Saturday, May 18, 2013

Water Pump Replacement - The Heart Of A Healthy Cooling System

How important is the water pump to a vehicle's cooling system? One way to understand this concept would be to compare it to the human heart. If a human heart quits pumping, there will be a loss of blood flow and the person will die. If a car or truck's water pump cycle is disturbed, the vehicle will overheat and most likely "die".

The water pump is a device that disperses heat produced by internal combustion engines to maintain correct engine temperature. This device is circular in shape and contains chambers with a spindle in the center. It is usually located toward the front of the engine with a hose that connects to the radiator. The fan belt connects the spindle to the engine and when the engine is engaged, the fan belt turns the spindle which creates suction and permits the water pump to access water from the radiator. The water is circulated to the engine through water hoses. After the cool water absorbs engine heat, it circulates back to the radiator for re-cooling.

The water pump is instrumental in transferring the mixture of water and antifreeze from the radiator to the engine for cooling purposes. Experts agree that it is the most important element of the vehicle's cooling system. If it malfunctions, the engine coolant settles in the block and heads. If coolant isn't circulated to the radiator, overheating results. A vehicle that has overheated could be financially devastating as it may result in a blown head gasket, warped heads or even a blown engine. Any one of these potential results would mean very expensive repairs.

If the water pump is working, but delivers reduced pressure, it can still cause significant damage to your vehicle. A constricted flow will cause higher operating temperatures of the engine and culminate in damages to the radiator, hoses, thermostat, etc. If your temperature gauge indicates that something in the cooling system is failing, it's extremely important to pull over and park the car immediately. Continuing to drive after your vehicle has overheated will likely cause catastrophic damage to your engine.

A growling sound from the engine may indicate a bearing of the water pump is going bad. If the bearings are beginning to fail, the pump will start "weeping". Be vigilant for drops of coolant underneath your car and remember to check your vehicle's coolant level and have it changed on a regular schedule. You may even want to have a professional auto mechanic pressure test the entire cooling system to ensure there are no leaks.

A vehicle's cooling system is comprised of a number of components including a drive belt that circulates coolant into passages located inside the heads and engine block. The radiator assumes the responsibility of lowering coolant temperature while the thermostat controls coolant temperature. The radiator cap controls pressure in the cooling system and various hoses transport the coolant from the engine to the radiator.

There is no definitive answer concerning water pump replacement. Depending upon the make and model of a vehicle, they will usually last approximately 60,000-90,000 miles. Refer to your owner's manual for manufacturer recommendations about water pump replacement. Staying current with the suggested preventive maintenance schedule for your car or truck will undoubtedly prolong the life of your vehicle's cooling system and greatly reduce the likelihood of expensive repairs.

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