Your vehicle’s cooling system is one of the most important parts that maintains your car’s optimal running condition. The car’s cooling system consists of a radiator, water pump, coolant, and radiator fan. All these components work in collaboration to keep the temperature of the engine in a suitable range.
The water pump is the force behind the cooling system as it pumps the water from the radiator and moves it through the engine compartments. When the coolant passes through the hot engine compartments, it absorbs the heat, which is then moved back to the radiator, where the heat is absorbed, and the cooled-down coolant circulates back to the engine.
How Does a Water Pump Work in a Car
The water pump is usually situated at the front of the engine and linked with an engine block. Usually, it is belt-driven from the crankshaft. Some of the contemporary vehicle have an electric water pump that does not depend on engine speed.
The key function of the water pump is to ensure that coolant moves through both an engine and a radiator.
When the engine ignites and reaches a preferred temperature, it sends coolant to warm up from the radiator into a water pump, which circulates in order to heat. The coolant absorbs heat from several parts of the engine, such as cylinders and combustion chambers.
Once the coolant is heated, the water pump circulates through the engine together with other fluids whereby, absorbing heat and maintaining optimal operating temperature. This protects the engine from excessive heating, which can cause damage.
During the heat exchange process in the radiator, the now-cooled coolant is sent back to the radiator, and the water pump circulates the coolant again.
Causes Behind a Bad Water Pump
The Bearings are Worn Out
Water pump bearings wear out easily, hence reducing water pump performance in a car. The function of the water pump’s bearings is extremely important for supporting the rotation impeller, which helps to pump coolant through the engine and radiator.
Wearing out of bearings can cause several issues that compromise a water pump’s performance and integrity.
However, contaminants, including dust, debris, or even impurities incorporated in the coolant, can speed up bearing deterioration. These particles may find their way to the water pump and cause undue friction within the bearings, eventually ruining it.
Poor quality of the coolant, causing corrosion and cavitation, contributes to quicker wear on bearings. Corroding substances are formed due to contaminated coolant, which undermines the bearings’ integrity. If your engine is overheating frequently, then there might be an underlying problem with the cooling system. So, you should get it checked by any reputable auto repair shop.
Problems With the Belt or Pulley of The Water Pump
A water pump that is belt-driven in a car can be significantly affected by problems with belts and pulleys. The belt and pulley system is an integral section that makes the water pump circulate coolant by transferring power from the crankshaft of the engine.
The force applied on the belt connecting the crankshaft to the water pump is also critical in smooth running. However, if the belt is too loose, it will slip or even come off, leading to a loss of power transmission from the engine to the water pump. But if the belt is too tightened, it could put undue strain on water pump bearings and other components.
Through time, belts may become worn out or cracked and damaged. This can weaken the belt’s ability to transfer power properly. Regular checking of the belt for deterioration, fraying, or glazing is crucial in order to identify problems before they result in the failure of a system.
The Seals or Gasket is Damaged
Water pump problems can commonly be attributed to damaged car seals and gaskets. Seals and gaskets are essential components of the water pump operation as they maintain its integrity, prevent coolant leaks, and support effective function.
When these elements are damaged, it leads to coolant loss, lowered cooling system efficiency, and possible overheating. The heat generated by the engine and the water pump itself hastens seal aging, which makes them easily damaged over time.
It is usually quite easy to spot a coolant leak because there would be brightly colored fluid under the vehicle. Coolant is usually green, orange, pink, or any other unique color to easily distinguish it from other automobile fluids.
Signs That Your Car’s Water Pump is Damaged
Visible Sign of Coolant Leakage
Coolant leaks from a damaged water pump can occur at various points: The areas where the pump housing connects to the engine can have visible leaks.
If the seals and gaskets become compromised, then coolant may be leaked from them.
There is a weep hole in some water pumps that allows for the release of coolant from within if it indicates a failing underlying seal. A few drops of coolant leaking out through a weephole may point to an issue.
Overheating of the engine indicates problems with the cooling system. In the case of a bad water pump, coolant will not circulate enough, and this can result in a lack of adequate heat dissipation, which causes engine temperature to rise.