Water Pump Basics Every Car Owner Should Know

Posted on: 30 June 2023

The water pump in your car plays a crucial role in the function of the cooling system. Your water pump is the component that circulates the coolant throughout your engine to help regulate temperature. When the water pump fails, your engine doesn't get the coolant circulation it needs and it ultimately overheats. Understanding the basics of water pump problems can help you identify when you need a new one to protect the integrity of your engine. 

What Causes a Water Pump to Fail?

There are many reasons for water pump failure in a car's engine. If debris in the engine damages the pump's impellers, this can disrupt the proper coolant circulation. You might also experience problems with worn bearings, which will cause the pump to seize. In other cases, a failed seal could create a coolant leak and cause the system to lose pressure.

Older cars and those with higher mileage are at greater risk of water pump failure. The bearings and seals suffer wear and tear over time, which leads to an increased risk of failure. In addition, poor engine maintenance can increase your risk.

What Are Signs of Water Pump Failure?

The sooner you recognize potential water pump failure, the better it is for your car. If you start noticing coolant drips under your car after it's been parked for a little while, that's an early indication that you have a seal that's failing in the pump. Not only that, but you might notice your engine temperature running a little warmer than it normally does. Gradually, as the pump fails, your engine will run progressively hotter until it overheats.

When Should You Replace Your Water Pump?

Most people don't consider replacing their water pump until they start to see signs of trouble. In many instances, your engine's water pump can last for a decade or more, especially with routine maintenance and care. If you start noticing signs of trouble, or if your mechanic mentions concerns about the pump during a routine service appointment, you should consider replacing it before it completely fails. An overheated engine can suffer thermal damage that is costly to address, including the potential for a cracked block or head gasket failure.

These are some of the most important things to know when it comes to your car's water pump. The more you know about the crucial car parts that keep your engine running, the easier it is to protect your car's engine from unnecessary damage.

Contact a local car parts service for more information.