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6 Symptoms of a Bad Water Pump (Function and Location)

A vehicle’s engine runs at a specific temperature. This temperature must be maintained; otherwise, the engine will overheat, which can cause serious damage to your engine.

Therefore, it is vital to replace your water pump before it breaks completely, but how do you know if your water pump is about to go bad? Let’s start with a quick overview of the signs you should look for.

6 symptoms of a faulty water pump

The most common symptoms of a bad water pump are coolant leaks under your car and an overheating engine.

The main symptoms of a faulty or faulty water pump include:

  • Refrigerant leak
  • screeching noise
  • The water pump shaft leaks
  • overheated engine
  • White smoke from the radiator.
  • Unstable engine temperature

Although this is just a brief overview of the signs, it is a good start. Here is a more detailed list of the most common symptoms of a faulty water pump.

Refrigerant leak

Coolant leak E1609789888621

When the water pump goes bad, it can leak from the shaft seal or any seal. The water pump uses seals that ensure that the coolant remains sealed and the flow of water is not interrupted. However, these seals can deteriorate and become completely useless over time, causing coolant leaks from under the water pump. If you have a puddle of water or coolant under the front of your car, you are probably looking at a water pump failure and therefore need to take it to a mechanic.

screeching noise

Engine grinding noise E1609789879322

When the water pump fails, coolant can leak into the water pump bearings, which will dry out the grease bearings and therefore create a grinding noise when the engine is running. If you hear a squealing sound from your water pump, you should replace the water pump as soon as possible, as it can be fatal if your engine continues to run, especially if the water pump is driven by the timing belt.

Water pump shaft leaks

Defective water pump E1609789871700

There is a serpentine or timing belt, that turns the water pump and pumps coolant. If the water pump shaft wears out, a loose belt may result. If this happens, you are considering a complete water pump replacement. To feel if the water pump shaft is loose, you must remove the serpentine or timing belt. If you feel like playing in the shaft, replace it immediately.

overheated engine

Engine overheating E1609789863111

The main job of the water pump is to pump coolant through the system to cool the engine. If the water pump fails in any way, you will see the temperature gauge appear on the dashboard. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as a faulty thermostat or short electrical wiring, but you should always have it checked by a certified mechanic. Otherwise, you’ll see widespread damage to the head gasket, cylinders, and pistons, which can reduce the overall life of your engine.

White smoke from the radiator.

White smoke heater E1609789853150

If you see white smoke coming from your radiator, you are looking at a clear sign of water pump failure. Steam in the radiator is produced from an overheated engine, which can occur if the water pump is not working perfectly. Faced with this problem, it is better to be cautious and stop driving, wait for the engine to cool down, and try to contact your mechanic.

Unstable engine temperature

Car temperature gauge E1609789949889

You may also notice intermittent problems with the water pump, as the impeller may be loose on the water pump shaft. This will sometimes cause the car to overheat and sometimes it will run fine for a few weeks. Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to water pumps, so replace it if you think it’s bad.

What is a water pump?

Water pump E1537623632854

The water pump plays an important role in the proper functioning of the engine. The pump regulates the amount of coolant that enters the engine. Its function is to constantly supply the engine with fresh, cool fluid from the radiator so that it works properly.

However, when the water pump fails, and it fails regularly, the engine does not receive the proper amount of coolant and does not heat up. This is how water-cooled engines work: if there is no water, the engine cannot survive.

Therefore, a well-functioning water pump is vitally important. If it fails, certain symptoms will appear, prompting you to contact the mechanic to make sure the engine is in good condition.

Water pump location

Water pump location E1609828819135

The water pump is always located near the serpentine belt, timing belt or timing chain since it is driven by one of them. This means that it is also installed at the front of the engine.

If the timing belt is driving the water pump, it may be difficult to see. You may have to take off a lot of blankets to see it.

Start by checking the water pump pulley near the serpentine belt. If you can’t find the water pump pulley, there’s a good chance the timing belt is driving it.

Related: Water Pump Replacement Cost


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