Diagnosing problems with and replacing your vehicle's water pump
In order for coolant to work properly it needs to constantly flow through your engine. Making it flow is the job of your vehicle's water pump. Water pump failure can lead to your engine overheating, which can result in engine failure, making it critically important to monitor your water pump health.
Telltale signs of impending water pump failure
If you notice any of the following symptoms, your vehicle may be experiencing a water pump failure:
- A whining that changes pitch with engine speed
- Coolant leaking from the pump itself
- Coolant leaks
Automotive water pump replacement can be an average job or a long, involved project, depending on your vehicle. Specialized tools needed to complete this task may be required. Please consult your repair manual or an Advance Auto Parts Team Member before attempting this procedure.
This is a project that needs some know-how
Begin with a cool engine, then disconnect the negative battery post.
Drain your coolant into a catch pan by loosening the petcock on the bottom of the radiator.
Replacement pumps usually come with the gaskets needed for the job. Refer to your repair manual and familiarize yourself with the pump type and location before beginning.
The water pump is sometimes well hidden beneath the exhaust manifold. Your vehicle’s repair manual will tell you which components you'll need to remove to get to the car water pump.
On some engines, you may need to remove the radiator, shroud and hoses to access the water pump. You may also need to remove the fan, pulleys and harmonic balancer, which will require a specialized puller.
Remove the old water pump.
Make sure all surfaces, including the pump mounting surfaces, are clean and free of old water pump gasket material and adhesives before reassembly. Coolant leaks may result if mating surfaces are not clean.
Test-fit the auto water pump and visualize assembly before proceeding.
Use RTV silicone water pump gasket sealer and/or a gasket depending on what your repair manual or water pump instructions recommend. Take your time with this step as leaks can result if done improperly. Use a gasket scraper or putty knife and prep the facing surface thoroughly before going any farther. You don't want to have a poorly-seated gasket and have to redo the job to repair any leaks.
Install the replacement pump. Refer to your repair manual for proper refastening sequence.
Reinstall all removed components. Refer to your repair manual for proper coolant refilling method and coolant mixture.
Follow these instructions to replace your auto water pump. You can also check out these videos on how to replace a water pump to get an idea for what's involved.
On a job where multiple assemblies may have to be taken apart, put the fasteners from each assembly in a separate ziploc bag and label it. That way you'll be sure all fasteners, hose clamps, etc. go back where they're supposed to!
Since you'll be rerouting the serpentine belt, this is a good time to also inspect the belt and its tensioner. If the belt needs to be replaced, chances are the tensioner will as well.