All vehicles have a water pump to help move coolant through the cooling system. Water pumps are important. They also tend to wear out, typically before a vehicle hits the 100,000 miles mark. Before you panic about yours, read on to find out how to tell if you have a bad water pump hiding under your hood.
Easy Fluid Leak Check First
After you’ve parked your vehicle for the night, slip a large piece of white paper or cardboard underneath and leave it there. In the morning, check the paper for fluid. If it’s dry, congratulations, nothing is leaking. If, however, the paper or cardboard is wet, continue reading because you have a leak.
Is it a Bad Water Pump or Something Else?
Usually, coolant will appear green on your paper. That’s a good sign that your water pump is in need of attention, as in many cases, that’s where your coolant will leak from.
If you feel comfortable with investigating vehicle issues yourself, go ahead and pop open the hood. Be sure that the engine is turned off first, then follow your radiator hoses to the water pump, inspecting for cracks and holes as you go. Once at the pump, try and figure out if fluid is coming through worn gaskets, a weep hole or some other breach.
You also need to locate your water pump pulleys to determine if your bearings are going. If there is give in the belt running between the pulleys, or you’ve been hearing a low grinding sound when running your car, it’s probably time for a new water pump. Same goes for worn out gaskets, timing belts and the pulleys themselves.
Bad Water Pump Prevention
Your vehicle’s belts and hoses should be routinely inspected and replaced, along with having a cooling system flush as part of your regular maintenance. Make these things part of your tune-up routine and you won’t find yourself sitting on the side of the road with steam coming from under your hood.
When You Need Repair or Replacement Parts
If you like to do your own repairs and replacements, or want to have a water pump at the ready for when you need it, you can easily shop for automotive parts online and have them delivered right to your door. Not only is it convenient, it can save you money, too.