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Can I Still Drive My Car If the Water Pump Is Leaking?

Can I Still Drive My Car If the Water Pump Is Leaking?

When your car's water pump leaks, the first question you should ask yourself is, “can I still drive my car if the water pump is leaking?” The short answer is it depends. If the water pump leak is minor, you might be able to drive the vehicle for a couple of miles, but it's not recommended. However, if the water leak is major, you must stop the vehicle immediately and consult a professional mechanic.

 

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


The cooling system is responsible for maintaining the engine temperature within the optimum level. This system contains multiple components, including the coolant, the radiator, the water pump, the thermostat, the hoses, etc. When any of these components fail, your engine will likely get overheated, resulting in engine damage.

The water pump is one of the very important components in your cooling system, and it's responsible for pumping the coolant around the engine with the right pressure. Unfortunately, a leaking water pump is very common as the water pump gets older. Understanding what needs to be done when the water pump leaks are essential to prevent significant issues.

This article helps you understand whether you can drive your vehicle when the water pump leaks or not. It also highlights some useful information regarding the water pump's main role and what exactly happens when it leaks. Finally, it provides you with a rough estimate about how much it will cost you to fix a leaking water pump.

What is the car water pump, and what does it do?

 

Before we dive into the details about “can I still drive my car if the water pump is leaking?” It's important to step back and understand the main role of the water pump in your vehicle. Once we do so, it gets much easier to determine the severity of a leaking water pump.

The water pump is part of the cooling system responsible for maintaining the engine temperature within the optimum range. If the engine temperature exceeds a certain threshold, the agent can overheat result in significant engine damages.

The water pump is responsible for pumping the coolant with the right pressure around the engine. As the coolant runs around the engine, it sucks the excess temperature and brings its temperature down. Once the coolant gets hot, it goes back to the radiator to drop the excess temperature and repeat the process.

Over time of use, it's not rare to deal with situations where the water pump gets damaged. Unfortunately, the water pump is not designed to last forever, and there will be a point when it wears out requiring replacement.

What happens if the water pump leaks?

Since the water pump is the primary component near the vehicle responsible for sending the coolant around the engine, it is important to ensure that the pump is working properly to prevent engine damages.

One of the common issues that might face your vehicle's water pump is water pump leaks. This happens when the water pump wears out, and coolant finds some weak areas creating cracks and leaks. Obviously, when the coolant leaks to a certain point, it will not do its job, and the engine will continue to overheat.

It's important to note that every vehicle is designed to require a certain level of coolant. When the coolant level drops below a certain threshold, it will not do the right job, and it will not be enough to get rid of the excess heat coming out of the engine. Thus, the cooling system will fail to do its job.

Most drivers, specifically inexperienced drivers, will not realize the water pump leaks until the vehicle throws warning lights on the dashboard. These warning lights will most likely be high temperature reading on the temperature gauge. You must stop your vehicle immediately and shut off the engine to eliminate any significant problems when that happens.

Can I still drive my car if the water pump is leaking?

Deciding whether you can drive your vehicle with a leaking water pump depends heavily on the severity of the leak. Typically, you'll be dealing with one of the following two situations:

1.    Minor water pump leaks

If the water pump leak is minor, it will most likely not reduce the coolant level significantly. In that case, you might be able to continue driving the vehicle for a couple of miles without any big issue. However, you always recommend that you take your vehicle to the nearest repair shop and resolve the issue before it gets complicated.

Usually, when the water pump leaks, the issue is related to a bad ceiling that starts small but can get bigger over time. Thus, whatever reason preventing you from getting the problem resolved should not be more important than dealing with a complete engine failure.

2.    Major water pump leaks

On the other hand, there are some situations where your water pump might leak significant amounts of coolant. In that case, you will most likely see some puddles of coolant underneath the vehicle at the location of the water pump.

If you are dealing with such a situation, you must stop driving your vehicle immediately. However, there are some instances where you can't even continue driving your vehicle to the nearest repair shop. That's when you must consult a towing company and get the vehicle towed to the dealership or repair shop to get it fixed.

