How To Tell If Water Pump Is Bad In 5 Ways?

Mechanics usually recommend us to change our oil and check the oil level in our car to make sure it is running smoothly. But many of us do not know that water pumps are equally important to keep the car running well. For this reason, many are not aware when their water pumps turn bad. This article discusses how to tell if water pump is bad so read on!

What Is The Role Of A Water Pump In a Car?

The water pumps in a car play a very crucial part in keeping you safe on the road. Your car’s engine is full of parts that put off an incredible amount of heat and friction while running. The water pump keeps coolant running consistently through the engine block, hoses and radiator, ensuring that everything is kept at a safe temperature. 

If there is no correctly working water pump, your engine will overheat in the summer and will freeze in the winter. This can cause damage to the gasket, cylinder heads, pistons and can even result in total engine failure. Thus maintain your water pump well with occasional maintenance to avoid such damage and expensive repairs. 

How To Tell If Water Pump Is Bad?

It is important for people who own cars to be familiar with the signs of a bad water pump. Otherwise, you won’t be able to identify the problem until it is too late. And when it is too late, there are chances that your engine is even damaged irreversibly. Here are some common symptoms on how to tell if water pump is bad. 

1. Coolant Leaking

One of the most common signs of a faulty water pump is the appearance of a puddle of coolant under your parked car. The water pumps in cars are made of several different gaskets and seals that are prone to wear down, drying out, cracking or breaking with time, just like a lot of car components. 

When this happens, the coolant of your car will leak through these cracks. Thus if you see a puddle of orange green, pink or blue liquid underneath your car which has been parked for a while, then it is better to take it to a maintenance shop as soon as possible. Coolant leaking is a common symptom of many other issues including a failed water pump. Your mechanic will be able to identify what the issue is. They will repair the cracked gaskets and seals if that is needed. 

2. Rust Or Deposit Build-Up

If your water pump leaks, the moisture that builds up around the pump cause the formation of rust on the pump. This is usually caused by a non-compatible coolant or a defective pressure cap that lets air into the system. Either way, this cause damage to your water pump making it less efficient at moving coolant through the engine eventually resulting in complete failure. 

It is good to lift your hood and check for rust and such. This is the best method on how to tell if water pump is bad and it is better to check that wait for the “check engine” light to come ON on your dashboard. In case you notice rust piled up around your pump, it is an indication that it is time for you to take your car to get the water pump replaced. 

3. Noise

Are you noticing that your car makes a whining sound when you accelerate? This annoying sound is usually a result of a loose accessory belt. Loose belts are usually a result of a loose pulley or bearing that requires tightening or replacement. Whining sounds or any sound for that matter cannot be a good indication. So it is best to get your car checked by a mechanic as soon as possible. Hesitating to do so can only cause severe damage that may require expensive repairs. 


Even if your water pump is working fine, it’s important to have any strange whining sounds diagnosed by your mechanic. There are several belts in your engine, including a serpentine belt, that can cause catastrophic damage to your engine if they slip, break or snap. Having your belts replaced according to your vehicle’s maintenance schedule will keep you from finding yourself stranded on the side of the road.

4. Overheating

Have you ever noticed the temperature gauge of your car rising? If you haven’t, then your car is safe and fine and you have nothing to worry about. If you have then it may be an indication that your car is on its way to getting failed. A car that is overheating is quite dangerous as it may result in engine failure. If you notice a rising temperature gauge, do not hesitate to take your car to a mechanic as soon as possible. 

5. Steam

If you notice steam coming out of your vehicle hood, it is a serious sign on how to tell if water pump is bad. When your water pump is faulty, it finds it difficult to move coolant through the engine which results in overheating. If you notice steam coming through your vehicle, pull over your car and call your mechanic immediately. It is not safe to continue riding your car in such a situation. It will only cause irreversible damage to your car and its engine. 

What To Do About Faulty Water Pump

If you notice any of the five signs of a bad or faulty water pump, seek the assistance of your mechanic as soon as possible. Cars are something that requires constant attention, maintenance and care. So hesitating to get your mechanic to inspect your car when you notice the above five symptoms or any other problems can only make matters worse. 


Having an issue with the car, especially the riskier ones are a safety hazard to not just you but also others. It is our responsibility to keep both ourselves and others safe and not cause any trouble because of us to others. It is always better to be safe than sorry, never take risks and put yourselves and others in one. If you can prevent causing any issue to your car, that is much better than expensive repairs. Give your car regular maintenance and care and this can make all the difference. 

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