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How to tell if a water pump is going out

Updated March 23, 2017

The water pump is the key component of your car's cooling system. The water pump is responsible for circulating coolant to the entire engine, and it gets its power from the engine. If any of the gears, bearings or the shaft are impaired, the water pump can break, become cracked or stop working altogether. There are several signs you can look out for to determine if the water pump is worn out or is close to failing.

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  1. Look for signs of a coolant leak inside your car. If you see small puddles or patches of coolant on the floor mats or under the seat, your water pump may not be working properly.

  2. Look for puddles of leaking coolant outside your car. If you notice a visible puddle of coolant where your car has been parked, the water pump may be broken and is leaking coolant.

  3. Pay attention to the car's ventilation system. A malfunctioning water pump my cause fluid to come through the vents of your car's fans or air-conditioning system. You may also notice a strong coolant smell when you turn on your cooling system.

  4. Listen for a screeching noise. If you can hear such a noise near the front of your car when you start the car, that could be a sign of a failing water pump.

  5. Monitor your car's temperature. If the car's engine is overheating regularly, the engine is not getting enough coolant. Check to make sure your coolant levels are topped off; if you keep running out of coolant, the water pump could be cracked and leaking coolant.

  6. Tip

    In some cars, the water pump is located behind the timing belt. You can avoid paying extra labour charges if the timing belt and water pump are replaced together, because the mechanic will need to remove the timing belt completely to access the water pump


    Take the car to a certified mechanic to replace the water pump. Most mechanics can complete the work in 2 to 3 hours

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About the Author

Sabah Karimi is a professional Web and print copywriter. She specializes in several niches including travel, fashion, beauty, health, fitness, lifestyle and small business. Karimi has an educational background in business administration and marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

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