Signs of A Bad Water Pump

While it’s typical philosophy that you should replace your oil and check the level of oil in your car frequently to keep it running smoothly. Do you know that the water pump also plays a critical role in keeping your car operating smoothly?

Your engine will overheat in the summer and freeze in the winter if the water pump is not operating properly. This not only damages gaskets, cylinder heads, and pistons, but it frequently leads to engine failure.

To avoid such costly and time-consuming repairs, treat your water pump with care. Luckily, you need not be an expert in automobiles to spot the signs of a bad water pump.

The Signs of a Poor Water Pump

It’s critical to know the signs of water pump going bad. Otherwise, you risk not identifying the issue until it is too late. Once a water pump breaks, you run the risk of irreversibly harming your engine – a costly nuisance that is best avoided.

These seven indicators might assist you in knowing signs of a bad water pump in your car or determining when to bring your vehicle in for an assessment and necessary water pump repair.

1. Coolant Leak in the Front-Center Area of Your Vehicle

More than one gasket and seals on the water pump of your car keep coolant constricted and help in maintaining a continuous coolant flow to the engine from the radiator.

These gaskets and seals will finally dry out, crack, or totally fail. When this occurs, coolant from the pump leaks and falls to the ground, usually in the vehicle front and in the middle of the motor’s placement.

If a coolant leak is found under the hood of your car, truck, or SUV (which will seem to be green or occasionally red in color), get in touch with a professional mechanic to investigate the situation.

Solution: If a new water pump was just installed, carefully remove, inspect, and reinstall the water pump. Observe the torque parameters. Ascertain that seals/gaskets are in good shape and properly placed. When the sealant is set, clean the part’s rims and mounting surface before applying new sealant uniformly along the part’s edge. The pump must be immediately replaced if the leakage is not due to an incorrectly fitted new water pump.

2. Water Pump Corrosion Due to Deposit Buildup and Rust

Gradual leaking over time will result in the accumulation of various minerals surrounding the pump. Under the hood, you may discover rust on the surface of the pump caused by polluted or incompatible coolant combinations or a malfunctioning pressure cap that allows excess air to enter.

Additionally, using the incorrect coolant results in deposit building inside the pump, which slows the engine cooling process to an optimal level. Along with these, you may observe microscopic holes caused by cavitation – the vapor that bubbles in the coolant liquid cause cavities on the mounting surface by collapsing violently. If you observe any of these symptoms, you should seek emergency pump replacement.

Solution: Repair or replace the water pump. Before installation of the replaced pump, flush the cooling system and refill it with the manufacturer’s recommended coolant. Inspect the pressure cap for defects and replace it if necessary.

3. Shaft that is Damaged or Broken

The shaft is bowed or fractured. A clean break is a fracture that occurs “instantaneously” as a result of a quick overload or imbalance. If the broken shaft is discolored (typically blue), the damage occurs gradually, indicating an accumulation of high heat prior to the shaft breaking.

Solution: Replace the water pump and inspect the belt drive system, including the belt, tensioner, pulleys, and belt tension and alignment. Inspect the fan/fan clutch assembly if the vehicle is equipped with a water pump mounted fan. Possibly the fan is not placed squarely on the shaft. Additionally, a damaged fan, worn fan clutch, or a worn spacer could all contribute to the break.

4. Loose Pulley on the Water Pump

You may hear a sharp sound emanating from the motor front. This is often produced by a loose belt that circulates and produces a buzzing sound.

The cause of the loose belt is a loose pulley or by the water pump assembly’s bearings wearing out. Once the bearings which are inside the water pump malfunction, the item cannot be fixed and must be replaced completely.

Solution: Contact a professional immediately to have your car inspected once you detect a loud and noisy whining sound from the front engine. This can be fixed only by a pro.

5. Affected Bearing

With the engine turned off, inspect the bearing for side-to-side play at the shaft. Hand pressure should be applied. Water pump rumbling or screeching noises indicate a damaged bearing.

Solution: Replace the water pump and inspect the belt drive system, including the belt, tensioner, pulleys, and belt tension and alignment.

6. The Engine Is Excessively Hot

When the water pump totally malfunctions, coolant cannot be circulated through the engine block. This leads to an overheating condition, which, if not promptly fixed or replaced, can result in additional engine damage such as pushed head gaskets, fractured cylinder heads, or burnt pistons.

Solution: Ignoring overheating of the engine could cost you. So, if you don’t know the exact reason it is advised to contact a mechanic to evaluate this issue and, if necessary, replace the water pump.

7. Steam Produced by Radiator

Lastly, if you discover steam coming from the front of your engine while driving or coming to a stop, this is an instant indication of an overheated engine. An engine will keep a constant temperature if the water pump works properly.

If you observe that the front of your engine is emitting steam, pull it over to a safe location and contact a professional immediately. Do not drive a car when the engine is overheated.

It is advised to call a tow truck to get the car home, in the long term this might save you substantial money and the expense will be comparatively less than replacing the entire engine.

Solution: If you observe any of these signals or signs of bad water pump in car, contact a nearby ASE-certified mechanic immediately so they can repair or replace the water pump and get your vehicle back on the road.


What is the Cost to Change a Water Pump?

Water pump replacement can cost between a few hundred and roughly $1,000. Because the part is typically less than $100, the majority of the cost is in labor. It depends on the car too.

How Difficult Is It for Me to Restore Myself?

A: Removing the pump is not difficult. The timing belt and serpentine belt are the most frequently encountered problems. If you are familiar with those components and feel comfortable, go ahead; but, if you are unsure, it is advisable to hire a professional.

Conclusion – Signs of A Bad Water Pump

While not as visible as the brakes or engine, your car’s water pump is critical to your safety on the road. Your car’s engine is made up of numerous components that generate a great amount of heat and friction as it runs.

The water pump ensures that coolant flows regularly through the engine block, hoses, and radiator, maintaining a safe operating temperature.

Internally, deposits, sludge, and scale accumulate, clogging the water pump and impairing the proper operation of its various components. For that replacing the water pump is required.

Before installation, as previously said, flush the cooling system and refill it with the correct coolant recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. I hope this blog helped you in resolving your issues.

Liam Dare

As CEO of, my passion for the automotive world motivates me to build online businesses that provide information and entertainment to users. I am proud to contribute in a positive way to the automotive community.