5 Symptoms of a Bad Water Pump and How to Fix It

5 Symptoms of a Bad Water Pump and How to Fix It – What are the characteristics of a broken water pump on your car? Do you want to know the answer? Through this article, I will provide you with important information about the characteristics of a damaged car water pump. But before that, let’s look at the following information first about the function of the water pump on the car.

What is the Function of a Car Water Pump?

The water pump is a car component that is close to the radiator and has a function in the car’s cooling system. The water pump is one part of the cooling system on an ICE (internal combustion engine) car. This car cooling system is in charge of regulating the temperature stability of the engine so that the car does not easily overheat.

Read more: Overheat Engine due to bad cylinder block; Honda City VTEC 2006

In the car cooling system, the water pump has the task of helping the circulation of radiator water. Radiator water is what serves to cool the engine as long as the car engine is running. So, when we turn on the car engine, the water in the radiator will boil and the water pump will circulate the water to keep the car engine at an optimal temperature.

Symptoms of a Bad Water Pump
Several types of water pumps are often used by manufacturers in the production of their cars. Image source: www.auto-pump.com

4 Types of Water Pumps That Are Often In Cars

Water pumps on cars have different types from each other. In order to know the water pump in detail, it is important to know how to distinguish the different types of water pumps that exist. On the one hand, we can distinguish between water pumps for trucks/industrial vehicles and passenger cars. Each of them adapts to the specificity of each vehicle. However, we can distinguish the types of water pumps as follows;

  1. Mechanical water pump
  2. Variable water pump
  3. Electric water pump
  4. Auxiliary water pump.

For each type of water pump, I try to explain it as follows.

Mechanical water pump

The first and most widely used type in cars is a mechanical water pump. In a mechanical water pump, the coolant absorbs heat from the engine block and cylinder head and releases it into the surrounding air through the radiator. Depending on the type of construction, the mechanical water pump is usually located in the pump housing itself on the outside of the machine. In addition, some can also be found directly on the engine block. Generally, mechanical water pumps move based on engine speed through the V-belt, timing belt, or directly from the engine.

Variable water pump

The second type of water pump that is often found in vehicles is a variable water pump. The main feature of variable water pumps is that they allow the flow rate to vary depending on the needs of the engine. The way to do this is through a vacuum process. That is, the water pump works on the cooling system only when the engine requires it. In this way, it helps increase engine efficiency, which means lower fuel consumption. And therefore, a significant reduction in pollutant emissions into the atmosphere.

Electric water pump

The third type of water pump is an electric water pump. Electric water pumps help reduce emissions from modern engines. A supply flow independent of the number of motor revolutions allows cooling as needed. This reduces the power the water pump requires. And hence reduces friction losses, fuel consumption and pollutant emissions.

Auxiliary water pump

Well, the last of the types of water pumps that usually exist in vehicles is an auxiliary water pump. The main function of the auxiliary water pump is to support the main water pump. However, the auxiliary water pump focuses more on convenience, as it is located in the by-pass hose of the main cooling system, and moves the coolant to the heater in the car.

Some vehicles may have more than one additional pump, depending on the complexity of the cooling system.

This additional water pump function is also present in hybrid and electric vehicles to circulate coolant throughout the system. This is because the battery also needs cooling, as well as the electric motor.

How Do Mechanical vs Electric Water Pumps Work?

For ICE cars that still use a v-belt to drive the water pump, the working concept is quite simple. The fan belt only rotates when the engine is running. At this point, the center shaft of the pump also rotates because the fan belt or v-belt is connected directly to the crankshaft. When the center axis rotates, the petal-like protrusion also rotates, and then centrifugal force arises. The centrifugal force on the pump will cause suction to the pump.

This allows the pump to receive water from the radiator and then send it to the engine through a hose. The water then absorbs the heat the engine generates and returns to the radiator. And the water cooling process occurs in the radiator and will continue as long as the engine is running.

The water pump which plays an important role in cooling the surrounding components usually consists of six blades and can also increase the flow of coolant by enveloping the bottom of the impeller, although this depends on the type of car. To ensure long life, manufacturers must properly design and manufacture water pumps. The goal is to minimize friction and drag while maximizing flow.

In simple terms, how a car’s water pump works, we can simplify as follows:

  1. The axle is connected to a series of propellers, which also rotate with the shaft.
  2. The circular motion creates suction and draws water from the radiator.
  3. When the water reaches the pump, centrifugal force throws it against the outer wall of the pump and flows down the drain to the engine block. The water flows through the cylinder head and flows back into the radiator, where the process begins again.

Which is Best, Mechanical or Electric Water Pump?

Symptoms of a Bad Water Pump
An electric water pump is better than a mechanical water pump. However, there are more mechanical water pumps circulating in the community because they are cheaper. Image source: Street Muscle

Each type of water pump has its own advantages. Mechanical water pumps have many disadvantages when we compare them to electric water pumps. The speed of the electric water pump is independent of the engine speed and can operate flexibly according to the actual cooling demand of the motor. Of course in the process requires additional devices such as sensors and ECU. Thus, heat transfer and mechanical losses are reduced; thus, fuel consumption is reduced, and efficiency is increased.

Read more: ECM vs PCM vs ECU what are the differences?

The electric water pump has good corrosion resistance and high-temperature resistance when we compare it with the mechanical water pump. In this regard, electric water pumps have the following advantages:

  1. The electric water pump provides high efficiency.
  2. Able to provide precise control.
  3. Have timely and appropriate cooling capacity.
  4. Low cooling flow power consumption based on water temperature and other information.
  5. And also shorten the coolant flow distance, and reduce the displacement of the water pump by about 60%.

