loose timing belt can be caused by a worn-out pulley, axle, or bearing in the water pump, and typically requires a water pump replacement. Additionally, a loose timing belt can cause your check engine light to come on and create a rougher ride. If you notice any of these signs, you should get your car inspected by a mechanic immediately.
4. Engine Overheating
Your car’s water pump’s primary function is to cool down the engine. When it fails, it won’t be able to effectively pump the coolant around the cooling system which can cause the engine to overheat. Driving with an engine that runs too hot impacts the performance of your car and could cause expensive damage to the engine. Plus, it’s also dangerous as your engine could burst into flames. If your engine temperature gauge frequently goes above normal temperature or if the engine temperature warning light comes on, it’s a sure sign to get your car checked.
5. White Smoke from the Radiator
Another symptom of water pump failure is when your radiator starts spewing out steam or white smoke. This happens when your engine is overheating, thus turning the coolant into steam. If steam comes out of the engine while you’re driving, immediately stop your car at a safe location, let the engine cool down, and try to get a mechanic. If necessary, get a tow truck to tow your car to the nearest workshop.
What Are the Causes of Water Pump Failure?
A water pump is an essential component of your engine and generally lasts years before needing a replacement. However, there are factors that can damage it and cause it to fail. Here are the most common causes of water pump failure.
- Low pressure in the cooling system which affects the operation of the water pump. This is usually caused by a faulty radiator pressure cap, leaking hose, clogged radiator, compromised seals, and low fluid levels.
- Worn out or cracked seal in the water pump which can cause leaks.
- Timing belt that is too tight which can exert excessive pressure on the water pump’s shaft and bearings. This can cause the water pump components to break.
- Incorrect coolant water mixture or contaminated coolant which can cause deposits in the water pump.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Car Water Pump?
If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, be sure to get your car checked by your mechanic as soon as possible. By taking early steps to fix issues with your water pump and cooling system, you can prevent other components from failing and save yourself a lot of trouble.
Compared to other repairs you may need to do, replacing your car’s water pump is fairly affordable. You can find original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Perodua Myvi water pumps ranging from RM65 to RM100 while an original Perodua Myvi water pump generally costs RM200 and above. These prices do not include the labor cost of replacing the pump which starts from RM100. The price of a water pump varies according to several factors including the engine size, car age, model, and more.
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Devan is a long-time writer who has dabbled in different fields from media to marketing. He enjoys some virtual driving on Forza Horizon and likes reading about various topics including cars.