When it comes to vehicle maintenance, your water pump may be out of sight, but don’t let it be out of mind.
The water pump is an important part of your vehicle’s cooling system. When your vehicle is running, your drive belt helps to operate the water pump allowing it to continuously pump water and coolant into your engine. Without a properly working water pump, your vehicle would overheat, which could easily result in expensive engine damage.
Tucked out of sight under the timing belt cover, the water pump is easy to forget about. For this reason, as far as maintenance and repairs go, the water pump will not often cross a vehicle owner’s mind. Water pumps are, thankfully, built to last for quite some time. Depending on what vehicle you have, a water pump should last you between 60,000 to 90,000 miles. (You can refer to your owner’s manual for guidelines specific to your vehicle.) Unfortunately, there may be times when the water pump will stop working early, without notice. Regular maintenance and automotive check-ups can help you spot a failing water pump before it has the chance to do some serious damage.
Signs That it is Time to Replace the Water Pump
There are a few ways you can spot a failing water pump including:
- Coolant leaking from your vehicle onto the ground
- Coolant leak near the timing belt
- Vehicle overheats – or a sudden change in the temperature gauge
- The water pump makes a squeaking noise
- When you look under the hood, you see coolant -even if it’s just a little bit- dribbling out from the water pump weep hole
Other factors that can affect the functionality of your water pump include a loose shaft and bearings or the pump impellers fail. If the bearings and shaft are loose, when you pull back and forth on the water pump pulley there will be some play, or it may actually move back and forth. If this is happening, then the water pump will be ineffective. If the impellers have failed, the water pump will still pump or spin, but it will stop moving water and coolant through the system.
Water Pump Replacement
As they are located under the timing cover, there is a lot of work involved in replacing a water pump. It is not a simple garage DIY.
Timing belts and water pumps have about the same lifespan. So, if a mechanic needs to change one, they will likely change the other at the same time. With the water pumps placement where it is, this only makes sense. You may not have to replace the water pump at the same time as the timing belt, but it is more cost effective to do so. Changing the water pump is labor-intensive and therefore can be a little expensive. If you have your timing belt replaced then later have to go back in and replace the water pump, you are spending money that could have been saved had you done both at the same time, as you are paying for labor twice.
When you deal with water pump problems quickly, you can prevent any further damage to the cooling system or engine. If you notice any of the signs listed above or experience other complications with your vehicle, please get in touch with the automotive repair experts at Virginia Auto Service today. Call (602) 266-0200 or schedule an appointment online.