Water Pump Care & Replacement
Can I Drive With A Bad Water Pump? The water pump is a very important part of the cooling system. It’s also an element that is never really discussed unless there is a problem. That said, when the pump is no longer working, you might have some questions including: How much will it cost to have it replaced? How long should a water pump last? Are there signs that the pump is on its way out? or What are the ramifications of it not being replaced?
In the UK, most cars have water pumps that are driven by the timing belt. The water pump and the timing belt should be replaced at the same time, they are both due for replacement around the same time and mileage. As it’s also difficult and time consuming to access each of these parts but they are both in close proximity in the long run it will be more cost effective to replace them together.
How Often Should The Water Pump Be Replaced?
Generally speaking, the water pump should be replaced every 60,000 to 100,000 miles but that will depend on the engine and the model of your car. There are models that do not have a scheduled replacement range for the water pump and therefore should only be done when the pump fails. In older cars, only replace the pump when it fails.
Some failures are caused by a minor leak or when the water pump just stopped operating altogether because of a broken bearing or impeller. Whichever reason, you need to replace it immediately.
With proper maintenance of the cooling system, there’s a good chance the pump will last a good amount of time. Maintenance includes replacing the serpentine belt, performing coolant flushes, and repairing any defective parts, by doing this you can increase the likelihood the water pump will last for a longer period of time.
Is The Water Pump Failing?
The Engine Is Overheating
If the engine overheats, it’s possible the water pump has failed. When you get a warning light on your dashboard, that your engine is overheating, you might consider the water pump as the culprit. Another sign might be if you have a temperature gauge that shows the engine is hotter than it should be.
Another important sign that your engine is overheating would be steam coming from the front of your vehicle. If you are driving at the time, you should pull over until you can figure out what’s going on. As the water pump is critical for cooling down the engine, any malfunction can cause the engine to run hot.
Though the water pump might be the problem, it could also be any one of other defective parts. It could be caused by a contaminated coolant, a bad thermostat or a damaged radiator. Whatever is causing the issue, eventually heat will build up and cause permanent damage to the engine so get it checked out as quickly as possible.
When the cooling system is operating correctly the temperature of the engine should remain normal. On the other hand, a water pump that is starting to fail will cause unusual fluctuations that will capture your attention. If there is a defect, the engine will start to overheat and then will level off on a temporary basis. In that case, you will see the temperature gauge moving up and down.
Keep in mind, the water pump is not the only part that would cause these issues. If the radiator is damaged, you will get the same signs. Also, there could be an air bubble trapped in the system, leading to problems. The sensor in newer cooling systems can be causing issues if it’s damaged.
Experiencing Strange Sounds
The last thing you need is to hear strange sounds when driving. When the water pump starts going bad, there could be strange sounds that you normally do not hear. You might hear squealing, whining or buzzing coming from the engine. These noises are often created when there’s an issue with the accessory belt. The accessory belt can cause damage to the water pump. It could also exhibit issues if the bearings are worn out or a pulley is loose.
Also, if the belt is too loose or too tight, you will experience the same sounds. It’s really important to check the specifications of the belt tension to make sure it’s running properly. Keep up with inspections and maintenance to ensure your water pump is in excellent condition. No matter what is causing the engine noises, it’s really important you have it checked out as quickly as possible before permanent damage occurs.
The cooling system is designed to remain completely closed. If you see any coolant fluid leaking from your car, that could be a problem. If there is a puddle below the car, it’s something to be concerned about. The colour of the fluid varies depending on the type of coolant used. It’s usually green or pink in colour.
If a seal or gasket around the water pump wears out you will have fluid leaking. Also, the water pump is breaking or cracking because it’s old or not properly maintained.
If the drips are slow, you might not see any leaking. A slow trickle could end up on various parts under the car and turn solid. In some cases, you might only know there’s a leak because the coolant level keeps dropping so you have to add more. Coolant leaks may be caused by corrosion on parts as the coolant turns solid.
