What Is A Car Water Pump? Learn About Cost, Location, Replacing etc.

The water pump in a car is a vital component that helps maintain optimal temperature for the engine. It helps to prevent overheating.

This article will teach you the basics you need to know about the water pump in your car.

What is The Water Pump On A Car?

The water pump’s job is to circulate coolant through your engine, keeping everything at the right temperature. It uses impeller blades and centrifugal force to move the coolant around. It’s usually driven by a belt from the crankshaft pulley or sprocket.

So, when your engine is running, the water pump is at work too.

What Does A Water Pump Look Like?

A water pump is made of metal and has a pulley on its exterior. This pulley is what helps the water pump connect to the engine via the timing belt or an accessory belt. The pulley itself is typically round and has grooves on its surface to ensure a secure connection with the belt.

car water pump

On the other side of the water pump, you’ll find an impeller. This is a critical component of the water pump, as it’s responsible for pumping coolant through your engine to regulate its temperature. The impeller is usually a set of blades or fins enclosed inside a housing.

Now, water pumps come in various shapes and sizes, depending on the make and model of your car. Some are relatively compact, while others can be a bit larger.

Do All Cars Have A Water Pump?

Yes, all cars with an internal combustion engine have water pumps.

In most cars, the accessory belt operates the water pump, creating the centrifugal force that pushes the coolant through the cooling system. It is quite common for the water pump to be driven by the accessory belt due to its proximity to the engine. Because of this, it is often advised to replace both the accessory belt and the water pump at the same time.

Where is The Water Pump Located In A Car?

To find the water pump in your car, you’ll first need to locate the engine. In most vehicles, the engine is found in the front part of the car, under the hood (bonnet). The water pump is usually near the front center, attached to the engine block or cylinder head. It’s not always easy to spot, as some components may be on top of it or obstruct your view.

Getting to the water pump can be a challenge. In some cases, you might need to remove other parts, such as the drive belt, coolant hoses, or even the radiator, to access it properly. This may require basic to advanced mechanical skills and tools, depending on your car’s make and model.

How Long Does A Water Pump Last?

A water pump typically lasts between 60,000 to 100,000 miles. In many cases it can also last much longer than 100,000 miles when taken good care of.

Replacing the water pump becomes necessary once it starts showing signs of wear, like coolant leaks or engine overheating.

How Much Do Water Pump Cost?

For a brand new water pump, expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $200, depending mainly on the make and model of your car. It’s important to select the right one, as an incompatible water pump can cause issues down the road.

Scrap Yard Water Pumps

Used water pumps from a scrap yard, can be found for as low as $25, and at most, around $100. It’s crucial to be cautious when purchasing used water pumps, as they can show signs of wear or potential failure.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the prices:

Source Price Range
Brand New $50 – $200
Scrap Yard $25 – $100

How Much Does It Cost to Replace Water Pumps?

Labor costs for replacing a water pump can range from $200 to $450.

Now, if you’re also thinking about getting your accessory belt replaced, which sometimes goes hand in hand with water pump replacements, the cost can be somewhere between $100 and $350 just for the kit. Adding in labor costs of around 3-5 hours, your total could end up between $400 and $1,000.

What Happens When A Water Pump Breaks?

When a water pump breaks, you’ll likely notice a coolant leak at the front-center of your car. This happens because the gaskets and seals that keep the coolant contained will wear out, dry up, crack, or break over time. The water pump is responsible for consistently delivering coolant from the radiator to the engine, so it’s essential to address any issues with it as soon as possible.

Now, you might wonder if you can continue driving with a faulty water pump or if you can drive without one at all.

You shouldn’t.

Driving with a faulty water pump can lead to your engine overheating, which can cause severe damage and ultimately result in a much more expensive repair bill. It’s crucial to repair or replace a broken water pump before driving your car to prevent potential damage.

Additionally, keep in mind that the water pump and accessory belt tend to have similar lifespans—between 60,000 and 100,000 miles. While there might not be signs that your water pump is failing, it’s a good idea to replace the water pump and the accessory belt together as part of routine maintenance. This preventive measure can save you time, effort, and money down the road.

Can You Replace A Water Pump Yourself?

Yes, you can replace a water pump yourself, but it requires some technical knowledge, the right tools, and patience. Replacing a water pump involves working with the engine’s accessory belt, so it’s important to have a good understanding of how these components work together.

First, gather the necessary tools such as:

  • a socket set,
  • wrenches,
  • pliers,
  • a repair manual or repair database for your specific car model,
  • and a new water pump and accessory belt replacement kit.

Make sure you have a clean and spacious work area to help keep everything organized throughout the process.

Begin by disconnecting the battery to avoid any electrical issues and drain the engine coolant. Remove the engine’s drive belt and any accessories or components that might obstruct the water pump.

At this point, you can replace the water pump, making sure to clean any gasket surfaces and applying a new gasket as needed. After installing the new water pump, reassemble any additional components you removed, such as the drive belt, tensioners, and accessories. Finally, reconnect the battery, refill the engine coolant, and start the engine to check for any leaks or issues.

While replacing a water pump yourself can save money and give you a sense of accomplishment, it can easily end up being a rather complex job.

Please also check out our article with solutions for car water pump problems. 

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