When you own a vehicle, some problems are pretty self-explanatory and easy to diagnose. You know when you have a flat tyre because well… your tyre is flat. You know your car battery is dead because your vehicle won’t start. I’m sure you get the point. However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, issues with your vehicle can be quite hard to spot, like a bad water pump.
You may assume the water pump isn’t really a significant component, but in actual fact, it plays quite an important role. It ensures that there is a steady stream of coolant travelling from the radiator to the engine. This is so that on hot days, your engine can stay cool and on those cold winter days, the liquid doesn’t freeze. Essentially, if your water pump is healthy and carrying out its role efficiently, your vehicle will be able to maintain an optimal temperature. However, if your water pump is worn and is starting to fail, this can result in engine failure.
Essentially, inside the water pump is an impeller with blades, which are used to circulate coolant through the engine block and back to the radiator (to be cooled). The pump is usually located beneath the timing belt cover and it’s drive-belt driven, so when the engine belt rotates, so does the pump.
Nowadays, most trucks, SUVs and cars all have water pump components that are intended to last quite a long time. However, it’s inevitable that at some point they will collect some wear and tear. When the pump becomes too worn or it becomes damaged, there are a few warning signs that can alert you of possible issues, so as a car owner, it is important to become aware of what they are. Below we will look at a few water pump failure symptoms.
A car leak can never mean good news, especially if it’s coming from the cooling system. In a water pump, there a number of gaskets and seals that are assembled in order to keep the coolant from escaping. However, components in a vehicle can become worn.
In this case, when the components crack or become damaged, coolant can leak out of the pump and onto the ground, usually at the front-centre of the vehicle. If you spot the leak, one way to recognise whether it’s coolant or not is the colour, which will either be a green or red colour. The next step after spotting it should be contacting a mechanic as soon as possible, as they will be able to repair it before the problem worsens.
Signs Of Corrosion & Rust On Water Pump
When there is a water pump leak that is slow and gradual, this can result in a buildup of different kinds of minerals and scale around the pump. If you check under the bonnet, you may find that the surface of the pump has developed rust, either from coolant that isn’t the correct type or has become dirty with contaminants. Another cause could be a faulty pressure cap that allows too much air to enter.
Sometimes, you can pour the wrong type of coolant into your vehicle and it can result in an accumulation of deposits in the interior of the pump. This can slow down the process of cooling down the engine. On top of all this, you may spot tiny holes in the metal, due to corrosion. Or there may be vapour cavities (vapour bubbles) in the coolant, that collapse with such a strong force and in turn, form cavities on the pump’s components. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should try to replace the water pump as soon as possible.
Loose Water Pump Pulley & High-Pitched Noises
When there is something wrong with your car, one sign that’s hard to miss is the loud, suspicious noises it starts to make. Take a water pulley, for example, when it becomes loose, you may begin to hear an obnoxious, high-pitched noise. This often occurs due to a loose belt, that whines when it turns and this is usually caused by either the loose pulley or worn out pump bearings.
If the bearings inside the water pump become too worn, unfortunately, there’s a chance you will have to replace the whole unit. Also, whilst it may seem obvious to take your car to the repair shop if you start hearing unusual noises, some people often treat it as white noise. However, if you hear a loud whining sound coming from the front of your vehicle that gets louder as you are accelerating, it’s important that you contact a mechanic to inspect any faults your water pump may have.
Car Engine Overheating
When your water pump fails to function, there will be no circulation of coolant through the engine, which will inevitably lead to an overheating engine. If left unattended to, this can cause a substantial amount of engine damage. Burnt pistons, damaged head gaskets and fractured cylinder heads are all issues that may arise.
One way to check the engine temperature is to check the temperature gauge (on the dashboard). If the gauge shows a high engine temperature quite often, there’s a strong chance you have a problem with the water pump.
Steam Exiting The Radiator
If you are casually driving or you’re coming to a stop and you suddenly notice steam escaping from under your bonnet, this is a common sign that your car is overheating. As previously mentioned, if the water pump is functioning properly and there is coolant being circulated through the engine to a working radiator, your engine will remain at an optimal temperature.
It’s not a good idea to drive your vehicle when it is overheating, which is why you need to safely pull over and contact the breakdown services as soon as you first notice it. Trust us, you could save yourself a lot of money in the long term – as you will only need to repair your vehicle instead of replacing the whole engine or buying a new car!
Water Pump Repair/Replacement At Sinspeed
If any of the symptoms of a failing water pump sound familiar to you, you will need to get your vehicle examined as soon as possible. At Sinspeed, our skilled mechanics can determine whether the signs your vehicle is showing are due to a damaged pump or maybe some other damaged component. They will then carry out the necessary repairs or replacements, to ensure your vehicle is in top condition again. Book your vehicle in today, either by filling in our quick and easy online form, or giving us a direct call on 0844 8479 999.