There are lots of moving components inside your vehicle’s engine, and all this movement creates a ton of friction and heat. That’s why your engine uses coolant to help transfer that heat out of the engine and keep everything cool enough to keep running.
It’s the water pump’s job to keep that coolant moving. Without a functioning water pump it’s only a matter of time until your vehicle ends up overheating on the side of the road. So, if your vehicle has a faulty water pump, how much will it cost for this necessary repair?
Not only that, but how can you know for sure that the water pump is the problem? We’ll answer those questions and more for you here.
5 Symptoms of a Faulty Water Pump
The last thing you want to do is spend a ton of money and put in a ton of work replacing the water pump only to realize that wasn’t the problem. That’s why we wanted to take the time to highlight five potential symptoms of a faulty water pump for you here.
1. Low Coolant
If there’s a coolant leak you might not always be able to see it. The leak might be small enough that it’s not very noticeable, or it might burn off on the engine. But one thing it can’t hide is the drop in the coolant level.
Coolant is a sealed system so you should never notice a drop in the coolant level. If there is a drop, it’s going somewhere, and you need to figure it out.
2. Coolant Leak
It’s important to note that a coolant leak from the water pump doesn’t always mean you need a brand-new water pump. Often you can just replace the water pump gasket for a fraction of the cost. A water pump gasket typically only costs between $5 and $20, while a brand-new water pump runs between $150 and $300.
3. Overheating Engine
It’s the water pump’s job to push coolant throughout the engine, and if it’s not working the engine can’t cool itself down like it needs to. If the vehicle’s water pump is completely seized up it won’t push coolant at all, and the engine will overheat if you run it long enough.
4. Corroded Water Pump
This isn’t something you’ll likely notice until after you pull out the water pump, but it’s a clear sign that it’s time to replace it. It’s also why you should only use distilled water when mixing coolant, as regular water can lead to corrosion throughout various components.
5. Loud Engine Noises
If the water pump is moving as it should, that doesn’t stop the serpentine belt from trying to spin it. All this extra friction creates heat and noise. If you’re hearing a whining sound coming from the front of your engine, you might need a new water pump.
But keep in mind that there are a lot of moving pulleys on the front of the engine. Therefore you can’t point right to the water pump if there’s a whining noise coming from there.
How Long Should a Water Pump Last?
While some guides out there tell you that you should expect to replace your water pump after 60,000 miles, that’s not our experience. Water pumps should easily last over 100,000 miles if you take care of the coolant in your vehicle properly.
In fact, it’s more likely that you’ll need to replace the water pump gasket and you can keep the old water pump in your vehicle. Moreover, if there are no signs of wear or tear on your vehicle’s water pump, we don’t recommend replacing it when you replace the water pump gasket.
Water Pump Replacement Cost
Now that you know for sure you need a new water pump, it’s time to start diving into the costs. We’ve broken down how much you can expect to spend if you plan to replace it yourself, if you plan to take it to a professional repair shop, and if you plan to take it to a dealership.
If you have some mechanical skills and want to replace your vehicle’s water pump yourself, you can expect to spend between $400 and $500 to get the job done. This might not make much sense when you look up the price of water pumps and find that they’re between $150 and $300 though.
But the thing is you can’t just replace the water pump. If the water pump doesn’t come with a new gasket, you’ll need that. But you’ll also have to flush the coolant during the job.
Moreover, with many engines you’ll need to remove plenty of other components to get to the water pump. If any of these components have a gasket, you’ll need to replace them during the job too.
If you’re planning on taking your vehicle to a professional to get a new water pump, you can expect to spend between $700 and $800 to get the job done. The parts cost from the DIY method stays the same, but most repair shops will charge you between $250 and $300 to complete the job.
When you consider how much work goes into replacing a water pump, that’s really not a bad rate. But if you know how to do the job yourself, that’s still a decent amount of money you can save.
Dealerships tend to cost a little more for repairs for two reasons. First, they generally only use OEM replacement parts which typically cost a little more than aftermarket parts.
Second, their hourly labor rate is generally a little higher than other shops. Still, the tradeoff is that you get OEM replacement parts and a technician that specializes in your specific type of vehicle.
Because of all this you can expect to spend between $800 and $900 for a new water pump if you take your vehicle to a dealership.
How To Replace Your Water Pump
If you’re looking to save a little money and replace the water pump yourself, it’s not the most challenging job out there. But while it’s not the most challenging, there are a lot of steps and it’s pretty labor-intensive.
Here’s a great youtube video from ChrisFix on how to replace a water pump.
We’ll also walk you through the basics here, but if you’re unsure of your abilities we recommend taking your vehicle to a professional mechanic.
Finally, keep in mind that these are general steps to replace the water pump on your vehicle, and the exact steps for your specific vehicle might be slightly different.
- Let the Engine Cool Down
- Remove the Serpentine Belt
- Remove the Water Pump Hose
- Remove Water Pump Bolts
- Clean the Mounting Surface
- Inspect All Components
- Install the New Water Pump
- Re-Attach the Water Pump Hose
- Top Off the Coolant
- Test It!
While replacing the water pump on your vehicle might be a little more expensive than you’d like, if the water pump on your vehicle isn’t working properly it’s not a problem you can ignore.
It’s a critical component in your vehicle, and you’ll find yourself stranded on the side of the road if you don’t take the time to replace it. Don’t ignore the problem, fix it and keep your vehicle on the road!