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Car Water Pumps

Abhijit Naik
Undoubtedly the most important component of the cooling system, the water pump helps in cooling the car engine and avoiding problems related to overheating. Know about car water pumps, with emphasis on working, installation cost, and frequently encountered problems.
A water pump is a device which facilitates the transfer of water from the radiator to the engine of the car in order to keep it cool. The design of this component may vary form one model to another, but the similarity in the basic functioning means most of the pumps have similar physical traits.
The water pump, with two pipes―one going to the radiator and other to the engine―is located behind the fan belt near the engine.

How Does a Car Water Pump Work?

Basically, the water pump works on centrifugal force. The centrifugal pump is driven by the belt connected to the crankshaft, which ensures that it functions when the engine is running. Owing to the centrifugal force involved in its functioning, the coolant fluid in it is sent outside and replaced by fluid which is being drawn from the center continuously.
The inlet of the pump is located at the center in such a manner that the fluid coming from the radiator hits the vanes of the pump. These vanes, in turn, send the coolant to the outer side of the pump, from where it enters the engine and cools it.
This stream of fluid enters the engine block, moves to the cylinder head, then to the radiator, and finally back to the water pump. This is repeated all over again, as long as the car is running.
In some cars, the water pump can be easily accessed by using the basic tools available in the car kit. In other models, the pump is located deep inside, such that professional help is required to work on it.
In most of the models rolled out today, its placement is quite tricky and therefore, it is better to take the help of a professional in the first place. Its price may vary according to the area where you reside and your car model.
In some cars, easy access to the water pumps means you don't have to touch the engine at all. In some models, like the four-cylinder engine, the front of the motor has to be removed, which may be time-consuming and a bit costly.


On an average, it has to be replaced after every 90,000 miles (roughly around once in a year). It's worth the effort, as it will rule out the chances of you getting stuck anywhere in the midst of your journey. Depending on the model, it may cost you anything between $200 and $800 to install the water pump.


Water pump failure can lead to severe overheating problems and eventually damage the engine of the vehicle. Some of the frequently encountered problems include coolant leaks, damaged impeller, and defective bearing.
Owing to extensive use and resultant wear and tear, it's least surprising that the water pump encounters these problems. Symptoms of damage include coolant leakage, noisy engine, and corroded parts. If any of these symptoms are observed, you will have to opt for its repair at the earliest.
If you feel that the problem is beyond repair, or it has been a long time since you last replaced your water pump, you will have to take the replacement option seriously. You may have to replace the timing belt as well, because like the pump, the belt is also subjected to a great deal of wear and tear.
Any problem in the functioning of water pump can reflect on the car's performance, so you shouldn't take its symptoms lightly. Ideally, you should take precautionary measures, such as periodical checks and performance evaluation of your car, on a regular basis to keep various car problems―including the ones involving the water pump―at bay.