There are affiliate links on this article. If you make a purchase through any of the links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
A bad water pump could cause overheating, leaks, unusual “whining” noise coming from the engine bay. These are some of the commonest bad car water pump symptoms that you need to know.
When you start seeing any of these signs, you need to get the water pump fixed as soon as possible. Apparently, the engine heats up when driving, and if there’s no means to cool it down a bit, it would overheat and consequently break down.
A water pump is added as one of the core components that make up the engine bay because it helps to reserve water, which helps to keep the engine cool and prevent overheating.
We will be discussing the various signs of a bad car water pump in this article but first, let’s talk about what causes a water pump to go bad!
What Causes a Water Pump To Go Bad?
The truth is that there are quite a lot of factors that affect water pumps, and cause them to go bad (crack) or fail completely; thus, triggering the signs/symptoms explained above. So, here are the common factors that cause a water pump to go bad.
1. Loose Pulley
The water pump is connected with a pulley, which connects with other components in the engine bay. If this pulley/belt loosens up, it would cause the pump’s impeller to be imbalanced, which can cause total failure of the water pump.
Also, a loose pulley would put more stress on the pulley’s bearing, which would cause the bearings to wear out. If this happens, the water pump would perform inefficiently and is likely to completely fail if the issue is not fixed early enough.
Age affects water pump too! Water pumps are built to be as strong as possible; however, after several miles – typically after 100,000 miles – they start wearing out.
So, if you’re over 100k miles on your car, it’s important to check on the water pump to ensure it’s still as good as expected; if you could find any crack, get it fixed or replaced.
3. Buildup or Corrosion Inside the System
When the inside of the water pump is corroded, it’d cause the pump to function inefficiently and fail over time.
Sometimes, buildup inside the water pump is caused by an imbalanced shaft. If the water-pump shaft goes bad, its inefficiency can lead to buildups inside the pump itself.
4. Worn Out Tensioners, Bearings, or Seals
After several miles, most components in your car would start to wear out. This is why you need to go for maintenance and checkups at intervals to repair or replace components that are already wearing out.
If the bearings, seals, or belt tensioners around the water pump wear out, that could cause the pump to go bad.
Bad Car Water Pump Symptoms
While water pumps are built strong to last very long, they’re not totally indestructible and could break down just like other components on your car. When the water pump starts failing, these are the symptoms are most likely going to face.
This is the commonest indication that you’ve got a bad water pump that needs a fix or replacement. Once the water pump sustains a crack – probably due to hard impact or wears – the coolant liquid would start leaking away, and into other parts in the engine bay.
Water pump leak is a serious issue because some of the components in the engine bay are not designed to come in contact with liquids (water, oil, or coolant liquids). You’d know the water pump is cracked and leaking if you could see the coolant liquid leak out from under the car.
2. High-Pitch Whining Noise
You’re about to accelerate and you heard a loud whining noise coming from your car’s engine bay? That’s probably coming from a belt that has been damped with the coolant leaking from the water pump.
If the water pump is not cracked and leaky, then the noise is caused by a loose water pump pulley belt. Check the belt and have it fastened – you may need a mechanic to do this for you.
3. Engine Overheating
Certainly, a bad water pump would contribute to engine overheating. A good and working water pump is designed to circulate water around the engine blocks to keep them cool, and at running temperature.
Hence, once the water pump fails, and the engine blocks are not being cooled anymore, overheating is sure to happen, and that’s a big issue that shouldn’t be overlooked. If your car has an engine temperature gauge, and it always reads high, it’s a sign to have the water pump checked.
4. Corroded Water Pump
Maybe the water pump is slightly cracked and you failed to notice that – and fix it as early as possible.
The gradual leaks from the cracked sides could cause the metal to rust or form mineral buildups that would hinder the performance of the water pump. You actually need to physically inspect the water pump to find out this sign.
5. Steam (White Smoke) Coming Out From the Radiator
You’ve been driving for a long while and finally, you get to slow down due to traffic or whatever other reason, but then, you notice that white smoke is gushing out from your car’s engine bay?
Park the vehicle and check, if the steams are coming from the radiator, it’s obvious you’ve got a bad water pump, which is why the radiator heated up to the extent of oozing out hot steams in the form of white smokes.
In the meantime, you may need to top up the coolant liquid and let the car cool off a bit before continuing your journey. Don’t forget to inspect the water pump when you finally get to your destination – or drive to a near mechanic shop.
What are you supposed to do when you notice any of these signs? You need to check and fix/replace the water pump. You can do it the DIY way or have a professional mechanic handle the fix so you don’t mess up the situation.
Water Pump Replacement Cost
Okay, it’s apparent that you need to replace the water pump in your car, it’d cost you around $500 to get it done. Well, the cost depends on the parts you need to replace and the type of car you drive.
Typically, water pump parts costs from $70 – $350, and labor cost is usually between $150 – $250 depending on the mechanic doing it for you.
Note: you may spend more than these prices, depending on your car type and the mechanic you use.
Read Also: How To Tell If Your Thermostat Or Water Pump Is Bad
If you notice any of these bad car water pump symptoms, it is advisable to get the bad water pump fixed or replaced before the issue escalates further.