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The Most Common Failures Of The Water Pump: Symptoms And Diagnosis!

Combustion and friction generate an enormous amount of heat in your car’s engine. To help dissipate all that heat energy, you need to have a continuous flow of coolant, which is driven by the water pump, so it’s very important. Read on and discover everything about common water pump failures here .

When the pump fails or breaks down, it can lead to overheating, vehicle malfunction and even put an end to your road trips. And because keeping the engine cool is so important, any problem left unchecked can lead to complete engine failure.

What is the function of the water pump?

Originally, cars were cooled with air running through the engine, to help conduct heat. As engine performance increased, this became less effective, leading engineers to build the water-cooling technology that almost all cars use today.

The function of the water pump is just as important as the oil lubrication system when it comes to protecting the engine , and using the power of the drive belt to power the pump.

What are the consequences of a water pump failure?

If the pump fails, this can lead to engine overheating problems, including damage to the engine’s core function . You could have real problems, such as cracked cylinder heads, pushed head gaskets, or even burnt pistons, as the temperature shoots up quickly in the engine.

The worst situation? Your engine could catch fire on the road, putting your life, and the lives of other road users, in real danger.

Common water pump failures

The following common water pump failures will give you an idea of ​​the health of your pump. For best results, act quickly on any problems as we have mentioned – the structural integrity and life of your engine depend on it.

1- Leaks and puddles of coolant coming from the front of the car

Refrigerant leaks are not good, see why:

  • Cause: Various rubber gaskets are used in the construction of the pump to ensure a hermetic seal between the different components. Over time, these rubber gaskets can dry out, crack and deteriorate, leading to drips and leaks.
  • Solution: Keep an eye out for red (or brightly colored) drips and puddles of coolant at the front of the car. If you act quickly, you may be able to repair the leak and save the pump unit.

2- Corrosion of the pump due to rust, debris and air pockets

Small leaks over time can cause deposits , such as calcium in the water, to build up around the pump.

  • Cause: Contaminated coolant mixes or even the wrong coolant can cause particle buildup or a faulty pressure cap can let in excess air.
  • Solution: Check the pump for signs of wear, and inspect the part for small holes in the metal or cavities in the mounting surface that have resulted from the impact of air bubbles in the coolant mixture. If you discover any of these signs, it’s time to have the piece checked out by a professional.

3- Engine overheating and deformed components

An excess of heat in the engine can cause problems in the cooling system.

  • Cause: If the pump is not working properly, then it will not be able to effectively dissipate the heat that comes from the movement of the engine and the combustion process. You’ll also notice an irregular rise in engine temperature via the gauge on the instrument panel.
  • Solution: Warped, cast or simply broken parts in the engine that take damage before normal service intervals are a good sign. These are usually problems with the internal impeller, which require the replacement of the water pump.

4- Sharp and harmonic noises

Problems with pulley placement often manifest as a high pitched noise coming from the front of the car.

  • Cause: A loose pulley can create a high pitched or buzzing sound when pulled by the pump. It is usually caused by incorrect placement of the pulley or by problems with the bearings inside the pump.
  • Solution: Unfortunately, once the pump bearings are worn, it’s the end of the road for the part , and you’ll have to find a replacement water pump.

5- Steam escapes from the car radiator

This failure is quite common in the water pump. Steam is a sure sign that the cooling system is not effectively channeling heat out of the engine.

  • Cause: as we have mentioned, the coolant is essential to prevent the engine from overheating, circulating the water towards the radiator, which finally loses heat to the environment. Steam coming out of the engine, while on the road or when stopped, means that the coolant is overheating to the point of evaporation.
  • Solution: Stop your car immediately the moment you see steam. It will help preserve the engine and avoid problems. Call the nearest emergency mechanic and explain all the symptoms to them. Due to the possible damage that overheating can cause to the engine (due to pump failure), you will most likely have to tow it to the nearest service center.

How to extend the life time of a water pump?

If you don’t want to have to deal with water pump problems and failures and replacement, then taking better care of your pump is a good place to start. The following tips can help you extend the life of the part:

1- Change the coolant

Always replace your coolant at the required maintenance intervals, as dirt and debris can build up in the fluid , eventually damaging your water pump and other parts.

2- Correct tension

In the belt that connects the pump with the transmission system is essential. Make sure you have the recommended tension and that the belt is in line with all attached pulleys. Any problem with the tension can cause damage to the pump shaft, bearing and seal.

3- Overheating

Immediately resolve any excessive temperature issues. If you don’t, you can damage the internal workings of the water pump and the seals.

4- Buy high-quality products

A good pump will keep your system running longer. Cheaper pumps can bring immediate savings, but are much more likely to require attention sooner.

5- Replace the timing belt at the same time as the pump

Problems with the old pump could have caused coolant to come into contact with the timing belt and damage the integrity of the rubber.

Change the water pump

Do you want to replace your own water pump? Get ready for some hard work that is ultimately best left to the mechanic due to the position of the part. Ideally, the pump should be changed every 60K to 90K miles, and can often be changed at the same time as the timing belt , since access to both parts requires removal of the timing cover.

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