What Does A Water Pump Do?

The water pump guarantees that coolant flows into the coolant system quickly in order to cool down the engine.


Your vehicle’s engine runs optimally at a specific temperature that has to be maintained throughout its operation. If that temperature isn’t maintained, your engine will overheat, resulting in serious damage to the engine.

With such an important role in temperature regulation and engine operation, it’s crucial that you replace your water pump prior to it going bad.

Signs Your Water Pump Is Damaged

  • Coolant Leak

    A damaged water pump may leak from any gasket or the axle sealing. The gaskets ensure that the coolant stays sealed with an uninterrupted flow of water. They can, however, deteriorate over the course of time and be rendered useless. This, then, causes the coolant to leak out from underneath the pump.

    If you observe a puddle of water or coolant beneath the front end of your vehicle, then you’re likely looking at water pump failure and need to take your car to an auto repair shop immediately.

  • Water Pump’s Axle Loose

    The water pump is turned by a serpentine timing belt in order to pump coolant. If the water pump axle deteriorates, the timing belt may loosen. When this happens, you will have to undergo a complete and total replacement of the water pump.

    In order to get ahead of complete water pump replacement, remove the entire serpentine or timing belt and feel the axle. If you feel any play in the axle, then proceed with replacing it immediately.

  • Squealing Noise

    Coolant may leak into the bearings of the water pump when it (the water pump) goes bad. This will dry out the bearings lubrication, resulting in a squealing noise whenever the engine is running.

    Should you hear a squeal from the water pump, replace it as soon as possible. Holding off on the replacement can lead to engine death if you keep driving.

  • White Smoke From The Radiator

    White smoke emanating from your radiator is a clean indication of water pump failure. This steam comes from the overheating engine, which can be the result of a damaged water pump. This situation calls for an immediate pulling over of your vehicle, waiting for your engine to cool, and calling your mechanic.

  • Overheating Engine

    The chief responsibility of the water pump is to funnel coolant into the engine system in order to bring its temperature down. Should that pump system fail, expect to see an increase in engine temperature on the dashboard gauge.

    While temperature gauge readings may be affected by other malfunctions, it’s best to take your vehicle to a certified mechanic and let them do a diagnostic. You risk far-reaching damage to the cylinders, head gasket, and pistons if you don’t.

  • Unstable Engine Temperature

    A loose impeller on the water pump axle may cause noticeable intermittent problems. This can cause the car to work fine one moment, then overheat the next. In instances of fluctuating engine temperatures like this it’s best to check the water pumps and replace them if necessary.

Can You Repair A Water Pump?

Water pump replacement cost

A broken water pump requires immediate attention.

You are more than capable of repairing your water pump, but you’ve got to decide between a rebuilt water pump or a brand new one. Either choice comes with their own set of benefits and drawbacks.


The biggest pros supporting using a rebuilt (or remanufactured) water pump are:

  • Typically cheaper to purchase than a new water pump.

  • Many shops have the capabilities to accomplish a majority of the rebuilds themselves, rather than paying to get a rebuilt water pump unit off the shelf.

These two benefits have a major impact on you saving money upfront during your replacement.


Even with the prospect of savings, rebuilt water pumps come with their own set of drawbacks. It is important to keep note of these when deciding which type of replacement water pump to choose:

  • Some rebuilt parts come with little (if any) warranty.

  • There are certain parts that are made with sub-standard kits. This is done by manufacturers in an effort to keep costs as low as they can. This, however, impacts which parts can be replaced and their acceptable tolerances.

  • These rebuild kits tend to have oversized bearings that are intended to overcompensate for the wear on the housing and shaft, with an increased risk of failure.

  • The pump housing’s cleaning process can cause pitting and premature corrosion.

Using a few new materials to rebuild your water pump is not the same as replacing the damaged pump with a new part.

While you’ll save money on the front end of things with a rebuild, it might still not be the best choice. Shop around and compare the costs before choosing your water pump replacement.

Water Pump Repair Costs

The average cost to repair a damaged water pump is between $678 - $811. This price range includes the cost of the parts as well as the cost of labor to form a national average.

It does not, however, include any taxes, fees, or costs associated with your particular make and model.

Mechanic Repairs
Parts: $443 - $515
Labor: $234 - $296

You can cut labor costs entirely by replacing the water pump yourself. The process is moderately difficult and you should take care to properly tighten bolts and install gaskets to manufacturer specifications.

When Do You Need To Replace A Water Pump?

Water pumps are typically built to last for an extended period of time. Regardless, the wear and tear they experience still requires that they get replaced at regular intervals. The recommended time frame for replacing your water pump is every 60,000 to 100,000 miles.

This rule of thumb is influenced by several factors, including but not limited to: car model, driving behavior, and weather and road conditions. Maintaining a regular maintenance schedule will ensure your water pump is serviced at the proper time and your car lasts as long as it can.

What Happens If you Don’t Repair A Water Pump

Failure to repair a water pump means your water pump won’t be able to circulate coolant throughout your vehicle’s engine. Inability to do this will cause your engine to overheat and a hotter engine can lead to more severe damage like a cracked engine block or damaged pistons and cylinders.

Sell A Car With A Damaged Water Pump

Blown engine

DamagedCars specializes in purchasing vehicles that are in less-than-perfect condition! Our process is as simple as three easy steps:

Step 1: Get your free quote! Simply enter some basic information about your car on our website and you’ll receive a free and guaranteed quote within 90 seconds.

Towing is complementary, so you’ll never have to worry about hidden or additional fees taking away from the profits you take home.

Step 2: Schedule your pickup within 24-48 hours! If you’re happy with your quote, you’ll be able to schedule your vehicle retrieval with one of our partners within your area. They’re trusted to come to you at a time that works best for you.

Step 3: Complete your sale! After a quick inspection and transferring of your title, you’ll receive the amount you were quoted, no haggling or fuss. Your vehicle is taken off your hands and money is put in them!


Sell your car with engine damage fast!

What are the signs of a bad water pump?

  • Coolant Leak
  • Water Pump’s Axle Loose
  • Squealing Noise
  • White Smoke From The Radiator
  • Overheating Engine
  • Unstable Engine Temperature

How do I know if my water pump needs to be replaced?

Before your engine overheats from a bad water pump, some signs that your pump needs to be replaced are coolant leaks, high pitched noises under the hood, and steam coming from the radiator.

Can you drive a car with a bad water pump?

While it is possible to drive your car with a bad water pump, it is advised that you do not do so. The coolant no longer circulating through your engine can cause severe damage, including your engine cracking from excess heat.