No matter how well you keep up with the care and maintenance of your car's cooling system, there's always a risk of water pump failure. Water pumps are vulnerable to wear and tear, especially since they run all the time when your car is running. If yours fails, it prevents the coolant from flowing through the engine. Understanding some of the early signs that your water pump is acting up may allow you to have the problem addressed before it fails altogether. This is important, because a lack of coolant will cause the engine to overheat and potentially blow the seals. Here are a few things every car owner should understand to know when to call the mechanic.
What Happens When The Water Pump Fails?
A water pump that is starting to deteriorate is going to exhibit some early and progressive symptoms. When ignored, they'll eventually lead to a seized or otherwise broken pump. Some of the things you should watch for include:
- Temperature Gauge Fluctuation - Your car's temperature gauge should stay fairly consistent once the engine has warmed to its normal operating temperature. If you notice that the gauge is fluctuating between temperatures and running hotter than it usually does, that may be an indication that the water pump is only running intermittently. It can also be a warning sign of a clog in the cooling system.
- Leaking Coolant - Your car's cooling system is closed, which means that it shouldn't be losing coolant. If you see coolant leaking under your car, look under the hood for the source. If it's around the edges of the water pump where it mounts to the engine, that is a likely indication that the seals around the pump are failing. Just don't look for the leak until the engine is cool. Coolant gets hot and you risk getting burnt if you don't let it cool first.
- Unusual Sounds - When the seal starts to let go on the water pump, it often leads to coolant leaking around the bearings. The coolant can actually destroy the grease that usually lubricates the bearings, so you might hear things like groaning and metal grinding. These noises happen because the bearings bind up due to a lack of lubrication. This will lead to seized bearings, which will destroy the water pump.
When you know the signs of water pump failure, you'll be able to recognize it early in its progression. Work with a local supplier to get classic Chevrolet parts or other components you may need to fix the problem.