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Car water pump: 5 signs that tell you when to replace it

The car water pump is a small component, like many others in your car. However, if the pump doesn’t work correctly, it can cause serious engine problems. But what still causes some confusion is what the water pump is (and what it’s used for).

In a nutshell, this component allows the engine to cool down. If it didn’t exist, the engine would never reach lower temperatures (after reaching the higher ones), which would burn out essential parts. The car water pump is also responsible for circulating the coolant through the engine, preventing it from overheating.

Because it’s used so much, the water pump needs replacing. So, do you know when to change it? There are 5 signs you shouldn’t ignore.

Man driving at night to test car water pump noises

Car water pump: what it’s for and when to change it

Think about it: do you know what happens if the water pump doesn’t work perfectly or has a fault? We’ll help you answer:

  1. Overheating, because the car water pump stops cooling the engine.
  2. Engine meltdown occurs when its constituent parts melt due to high temperatures.

The service life of the water pump is relatively short. So the best thing you can do is replace it as a precaution. That way, you avoid damaging the engine. It’s recommended changing the component every 40,000 km. This will protect your car during winter and the rest of the year.

Change the car water pump when you notice 1 of these 5 signs

Remember this, and don’t just stick to the 40,000 km average. If you notice one of these signs before that milestone, it’s time to replace the water pump.

  1. Water leaks: these happen near the engine and can be a sign that the water pump is faulty and needs intervention.
  2. Strange sounds: especially at the front of the car, near the engine. If you hear them, take the car to the mechanic because the pump may be damaged.
  3. Engine overheating: you can confirm this by looking at the temperature gauge on your car’s dashboard. Maybe the car water pump isn’t cooling the engine as it should.
  4. Wear and corrosion on the water pump: if you see rust on any part of this component, it’s time to replace it.
  5. Loose timing belt (or showing signs of wear): in this case, the pump may need intervention.

Don’t let time pass. Postponing a repair or replacement will only cost you more money, as you won’t be able to recover certain vehicle components. Something that helps a lot is to do some preventive checks, even if you don’t notice any of these signs. This will ensure that you don’t miss anything.

Green jeep on the road that doesn't need to replace the car water pump

How to take care of the car water pump

To prevent it from wearing out (or being replaced) more quickly, make sure you follow these simple precautions — which will extend the life of your water pump:

  1. Read your vehicle’s manual to determine when to change the water pump.
  2. Have preventive or periodic check-ups to avoid engine problems.
  3. Service the car with the engine switched off and cold (to avoid burns).
  4. Only use the coolant indicated by your car’s manufacturer.

You can’t be too careful. If you haven’t spotted any of the signs we’ve explored, schedule a check-up. This will ensure that you don’t get any surprises in the next few days.