Ultimate Guide To Water Pump Replacement-Everything A Car Owner Needs To Know
As the title suggests, every car owner needs to know when and how to replace a water pump. The hydraulic pump is an indispensable part of a vehicle that helps the engine maintain the optimal temperature. Detecting and replacing a failing water pump can save your car from overheating and damage.
Overall, water pumps tend to last around 100,000 miles. Still, there are cases when the water pumps fail and need to be replaced with new and high-quality ones.
What Is The Purpose Of The Water Pump?
Water pumps are an essential part of your car’s cooling system. The pump keeps the coolant flowing from the radiator through the cylinder head to the engine block. This way, the operating temperature is maintained in the vehicle.
Every water pump uses blades and centrifugal force to push the coolant throughout the engine. In most cases, the water pump bearings are why water pumps fail. If not the directions, then it is possible the seals are worn out.
Signs Of Failing Water Pump
If your water pump fails, the vehicle will overheat, and eventually, the engine will fail. So, you must recognize the signs of a bad water pump to act quickly before an engine overheating happens.
These are some of the most regular signals of water pump failure:
Raised Cooler Temperature
If your engine is overheated, it indicates a faulty water pump. You can quickly notice if the cooler temperature is elevated by checking the warning light (symbol with wavy lines) or the engine block reading on your dashboard.
Some vehicles won’t show an alert until the temperature reaches a dangerous intensity. For this reason, you need to pay attention if the needle rises past the optimal operating temperature.
If your faulty pump affects the engine, it may cause the check engine light to come on. This is a sign that the engine is overheating.
Uncertain Temperature Readings
If your car has a functioning cooling system, it should retain the temperature gauge inside normal ranges. But, if the water pump is not cooling appropriately, the temperature needle oscillates from high temperatures to normal.
This variation in the temperature gauge of the cooling system may also be a sign of a bad radiator, but whatever the problem, it should be fixed by a mechanic asap.
Another probable cause of changes in the coolant temperature is an air bubble. If the sensor has air in it, it will show strange readings.
Unusual sounds may also indicate that you need to do a water pump replacement. A buzzing or whining noise can mean a loose accessory belt, you may have a worn-out bearing or a loose pulley. If you find the offending bearings in the pump, you must replace them. If the weird sound increases as the vehicle accelerate, you must take it to a mechanic immediately.
If the timing belt is too tight, you may need a serpentine belt tension gauge. This way, you will ensure that the tension is set correctly, and the water pump will not fail.
If your car leaks orange or green fluid after being parked for some time, this is a sign of a bad water pump. This usually happens when the seals in the pump break or wear out.
When you notice the coolant leaks, you might want to check the water pump for debris; if the coolant is leaking, it will dry and solidify, which will cause the pump to rust.
However, not all coolant leaks happen when the car is still. If the water pump is not a problem, it may be a good idea to check for a faulty radiator.
Another leak you need to look out for is the weep hole leak. If there is a fluid leak coming from the weep hole, it means that you have a faulty seal. This fluid leak will stop once you shut off the car.
Steam From The Radiator
Steam coming out of the front part of your vehicle is never a good sign. In most cases, it indicates that the engine coolant is not circulating, meaning the engine is overheated and you have a failed water pump.
If you notice steam coming out, you should stop driving immediately. Otherwise, you are risking causing permanent damage and engine failure. While the overheating cause may be a failed radiator or thermostat, the outcome is precisely the same.
Unless you notice a small leak and adding more coolant fixes the problem, you must take your car to the closest mechanic.
Ultimate Guide: How To Replace A Water Pump
If you notice a faulty water pump, you can choose to replace it or go to a professional mechanic. The type of your vehicle has an enormous impact on the water pump replacement. Many car models require the pump to be replaced at a certain angle.
A water pump can be either mechanical or electric. Some car owners prefer to install an electrical rather than a mechanical water pump.
If you decide to replace and install a mechanical pump by yourself, here are the steps:
1. Wait for the engine to cool down completely;
2. Pull out the belt components following the owner’s manual;
3. Take out the hose that is attached to the pump (some coolant may pour out while you are taking it off);
4. Take out the old water pump by losing up the bolts;
5. Pull out the seal and make sure that the surface is spotless;
6. Take a glance at every part of the cooling system, and check if everything looks fine;
7. If everything seems fine, you can install a new pump;
8. Replace all seals and gaskets with new once, and do not use force when placing the elements;
9. Use a moderate amount of sealant, only if recommended;
10. Secure the bolts and re-secure the hose;
11. Refill the cooling system with appropriate coolant;
12. Try rotating the pump with your hand; if it turns freely, you installed it correctly.
13. Check if the timing belt drive is properly installed and do a final inspection;
14. Check for leaks (a little fluid leak from the weep hole is typical within ten minutes after the installation)
15. If more leaks occur after some time, it may be an indicator of a faulty installation.
On the other hand, installing an electric water pump is much easier. There are a few steps you need to follow:
1. Drain all the coolant from the circuit;
2. Take out all the hoses and elements attached to the pump;
3. Replace the old one with a new water pump;
4. Attach the hoses and cables to the new pump;
5. Add the new coolant;
6. Inspection for leaks.
Water pump replacement cost varies depending on many things. The model, age, and size of your car are the main factors that influence the cost of the new water pump.
Considering that water pump replacement takes around 3 hours, you may need to add the labor cost to the price. The price of all parts you need to buy should be $500 maximum. Still, you add the labor cost; the water pump replacement may cost you up to $800.
Every car owner should know the water pump’s purpose and how to detect and replace a faulty pump. While it may be a bit complicated, if you have any experience changing car parts, you can save a lot by replacing the pump yourself.
The most crucial thing is to detect a faulty water pump as soon as possible because otherwise, you are risking causing permanent damage to the cooling system.
What Is The Cost For Water Pump Replacement?
While the average cost for water pump replacement is around $500, the cost may be up to $800 if you need to pay for labor too. The price also varies depending on the car’s type and service center.
Should I Replace The Water Pump Myself?
If you consider yourself capable, go for it. This way, you will save money on labor costs.
Will I Be Able To Drive With a Faulty Water Pump?
Yes, people can drive with faulty water pumps. However, you risk the vehicle overheating and causing permanent and irreparable damage by doing that.