When you are out on a long drive with your family in Summer and you have to see smoke coming from under the hood. Does it not boil your blood? If your answer to the previous question is yes, ever wondered what is helping your engine from not getting overheated?
It is a water pump that helps coolant move through the engine block, hoses, and radiator.
And this task of circulating coolant is performed continually. It is the single most important part of your car’s cooling system.
The water pump is positioned on the front of the engine and is driven by a belt. Now depending on the model of the car, this belt can vary. In about 60% of modern cars, a timing belt is used to drive the water pump and in the rest of the cars, it is driven by a serpentine belt which also propels the alternator.
How does the water pump work?
When the axle is rotated water is pulled from the radiator to the pump. Using centrifugal force the pump circulates the coolant into the engine block. After travelling through the cylindrical heads, water is drained back to the radiator and the process starts over. This process takes place continuously.
How can a water pump break?
Even though modern water pumps are far more durable, they still have the potential of failing after many years or miles. Pump bearing may fail or the pump may develop a leak, both of which can result in significant harm to the engine if not addressed promptly. But no worries. Here I would be sharing some signs which should not be ignored
There are multiple gaskets on the water pump, and these might become harmed or worn out over time. In this case, coolant could seep out and trickle beneath the car. Check your car’s water pump if coolant (often a green or red liquid) is visible under the centre front of your car.
The single main purpose of the water pump is to cool the engine and to maintain a stabilised temperature. Heat problems can lead to burnt pistons, cracked cylinder heads, and damaged head gaskets.
Rust and corrosion
Contaminated coolant can cause corrosion of the impeller. This rust will make the pump ineffective in moving the coolant which leads to added damage to the entire cooling system of the car. And now this further will damage the engine. Therefore, this is something you should not overlook.
Steam coming from your hood
While driving or when you stalled your car if you notice steam coming from the front of the engine this is an immediate indicator of an overheating engine. Water pump should be in a good condition for an engine to maintain its temperature. If you notice steam coming from the front of the engine, you should move to a safe place and contact a mechanic as soon as possible.
Low pitched grinding sound from the engine
If there is any problem with pulley placement they are often manifested as whining sounds coming out from the vehicle. This is because when the pump pulls on a weakened pulley, it can produce a pretty high-pitched howling sound. Sadly, once the pump’s bearings fail, the component is rendered useless, and you will need to find a replacement water pump.
With the continuous combustion that takes place in the engine, it is given that the temperature will be high in the mechanical parts. And it is solely the duty of the water pump which is the main part of the cooling circuit to maintain a reasonable temperature. So we suggest looking at the water pump more frequently.
How to maximise the lifespan of a water pump?
- Maintaining a healthy water pump is far easier than you think it is. All you have to make sure of is that the engine coolant is in decent form, has the right specifications, and contains the recommended amount of antifreeze.
- Remember we have discussed earlier that in modern cars water pumps are driven by timing belts. If so, the pump and belt both need to be replaced at the same time. Some manufacturers advise renewing the pump each time the belt is changed.
- Some racers willfully remove their water pumps to increase the engine’s horsepower. Do not ever remove water pumps if you don’t hail from the racer’s community.
- Apply anti-corrosion elements on those parts of the water pump which are exposed to air and water.
- It’s important to inspect the water pump after changing. You have to look for any signs of water dripping. Wet patches on the surface of the water pump are a sign that there is leakage. And also while topping off the cooling system use distilled water instead of tap water to eliminate any contaminant.
- Perform proper servicing on the water pump regularly. With consistent service, we can maximize the lifespan of the water pump and thereby increasing the health of the engine.