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When your engine is running it can get very hot. To prevent the engine overheating, the water pump does what its name suggests. Pumping water around the engine and then carrying the hot water to the radiator where it is cooled and then pumped back through the engine.
This makes sure everything runs at the correct temperature and keeps the engine performing at its best.
If the water pump fails then the engine will overheat and break down. Seeing as that’s a very expensive endeavour, it’s best to keep the water pump working properly.
A water pump is either run off of a belt attached to the engine or run off the battery. The engine powered one is mechanical and the battery powered one is electric.
Both have a small impeller inside a casing, usually made from iron or alloys. This impeller draws water from the radiator via the inlet and sends water through the engine through the outlet. They spin a very high speed to create the required suction and move the required volume of water through the engine.
To prevent your engine overheating and blowing a head gasket, your water pump has to be fully functional. If coolant is properly circulated through the engine then the resulting damage from overheating can cost far more than just a new pump.
A good indicator is coolant leaking onto the ground, your temp gauge climbs at low speeds. Sometimes you’ll notice a whining or rattling noise from the engine bay when the engine is running. In newer models, the electric fans will stay on longer after the car is turned off
Typically in the range of $350 to over $850 depending on the difficulty and cost of the new pump.
It varies based on the make and model but they are generally only replaced when an issue arises that requires replacement.
It can cause catastrophic damage to the engine, so although not dangerous to your health it can seriously damage the most expensive thing in your car - the engine.
If a problem arises that requires the water pump to be replaced then you should do so as soon as possible.
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