Five Signs Your Water Pump Is Failing

The water pump is a crucial part in your vehicle’s cooling system. It draws coolant out of the radiator and pumps it through the engine. As the coolant circulates through your car, truck, or SUV’s engine, it draws heat away from engine parts to keep them cool. Once it returns to the radiator, the radiator fan and outside air help reduce the coolant’s temperature before it’s pushed through the engine again. The average lifespan of a water pump is 60,000 to 90,000 miles. Here are signs your water pump is failing.


A dead or dying water pump cannot circulate coolant through your vehicle’s engine and, as such, the engine will overheat. The hotter the engine gets the greater the chance of serious damage, including a cracked engine block and damage to the cylinders, pistons, and head gasket. Don’t drive your vehicle if it’s running too hot and/or if you see steam coming out from underneath the hood.

Coolant Leaks

Coolant leaks from the water pump are common and a clear sign that it’s time to replace the pump. The coolant is stored inside the water pump using a series of gaskets and seals. Once these parts wear out, loosen, or crack, you’ll end up with radiator fluid leaking out of the front of your car toward the center. Coolant is usually green, orange, or red. Orange coolant could have rust in it.

Corroded Water Pump

Air seeping through a defective pressure cap, non-compatible or dirty engine coolant, mineral buildup, and even age can corrode your vehicle’s water pump. If you pop the hood of your car, you might be able to see rust or tiny holes on the exterior of the pump. If you do, it’s definitely time to replace your vehicle’s water pump, as a corroded or damaged one cannot operate effectively.

Whining Noises

Finally, if you hear a high-pitched whining noise that comes from the front of your vehicle’s engine, it could be a sign that the water pump is dying. The water pump uses a pulley or belt in its operation, and if this pulley is too loose, it will make a whining sound that some describe as harmonic buzzing. This noise is also caused by worn bearings inside the water pump’s motor.

Stop by J&M Auto Service in Tea, SD, if you suspect your water pump is dying or you have another cooling system problem. We are a full-service auto shop ready to keep your car, truck, or utility vehicle safe and reliable.

Photo by SaevichMikilai from Getty Images via Canva Pro

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