The easiest way to understand your vehicle’s water pump is to think of it as the “heart” of your car’s cooling system. Its primary function is to constantly circulate engine coolant through the cooling system from the radiator to the engine and back. The water pump consists of an Impeller, a Pulley Flange and an O-Ring. The impeller is driven by the engine drive through a pulley.
The Engine Itself Powers the Water Pump
The water pump in your vehicle receives its power to operate from the engine itself…allowing it to work properly. Usually power is delivered from the simple combination of a belt and pulley, but there a some cases (less often) that a water pump operates via a gear and chain. The power that the pump generates from the engine is transferred to a shaft on which there is an impeller.
It is the impeller’s job to spin and circulate the coolant throughout your car. Similar to propellers on boats or planes, the impeller simply moves fluid in the opposite direction.
When you put the shaft and impeller together, they spin on a sealed bearing. You have to be extremely observant, because this sealed bearing is the part of the car’s water pump that does wear out.
Water Pump Trouble Signs
Here are a few signs that your water pump may be going bad.
- Leaking coolant is the main warning sign to beware of.
- An unusual water pump noise could likely indicate that the water pump bearing is going bad.
- A wet engine or a coolant leak through your vehicle’s vent
If you see any of these trouble signs, it’s likely that you’ll need to get your water pump replaced. If you don’t notice any of these signs, then there’s no need for concern. Generally…a water pump either works or it does not.
Water Pump Replacement
- You may want to consider replacing your water pump when a surrounding system needs to be replaced. In the long run, it may easily save you time and money because often times surrounding systems have to be removed just to get access to the water pump.
- Another case when you may want to consider replacing your car’s water pump is when the cooling system is due for a major service, for example…a radiator replacement or removal. This is an opportune time because the first step in replacing the water pump is to drain the engine coolant. If the radiator is already removed… the mechanic is afforded significant convenience of time and reduced degree of difficulty.