Hydrogen power might have lost out to electricity in the battle to replace petrol and diesel in our cars, but that doesn’t mean water is totally out of the equation when making a vehicle work. In fact, water plays a very important role in keeping your car running so you’ll want to ensure that its water pump is in proper working order at all times. Find out why by reading the rest of this blog post.
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What Is A Car Water Pump & What Does It Do?
A crucial cog in the machine, so to speak, your car’s water pump is responsible for regulating the temperature of the engine and preventing it from reaching unsafe heights that could cause permanent damage. The water is pumped from the radiator into the engine where it circulates in order to cool the vehicle down. Afterwards, the water is recycled back through the coolant system.
What Causes A Water Pump To Fail?
There are a few noteworthy reasons that a water pump can fail, and many times it’ll occur without notice – unless you perform regular maintenance on your car, that is. A blown gasket, the seal that prevents water from escaping, is one of the most common of all. This seal ensures that water can get from the radiator to the engine. Without it the water will leak out, eventually leading to your car’s engine overheating after the overall coolant system fails.
The pump itself contains belts and pulleys that work in tandem with each other to push the liquid around the system. If these are worn out or not fitted properly, you’ll notice a reduction in the effectiveness of your water pump which could cause a slower overheat, although it’s likely that they’ll eventually suffer a total failure.
One more surefire way of breaking a water pump is to allow it to suffer from corrosion. Using undistilled water straight from the tap can have an adverse impact on your car’s cooling system, slowly eating away at the pump from the inside, with the damage being done invisible from the outside until the leaking starts.
How To Tell If Your Water Pump Needs To Be Replaced
Thankfully, there are some dead giveaways that your water pump is on the way out and needs replacing, so you should be able to identify this before any further damage is done. If you notice that your car is leaking water, leaving puddles underneath it when parked, regularly operating at a hotter-than-usual temperature or showing signs of rust on the cooling system, your water pump could be the culprit and may need swapping out as soon as possible.
Do a bit of extra investigating if you’re not sure by examining the component yourself. If you notice rust on the water pump or any signs of damage on the pulley or belt, consider this more evidence that it needs to be replaced.
Finally, you might notice a high pitched whirring noise emanating from the vehicle. This could also point to a problem with the water pump, though try to listen to where the noise is coming from before you jump to conclusions. If it’s not coming from under the bonnet, it could be something else entirely, like a wheel bearing.
How Long Do Water Pumps Last & How Often Should They Be Replaced?
On average, a vehicle’s water pump can be expected to last somewhere in the region of 100,000 miles. You may get less than that, or if you’re lucky (and take good care of your car) you might get more. It’s not uncommon for many drivers to never need to replace their water pump, but if your car’s mileage is about to hit 6-digits and it’s still on its factory pump, you might want to start examining it for wear and tear more regularly.
Can You Drive With A Faulty Water Pump?
Insisting on driving your vehicle with a broken water pump will almost certainly result in the catastrophic failure of the car, and will likely cause further irreparable damage to the engine and other far more expensive parts.
If your car suddenly starts to overheat, the red flags should start waving in your mind immediately as this is not something that happens regularly, especially in newer vehicles. If you decide to push on with your journey as the needle in the temperature gauge hits red and the warning light comes on on your dashboard, don’t be surprised to reach your destination in the cab of a recovery truck.
How Much Does A New Water Pump For Your Car Cost?
A water pump itself is likely to set you back somewhere between £50 to £150, but if you need it changed and aren’t knowledgeable about mechanic work yourself, you’ll need to hire a professional to do the job. This could end up adding several hundred pounds onto your bill, so make sure you keep on top of the maintenance in this part of the car or are budgeting for a replacement. Alternatively, you could save yourself the money and scrap your car and get paid for it instead.
Can A Faulty Water Pump Cause An MOT Failure?
Perhaps surprisingly, a faulty water pump won’t directly cause your car to fail an MOT test. However if a dodgy seal is causing liquid to leak from your vehicle, it will fail if a pool gathers within five minutes that measures more than 75mm in diameter or if there are multiple leaks dripping (or pouring) at the same rate.
So, a faulty water pump can result in an MOT failure, but if it’s not currently leaking rapidly, you’ll get away with it this year… you’ll probably find it listed as an advisory though. It’s also important to remember that the MOT test your car is put through is only used to test it’s road safety at that point in time. Your car could become unsafe the very next day after a ‘pass’ result and the police would have every right to take the vehicle off the road.
If you know your car is due to fail its imminent MOT test, whether that’s because of leaky coolant or something else entirely, Scrap Car Comparison can find you the best offers from local, professional scrap and salvage experts. Our nationwide network of ATFs cover 99% of the UK, so we can quote you a price no matter where you are. We’ll also arrange for your old, unwanted or broken car to be collected from you for free! You won’t need to worry about hidden fees or charges. Give us a call on 03333 44 99 50 or use our scrap car price calculator to get a quote now.