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How to Check to See If Water Pump Is Bad

by Jennifer Patterson

Water pumps push coolant through a vehicle's cooling system, using a fan belt or a timing belt. Water pumps can become faulty over time. There are usually signs that it's going bad. If the problem is fixed in time, you can avoid costly repairs. You can check for a bad water pump in a few simple steps.

Signs of a Bad Water Pump

Look for leaks from under the vehicle. When a water pump is going bad, one of the first signs is leaking coolant. Inspect the areas around the radiator and hoses for signs of leaking. If there is leaking, consult a mechanic immediately.

Determine if there is overheating. Overheating is a sign that the water pump is leaking and needs immediate attention. Check the temperature gauge on the dashboard to see if it has risen into the hot zone. Also check to see if steam is rising from the engine.

Look for pools of green fluid under your vehicle. This is another sign that the water pump is bad. After pulling out of a parking spot, check to see if a green fluid is on the ground underneath the vehicle.

Listen for unusual sounds coming from the vehicle while driving. If you hear a whining sound coming from the heating or cooling vents, that indicates that there is a problem with the water pump.


  • Inspect all the coolant hoses when replacing a water pump.
  • It is recommended that the drive belts be changed when a water pump is replaced.


  • Use caution when opening the radiator cap because hot fluid from the radiator can cause serious burns. Always let the car's engine cool down first.

About the Author

Jennifer Patterson started her writing career as a freelance writer in 2008, contributing how-to articles and other pieces to various websites. She is an expert in the field of computers and health care and attended Miami-Dade community college, where she received an Associate of Science in computer science.

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