With regard to friction on the pump, electric water pumps that move based on electric power, have very minimal friction. Meanwhile, the mechanical water pump which uses an auxiliary belt drive has very high friction.

An electric water pump, on the other hand, allows the manufacturer to regulate (with much greater precision) how much coolant flows through the engine over a given temperature range. So it’s actually more efficient and more flexible with your engine’s specific cooling needs. So, in simple terms, we can say that electric water pumps are better than mechanical water pumps for every existing vehicle.

5 Symptoms of a Bad Water Pump

Symptoms of a Bad Water Pump
The appearance of water coolant around the water pump is one symptom of a damaged water pump in a car.

A damaged water pump will make the car overheat faster. If the car continues to overheat, it will result in damage to other car engine components.

Read more: Overheat Engine due to bad cylinder block; Honda City VTEC 2006

To prevent further damage to your car, if you find the following symptoms of a damaged water pump, then immediately take your car to the nearest repair shop for repairs. Below, we will provide information about the symptoms of a damaged water pump, namely:

1. Car Engine Makes Noise

The first characteristic of a damaged water pump is the appearance of noise from your car engine. The noise is caused by damage to the water pump fan belt. Often people also call it a drive belt.

Usually, a drive belt that starts to loosen or crack will make the water pump rotation less than optimal. Simultaneously, the engine room will make a noise. Therefore, you can replace the drive belt with a new one to deal with a damaged water pump.

2. There are water droplets on the engine part of the car.

If you find water droplets on the car engine, then this can be a sign that there is damage to your car’s water pump. Leaks in the water pump can occur because the cover or bearing has rust. In addition, leaks can also come from the seal on the water pump.

3. Radiator Fan Won’t Stop Spinning.

A radiator fan that won’t stop spinning is also a sign of a damaged water pump. This can be seen from the increase in the temperature of the car engine which has reached above 96 degrees Celsius or more. Why is that? This is because the radiator fan continues to spin and produces hot gusts of wind.

4. Radiator Fan Can’t Rotate.

Contrary to the previous point, a radiator fan that does not rotate is also one of the characteristics of a damaged water pump. You can find out by looking at the engine temperature indicator which has reached 100 degrees Celsius but the water temperature in the radiator is still at 71 degrees Celsius.

5. Car Radiator Water Circulation Inhibited.

The last characteristic of a damaged car water pump is that the circulation of the car’s radiator water is blocked. Radiator water that cannot circulate will cause the car to overheat, so you must immediately repair the water pump for repair.

Some other features can also be found in the following video;

How to Fix Water Pump?

Not a few of the car users are trying to find out about the procedures for repairing a damaged car water pump. There are several workshops that can solve this problem. It’s just that the problem should not be that the cost of repairing the water pump is actually more expensive than the cost of replacing it. Therefore, before making repairs to your car’s water pump, it would be nice if you first knew the cost of the service.

If the driver finds that the repair costs are more expensive than the cost of replacing the water pump, it is better if the driver immediately replaces the water pump in his car. Temporary handling that you can do is to put a little oil in the hole that goes to the bearing on the water pump. This handling does not help too much, so the driver should immediately take further action.

Symptoms of a Bad Water Pump
It is easy to replace the water pump yourself if you have time. If not, take it to a repair shop and the mechanic will replace it immediately. Image sources: Club smart Car

As for the procedure for repairing a water pump on a car, you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Drain the radiator water. Make sure your car engine is not hot when you want to drain the radiator water, then loosen the drain valve at the bottom of the radiator. If there is no valve, you can remove the radiator water by opening the hose located at the bottom of the radiator. Avoid throwing radiator water directly into the ground because the water that comes out can cause toxic substances to harm plants, animals, and even humans.
  2. The next step is to remove the fan belt.
  3. Then remove all components connected to the water pump, such as fans, fan shrouds, timing belt covers, brackets, and other engine accessories. We must remove these components first so as not to hinder the process. Thus, we can do the work more easily.
  4. Remove the bolt that secures the water pump to the engine.
  5. Clean the surface of the machine body and make sure the surface is flat before we install the new water pump.
  6. Install a new gasket on the water pump.
  7. Refill the radiator water. Do not rush in doing this process, so that the air in the cooling system can escape. You can do this filling by using the old radiator water if it is still worth using. If the old radiator water looks unfit for you to use, don’t use it anymore. Then fill the cooling system with a mixture of 50% anti-freeze and 50% clean water.

How to repair a car’s Water Pump is indeed quite difficult. That’s why we recommend going to the nearest auto repair shop to avoid further damage. But for those who want to try it yourself, please follow the tutorial on how to replace the car water pump that we conveyed above.

Bad Water Pump FAQs

Can we repair the mechanical water pump?

In general, we cannot repair a mechanical water pump. Damage to bearings and seals for example. We can replace these two parts. However, in most cases, it will only last about 3-4 months and the water pump will be damaged again. Apart from the two parts of the water pump, we could hardly repair it and we had to replace a set of water pumps.

Meanwhile, we can do repairs for the electric water pump in addition to the damage to the mechanical system. We tend to fix the electrical system. However, if damage to the PCB board occurs, we must also replace it instead of repairing the one that is too complicated.

Apart from overheating the engine, what are the other consequences of a damaged water pump?

Another consequence of a damaged water pump apart from overheating of the engine is a problem in the electrical system. How could this happen? Damage to the bearing will mainly result in damage to the electrical system. Usually bearing damage will more or less interfere with the rotation of the fan belt. This means it also interferes with alternator rotation. If the charging system is disrupted, it is clear that the overall electrical system will be disrupted.

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