Caring For And Replacing Your Water Pump

The water pump plays a very important part in your car’s cooling system. Though it’s rarely talked about, when it comes time to replace it, you want to know what it will cost, how often should the water pump be replaced and whether there are any signs when a replacement will be needed. Are there consequences if the defective pump is not replaced?

In the UK, most cars’ water pumps are driven by the timing belt which, in most cases, should be replaced at the same time. Adding to the cost of the water pump, the timing belt will come into play for the total cost. While the water pump and timing belt are usually due for replacement at the same mileage, both are actually quite difficult and time-consuming to get access to them so it only makes sense to replace them both at the same time.

How Often Should The Water Pump Be Replaced?

Replace Car Water Pump

Usually, water pumps should be replaced every 60,000 to 100,000 miles but that will depend on the engine and model of the car. The upside as well as the downside is as the water pump does not have a set schedule for replacement it only gets replaced when it fails.

Across the board, newer cars are driven by the timing belt so the water pump should only be replaced at the same time as the timing belt. With older cars, the water pump is only replaced when it fails. One leading sign of failure is when the pump starts leaking. Another leading sign that the pump is failing is a broken bearing or impeller. Either way, when the pump fails you should have it replaced immediately.

If you keep up on maintenance for the cooling system, you should replace the serpentine belt, have the coolant flushed and repair defective parts, if you do all of this you might see an increase in the life of the pump.

What Are The Signs The Water Pump Is Defective?

Failed Car Water Pump

The Engine Is Overheating

If the engine overheats, there’s a chance the water pump is defective. You will probably notice the problem when you get a warning light showing on your dashboard. If you have a temperature gauge, it will show that your engine is getting hotter than normal.

Another prominent sign the engine is overheating, you will see steam coming from the front of your car. If you see this, it’s best you pull over until you can find out what’s going on. As the water pump is necessary for cooling down the engine, a problem like this can cause the engine to get even hotter.

Even though the water pump is usually to blame, there are other defective parts that could cause this problem. Also, it could be from a contaminated coolant, a faulty thermostat, or a damaged radiator. Whatever the cause, the point is, the heat will continue to build up and will eventually cause permanent damage to the engine.

The Temperature Is Fluctuating

Engine Overheating Guage

If the cooling system is working properly, the temperature should remain the same for the engine. That said, if the water pump is failing it will cause fluctuations that will definitely get your attention. If there is a defect, the engine will start to overheat and then level off on a temporary basis. If this is the case, you will notice the temperature gauge rising and dropping.

Keep in mind, the water pump is not the only part that can be held responsible. If your radiator has been damaged, the same issues will happen. If there is a bubble trapped in the closed system, it can lead to issues. The censor in the newer cooling systems can be fussy if damaged.

Hearing Unusual Sounds

When you are driving, the last thing you want to hear is unusual sounds coming from your car. If the water pump is faulty, there could be some unusual sounds you don’t normally hear. Under these circumstances, your engine might make squealing sounds, buzzing noises, or whining. These sounds are created when there is a problem with the accessory belt that can damage the water pump. The accessory belt could have problems if the bearings are wearing out or a pulley has come loose.

If the belt is either too loose or too tight, the same issues can happen. It’s really important that you check the specifications of the belt tension to make sure it’s operating as it should. With inspections and regular maintenance, you can see to it that the water pump is in optimal operating condition. No matter what is causing the noises from the engine, it’s really critical you have to check it out as quickly as possible before permanent damage sets in.

Leaking Fluid

The cooling system in your car is designed to remain completely closed. For that reason alone, you should never see coolant fluid leaking from the car. If there is a puddle under the car, it’s something that you should be alarmed about. The colour of the fluid will vary based on what type of coolant is used but it’s usually green or orange in colour.

You can get a fluid leak if a seal or gasket around the water pump has worn out. Another problem could be if the water pump is cracking or breaking because of age.

If the drips are really slow, you might not even see leaking. If it’s a slow drip, it can land on different car parts and harden. The only sign you might get is having to add more coolant. Where the coolant leaks it could be caused by corrosion on the parts as it hardens.

Do not panic! A coolant leak does not automatically mean there is a problem with the water pump. The problem could be a broken hose, a faulty radiator, or bad seals. Whatever the situation might be, it’s critical you have the leak diagnosed as quickly as possible. Without the right amount of coolant in the engine, it could fail completely which will lead to very high repair costs.

Can I Drive With A Broken Water Pump?

Water Pump Leaking

No! If the water pump is failing or in bad condition, it’s a serious issue. If the engine has not started to overheat, it will very soon. Once that happens, you are looking at serious internal engine damage and that’s not a simple repair but it is a serious issue.

Almost all cars now have warning lights that will tell you when the engine is overheating. Once that light comes on, you are already running out of time. Worse yet, the engine may have already gotten to the point where serious damage has occurred.

Like all mechanical parts in your car, you need to have the problem looked into as quickly as possible. When it comes to the cooling system, you cannot procrastinate when it comes to a thorough inspection and repairs.

Once you realise something is wrong with the cooling system, pull over and try and figure out what’s going on. The only way you should drive home or to your repair garage is if you can guarantee the engine will not overheat. Otherwise, get your car towed and repaired immediately.

Change Your Water Pump

Water pumps can go bad due to age or heat coming from the engine. Newer water pumps have a plastic impeller that can begin to crack with age and deteriorate, nothing like a little bit of plastic to ruin your day. Also, gaskets and seals can start to deteriorate and leak due to age.

New Car Water Pump

The Time It Takes To Change Your Water Pump

In most cars, it will take between 1 to 4 hours to replace the pump. In some cases, the water pump is driven by a timing belt which can make the job much longer and more difficult. This is a time-consuming part and afterward, you need to bleed the cooling system.

Tips Regarding Water Pump Replacement

After you have replaced the water pump, always fill your car with new coolant. If your water pump is driven by the timing belt or time chain, it’s a good time to replace them at the same time to save on future costs.

Make sure to bleed the coolant system after replacing the water pump or your engine could overheat and become damaged. It’s recommended to use a vacuum coolant. If the coolant bleeding fails it can result in hot spots in the car’s coolant system which can lead to serious damage to your engine.

Never ever replace the water pump before you are certain the car’s coolant is cold. If not, serious injuries may take place as the coolant system could easily reach boiling temperatures.


As you can see, there are many factors that can affect the water pump replacement costs. Taking the time to research different options and finding a reliable mechanic is a top priority to ensure your new water pump will be installed correctly and will last for years to come.

Hopefully, you now have the information you need to replace the water pump or decide if you need to replace it or repair it. In most cases, replacing a faulty water pump is the best option.

If you are having problems with your water pump you can get your vehicle checked and any issue diagnosed and resolved by booking online today.

For further information on our services you can browse the site or get in touch with us by calling 019253 30468 or you can email us directly at At Lowton Motor Company we service all vehicles produced by all the top manufacturers from the a Ford to a Porsche and everything in between. Our experienced technicians have access to and traning with all the latest technology. You can be sure your vehicle is in safe hands whether it’s in for a repair, a service or just the annual MOT.

Our Customer Reviews

Book Your Vehicle In Now

Make a provisional booking now and we will be in touch to confirm. Remember we offer Pick UP & Drop Off and Courtesy Car services, so you can continue with your busy day with as little disruption as possible.

11 + 1 =

Call Now Button