What Does a Water Pump Do?

When people talk about cars, they talk about the major parts such as the engine, wheels, seats and body. The same is used when evaluating the value of a particular vehicle. While it is true that various small and detailed parts such as the water pump are always overlooked, they play a huge role in determining the quality and effectiveness of a given car. For many vehicle owners, the water pump is simply another part of the engine. So, what does a water pump do? This article looks at the details of how a water pump works in a car. 

What a Water Pump Does in a Car

What does a water pump do? Well, the work of a water pump is to supply water for cooling the parts of the engine that overheats while being driven. The car water pump is responsible for pushing the coolant (mostly water) the car’s engine block, radiator and hoses with the intention of reaching the engine’s heated parts. Simply put, without a water pump, a car’s engine would overheat leading to malfunctioning. 

In most cases, the coolant that has gathered on the impellor blades is forced through the engine system using centrifugal force. Immediately the coolant reaches the water pump, it is forced through all the parts of the engine, where it absorbs all the heat released by the engine’s combustion system. The car water pump is operated by the engine’s drive belt. As the belt turns, the blades of the water pump also turn, releasing the coolant into the engine’s system. 

The quality of your car’s water pump is critical to how the engine will run. A quality water pump will help your engine maintain a consistent operating temperature, ensure that the engine is running smoothly and see to it that your car takes you to your final destination without the engine overheating. 

The Introduction of Car Water Pumps

When the first vehicles were made, they relied on air to cool the engine. However, as time went by, manufacturers noticed that air was not as effective leading to the introduction of water pumps that supplied water for cooling the engines. Apart from maintaining the temperature of the engine, it was also noticed that water was critical for protecting the engine just like oil does. This further underlined the superiority of having a water pump over air. 

As technology continues to grow, many vehicle manufacturers continue to devise ways of how they can create more effective engine coolants. However, we cannot dispute that water pumps have cemented their place as one of the most critical parts of a car engine.

How long does a water pump last?

Even though water pumps are located in well-protected areas of the car, they are not indestructible by any means. With the growth of technology, water pumps for SUVs, trucks and cars have a reputation for lasting long. However, like any other mechanical tool, water pumps can wear out and malfunction in the process. You will notice that your engine overheats regularly especially over long distances. This is a sign that you should replace the water pump before any additional damages can be done to the engine’s components. 

How to know that a water pump is not working properly

Now that you are aware of what a water pump does, it is also necessary that you are aware of when it is malfunctioning or needs change. Here are some common traits to look out for to ensure that you always have an effective water pump:

  1. Coolant Leakage

The water pump comprises of various parts that are responsible for containing the coolant and ensuring that the coolant only travels to the designated areas of the engine system. As time goes by, these parts begin to wear out and are not able to contain or direct the coolant to the designated areas therefore leading to leakages. The moment you start to notice coolant leakages probably from the middle of your engine, it is time to replace the water pump and all of its parts. 

  1. Loose water pump pulleys

As aforementioned, the car’s water pump has a belt and pulley system that pushes the coolant to the other parts of the engine. With continued usage, these pulleys and belts start to wear out leading to some creaking and buzzing sounds from the engine as you drive. In other case, the bearings in the car water pump system also start to wear out therefore causing a disintegration in their alignment. If the bearings fall into the water pump system, you have no other alternative than to replace the entire water pump system. 

  1. Constant overheating of the engine

This is the most obvious sign that your water pump is malfunctioning. Depending on the model of your car, when the engine over heats, it means that your water pump is not distribution enough coolant to cool it. Overheating on the other hand causes a lot of damages such as cracking the cylinder heads, pushing the head gaskets and burning the pistons therefore necessitating the need to change your water pump occasionally. You can tell that your water pump needs replacing if your engine overheats over shorter distances as compared to when the water pump was new. 

Other factors to watch out for include steam coming from the radiator and formation of rust and corrosion of the water pump. 

Factors to consider when replacing a water pump

Since the water pump is very important to how your engine runs, put the following factors in mind the next time you are out to replace one:

  • Always replace a water pump with a new one
  • Always consider the manufacturer’s instructions

Final Word

What does a water pump do? Well, the job of a car water pump is to supply the car’s engine with a coolant that will in turn regulate the temperature of the engine’s system. Simply put, the work of a water pump is to ensure that your car’s engine does not overheat especially over long distances. While it is true that the water pump is one of the most durable parts of a vehicle, it does not mean that it is indestructible. To know whether your water pump needs replacing, watch out for signs such as constant engine overheating, creaking and buzzing sounds from the engine, formation of rust on the water pump and coolant leakage. 


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