Also, a coolant leak does not necessarily mean there’s a problem with the water pump. The problem might come from a broken hose, a defective radiator or a bad seal. The bottom line, it’s important that you have the leak investigated as quickly as possible. Without the correct amount of coolant in the engine it can totally fail and lead to major repairs.
Can I Drive With A Bad Water Pump?
You should never drive with a bad or failed water pump because this is a serious issue. On top of that, it won’t take very long before your engine starts overheating. Also, the engine may have already overheated causing damage.
As with all mechanical issues of your vehicle, it’s imperative to have the problem checked out right away. With the coolant system, you do not have any time to pass it off until later. This is not a system you want to drag your feet on when it comes to diagnosis and repairs.
If you know something is wrong with your cooling system, you should pull over and try and figure out what is wrong. The only time you should drive is to get to your favourite garage or to get home. Even then, you should only drive to those places if you are certain the engine will not overheat. If you aren’t sure, you should have your car towed and repaired as quickly as possible.
Replacing A Water Pump – Ts It Worth It
Replacing a water pump is important for the well-being of your engine and extends its life, so it’s worth it. However, if your car is really old, it might be time to buy a newer car. It is difficult to replace the water pump on many car models.
What Causes A Water Pump To Go Bad?
Two things, water pumps go bad due to age or heat coming from the engine. Many newer water pumps have a plastic impeller that will start to crack with age or deteriorate. Gaskets and seals can begin to deteriorate and leak because of age.
The Amount Of Time To Replace A Water Pump
It will take between 1 to 4 hours to replace it in most cars. In some cars, the water pump is driven by the timing belt which will take longer to replace and will be more difficult. Time-consuming comes from having to bleed the cooling system afterward, especially if you are not used to it.
Tips About Water Pump Replacement
After a water pump change, fill your car with new coolant, especially if you have not changed it in quite some time.
If your water pump is driven by the timing belt or timing chain, it would be a good time to replace them at the same time to save on future costs.
Be sure to bleed the coolant system after replacing the pump or your car engine will overheat and become damaged. It’s recommended to use a vacuum coolant. If the coolant bleeding fails, it can lead to hot spots in the car’s cooling system which will lead to serious damage to your engine.
Never start changing the water pump before you are absolutely sure the car’s coolant is cold, because serious injuries may happen as your car’s coolant reaches very hot temperatures.
There are so many factors that will affect your decision for replacing the water pump and the cost. By taking the time to research different options and find a reputable mechanic, you can be sure that your new water pump will be installed correctly and last for many years.Hopefully, you have learned some great things before deciding to have the water pump replaced along with the cost. Then you will be able to decide if a replacement is required at this time.
For the latest prices on water pump replacement visit our servicing pages:
For water pump replacement prices for other manufacturers please get in touch using the qoute form below or via any of the numbers below.
If you believe your water pump may need replacing or you are considering a service, repair or MOT, you can book your vehicle in to one of our 4 branches by using the simple form below or give us a call at Oldham 0161 624 5060, Heywood on 01706 622633, Bury 0161 761 3030 and our Oldham Van Centre 0161 628 5270.
Arranging Your Service
Drop your car off
Simply drop your car off with us between 8am and 10am and in most cases your vehicle will be ready for collection the same day between 3.30 and 5.30. Outside these hours you are welcome to park.
Wait with your car
Most servicing and repair work can be done while you wait. If this is your preference we have a superb waiting area equipped with free hot and cold drinks and a interesting viewing area where you can watch our trained technicians working on your vehicle.
If your vehicle needs to stay with us for 1 day or longer then you are able to pre-book one of our courtesy vehicles to keep you mobile.
Pick up / drop off
The ultimate hassle free solution; one of our drivers will arrange to collect your vehicle from your home or place of work at a pre-arranged time and then return your vehicle when the work is complete. Our service advisors will contact you when the vehicle arrives on site during the day to discuss the progress of the work and then advise you of the time you can expect your vehicle back. Contact our service advisors for more details.