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Your car’s water pump is responsible for circulating coolant throughout your vehicle’s cooling system. The name “water pump” is a legacy name, because the cooling systems of old cars were just filled with water. These days, vehicles use more sophisticated fluids, commonly known as “antifreeze” or simply “coolant”.

If the water pump fails, your engine will not receive adequate circulation of vital coolant and may overheat. If your engine gets hot enough, there could be disastrous consequences. That is why getting a faulty water pump replaced is an important service.

Symptoms of a Faulty Water Pump

Diagnosing a faulty water pump can be tricky. There are many problems that share symptoms with a failed water pump, so isolating the water pump as the sole cause of your issues can be a lot of work. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms, and always consult your trusted mechanic for expert advice.

Antifreeze Leaks

Usually, the first sign of a faulty water pump is a coolant leak. Coolant leaks can be frustrating to track down, as there are so many places that could be the source. Coolant leaking from your water pump will be visible (an “external” leak rather than an “internal” leak), and may result in a small puddle of coolant underneath your vehicle.

Most water pumps are equipped with a “weep hole”, which allows coolant to escape if something is going wrong. Coolant discharging from the weep hole is a common symptom of a water pump that is ready for replacement. Alternatively, coolant may be leaking from the pump seal or an o-ring. If coolant is leaking out of your water pump, it’s time for a new one.


There are many possible reasons why your engine may overheat, but chances are it has to do with your coolant system. Diagnosing an overheating engine can be a frustrating process, but a failed water pump is a possible cause.

Water pumps on many modern cars are equipped with plastic impellers, which can crack and come loose. Metal impellers are stronger than plastic, but are vulnerable to corrosion. A damaged impeller will reduce or stop the flow of coolant through your vehicle’s system, and your engine may overheat.

As mentioned earlier, an engine that is allowed to overheat can experience serious damage, such as a blown head gasket or cracked cylinder. If your engine is running hot, you need to get to a shop as soon as you can.

Replacing the Water Pump Alongside the Timing Belt

When replacing the timing belt, your service technician may recommend replacing the water pump as well. Typically, water pumps have an expected lifetime of around 200,000km. Water pumps are typically inexpensive parts, so most of the expense of the service is labour. By replacing your water pump alongside your timing belt instead of waiting for it to fail, you are saving the technician from having to disassemble the coolant system twice. That saves both time and money.

Expert Auto Repair in Victoria, BC

Parkside Motors has been Victoria’s automotive expert for over 30 years. Our experienced team prides itself on being approachable, honest, and trustworthy. If you are experiencing problems with your vehicle or simply need a regular service, get in touch with Parkside today.

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