If you continue driving your vehicle with major water pump leaks, you immediately sacrificed the engine because the engine will not receive the right level of cooling. Therefore, engine overheating can happen in no time. Whether you're driving during the winter or summer season, it doesn't matter because the heat is most likely coming from the engine itself. However, things are expected to be more severe in summer versus winter because summer will increase access to heat from the environment.

How long can I drive with a leaking water pump?

Again, it all depends. As we indicated earlier, the water pump leak might be minor and might be major. If you have a minor water pump leak, you might be able to drive it for a couple of miles, but it's also not recommended. Some customers indicated that it was OK to drive the vehicle for a week, while others mentioned they could drive the car for about 2000 miles without any issue.

Keep in mind that this differs significantly depending on your vehicle's type and the severity of the leak. Thus, even though you might be able to continue driving your vehicle with a leaking water pump, do not sacrifice it because you never know what complication you might run through.

Obviously, if the water leak is major and you're noticing some puddles of coolant underneath the vehicle, you cannot drive it for a single inch, and you must pull over and shut down the engine immediately. Otherwise, there's a very high chance that your engine might overheat, resulting in significant problems needing very high repair costs.

How much does it cost her to place a bad water pump?

In general, if your water pump problem required replacing the parts, you might pay somewhere between $461 and $638. Keep in mind that this price range differs significantly depending on your vehicle type and the location where we get the job done.

The other thing to consider is labor cost. Since replacing the water pump might need a certain level of mechanical skill sets, expect to pay between $205 and $314.00 on labor only.

Remember that getting any parts replaced at a larger dealership will cost you much more money than at a small independent shop. However, many owners of modern vehicles prefer to get their repairs done at a dealership because they ensure the right level of mechanical skill sets needed, and they confirmed mistakes would introduce no problems.

Some people prefer to replace their parts by themselves. Still, since the water pump replacement requires some level of mechanical skill sets, it is recommended that you never try it on your own and experience it on your vehicle unless you have the right skill sets.

How many hours does it take to replace a water pump?

Typically, replacing your vehicle's water pump might take about 3 hours here. However, keep in mind that this time frame might differ significantly depending on who's doing the job. For instance, if it's you trying to learn how to replace a water pump, it will take you much more time than a professional mechanic who knows what he's doing exactly.

Also, get the job done at the same brand dealership. They'll know exactly how your specific vehicle's water pump needs to be replaced compared to another inexperienced mechanic who might not have the chance to change a water pump for your vehicle's brand.

Keep in mind that the three hours might not cover the entire waiting time, especially if you decided to go with a dealership located in an urban area where it's very busy. So that's why we always recommend that you get in touch with them and schedule an appointment to know that your vehicle will get the right service without needing any waiting time.

Of course, this can be a little challenging for many people because water pumps problems do not give you a heads up, and when they happen, they require immediate action, which means that you might need to leave your vehicle at the repair shop overnight.

Can I replace a water pump myself?

Knowing that labor cost is a big component in replacing a water pump does wonders if they can replace the water pump themselves. The short answer is it depends on your level of skill sets.

The water pump is not as simple, and it needs some experience before you can experience it in your vehicle. If your vehicle is a luxury car, for example, it might not be worth exploring and trying things on it because there is a very high chance that you want to do some major damage, costing you thousands of dollars.

On the other hand, if your vehicle is not very expensive and you did the right amount of research on how to replace a water pump, you might be able to do it by yourself. However, it's still not recommended because most DIYs do not work the first time, as automotive experts usually indicate.

Conclusion

The water pump is a critical component in the cooling system, and it's responsible for pumping the coolant around the engine to drop its temperature when it's above a certain threshold. So when the water pump fails, you will most likely deal with some coolant leaks around the water pump.

Coolant leak is a significant situation, and it can immediately lead to significant engine damages. Therefore, it is important to ask yourself, “can I still drive my car if the water pump is leaking?” And the answer is it depends on the severity of the leak. For example, if the leak is minor, you might be able to drive for a couple of miles, but it's not recommended. However, if the leak is major, you must shut down the engine immediately to prevent major issues.

If you realize that your vehicle has other major problems, it might not be worth spending the money replacing the water pump because it's not very cheap. So instead, you recommended selling your vehicle and use the money towards a better car that doesn't have major problems.

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