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Most cars or trucks found in your driveway or garage uses a water pump to circulate water or coolant/antifreeze through the vehicle’s cooling system. Circulating the liquid through the cooling system keeps the vehicle running cool. An impeller within the car engine water pump circulates the liquid throughout the radiator and the engine’s water jackets to maintain optimum operating temperature. When it comes to automotive water pumps there are a myriad of options, from electric water pump car applications to high volume water pump options and we carry the best names in the business like KRC, Moroso, and Stewart Components water pumps. It can be a confusing process, but we've got you covered with water pump finishes available in chrome and polished too, and we’re here to help you wade through our many water pump kit options.

 

What Happens When a Water Pump Fails?

As their name signifies, when automotive water pumps fail, they often quit pumping water, though a failure point can be something as simple as a leak too. When an electric water pump car application quits working, it could be electrical-related, since automotive electric water pumps rely on relays and wiring for operation. However, mechanical, belt-driven water pumps, when they fail it’s mostly because of vane deterioration due to a heavily corrosive cooling system. Some water pump applications utilize a bearing shaft vent hole in the pump casting. If water starts leaking from that hole, the water pump shaft seal has failed necessitating water pump rebuild or replacement.

In general, though, when a water pump has failed, water will not be flowing through the cooling system, thereby causing an overheating condition. One way to see if a water pump is functioning properly is to see if coolant or water is passing through the radiator. This can be done by safely removing the radiator cap and looking to see if coolant is physically passing from one side of the radiator to the other in crossflow applications. On older downflow applications you should still see some coolant/water flow across the top tank area if the pump is functioning as it should. If you know the thermostat has opened and coolant is still not passing through the radiator, and everything else is properly functioning, your water pump needs inspection.

Can You Drive a Car with A Bad Water Pump?

The short answer to this is, yes, but it will be a short trip. If water or coolant is not circulating throughout the cooling system, your engine will overheat, and eventually shut off. When an engine’s water pump cannot circulate hot coolant/water to the radiator to be cooled, the engine will get hot. Blown head gaskets and cracked or warped cylinder heads, or worse, will be the result. Obviously if it is a leak from the water pump gasket or shaft seal you can nurse it a bit further if you monitor and top off your cooling system until you can get your vehicle home or to a repair facility. Without a fully operational water pump, there’s only so much the radiator, fan and thermostat can do to keep an engine from overheating. The best thing to do when you notice an overheating issue is to pull over and investigate.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Car’s Water Pump?

Replacing automotive water pumps is one of those jobs where the labor charge can be substantially more than the cost of the part itself. The average replacement aftermarket water pump will cost you between $100 and $200, but if a shop does the repair, the labor cost will easily double the cost of the water pump kit. Furthermore, if you opt for a high performance water pump, an aluminum water pump, or one of many chrome water pumps we offer, the water pump kit price will increase the cost of replacing it. Plus, the engine you’re using can also have a significant impact on the water pump kit price and the labor cost of replacing it.

How Long Does It Take to Replace a Water Pump?

When replacing a water pump with an electric water pump car application, or a high volume water pump, you will need to set aside at least two hours to do the job. Depending on your vehicle, it could take longer, especially if going from a mechanical water pump to an electric water pump application. If the water pump is easily accessible, it could take less time to add a high flow water pump or any of our automotive electric water pumps. If you drive a hot rod, a muscle car, or a race car, adding a high performance water pump could take less than an hour to be back on the road. The more difficult it is to get to the vehicle’s water pump, the longer it will take to replace it. Because of this, you will spend half your time accessing the water pump, and then reinstalling those components after you’ve installed the new water pump kit.

What’s The Best Aftermarket Water Pump?

What you want to look for in a water pump kit is a high volume water pump, or high flow water pump. Let’s face it, if you are here looking for a water pump kit, you want more performance out of the component than what was on the engine. Many of the manufacturer’s water pumps we offer on our site are of the high volume or high performance variety. Also, look for water pump kits that include new hardware. Since a water pump is front and center of an engine’s cooling system, its hardware can many times be damaged because of corrosion. Therefore, new mounting hardware is often necessary. Purchasing a water pump kit with included hardware will ensure a quick and easy installation without hunting down new nuts and bolts at the local auto parts or hardware store.