How to Replace a Water Pump?

A water pump is a tool that helps to pump out the water from the ground, garden, pool, car, and others. The best part about the water pump is that it falls within the budget. Various water pumps in the market are used for different purposes. If you already have a very old water pump, then you might have to replace it. But before you go ahead and hire a professional, you may be inclined to do it yourself. It isn’t the easiest task, but we can walk you through it. Also, you need to know how to determine whether your pump actually needs replacing. 

To know how to replace the water pump and why the water pump fails in the first place keep reading the section. The below section will explain to you entirely about water pumps starting from the symptoms of a bad water pump to the dos and don’ts that you should follow while replacing the water pump. So, keep reading to know all, about it before replacing the water pump.

Different Types of replace a Water Pump

As we’ve mentioned before, there are different types of water pumps for a variety of purposes. Here are the most commonly used:

  • Residential Water Pump: Used to supply water to buildings and homes. Think of how water gets from the ground floor all the way to the penthouse suit in hotels and skyscrapers, defying gravity. Without a pump, or the aid of a water tower, this would be virtually impossible.
  • Hot Water Circulation: Some systems (like a water-based radiator) depend on the continuous flow of hot water through the system. A water pump is used to drive water through the heater to keep the system flowing.
  • Sump Pits: Septic tanks in basements utilize a water pump to get liquid waste out of the sump as needed. These systems are usually automatically activated, controlled by a floating lever. When the water level is too high, the level automatically turns on the water pump.
  • Vehicle Water Pump: All combustion-engine cars have a water pump that is used to direct the flow of water from the radiator to the engine and back. This is a system in place to make sure the engine itself doesn’t overheat.
  • Pool Pumps: Swimming pools, hot tubs, and other artificial bodies of water require a water pump to fill or drain them. Also, this pump is responsible for directly the flow of water through the filtration system to keep the water clean.

These are but a few of the different types of water pumps that we encounter in our daily lives without ever noticing it.

Symptoms of Bad Water Pump

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Water pumps are generally designed for heavy duty work, and last for a substantially long time. However, nothing last forever, so you will need to spot a damaged pump when you find it, so that you can replace it. Sometimes, the issue is not a damaged pump but something more simple like a power failure in that circuit. In that case, you wouldn’t want to go through the trouble of replacing the water pump, when all you need to do is fix an external electrical issue. That being said, it is very common for the overheated engine to quickly lead to engine failure. But before that, you should know the signs or the symptoms of a broken or a failing water pump. Below are certain common symptoms that you might find in your water pump which are signs that your water pump has failed – or is beginning to do so. 

  • The elevated temperature of the coolant

This is the most common symptom of a bad water pump. A coolant is a liquid that is added to various types of engines and motors to prevent the system from overheating. Of course, when a water pump (or any other type of motor) overheats, damages are likely to occur. If you see an elevated temperature through the warning light, this is a sign that your water pump is not in good condition. A bad pump or leaking coolant would allow the engine heat to be elevated to unsafe levels. 

  • Radiator steam

If you see steam billowing right from the front of your vehicle, this is an indication that you should stop and that your water pump is not in the right state. The steam indicates overheating and that the coolant did not circulate through the radiator for cooling down and hence the evaporation occurs.

  • Unusual sound

Another indication that your water pump is not working well is if you hear unusual sounds from your vehicle. Apart from the steam and the elevated temperature if you hear unusual sounds it is directly the cause of the bad water pump.

  • Fluid leak

Apart from the above factors of a fluid leak might also be one of the symptoms of the bad or the failing water pump. If you discover orange or green color fluid beneath the front portion of your pump, know that this might be the result of pump wear out.

These are some of the most common symptoms that might occur. The next will tell you the reasons behind the water pump failure.

Reasons Why a Water Pump Fails

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As you already know the signs and symptoms of a bad water pump, you can now move your attention towards the causes of the water pump failing or why exactly does the water pump fail. A few of the causes of a bad water pump have been mentioned below. Please take a look.

  • The first and foremost reason why the water pump fails is the premature corrosion inside the coolant or the cooling system. But in the majority of the cases, the water pump fails primarily because of shaft leaks.
  • The bent pulley might also cause similar damage. Whenever there is excessive tension over the fan belt it leads to overloading which results in the water pump failing. 
  • There is yet another reason why your water pump might fail that is cavitations in your coolant system. Cavitations are bubbles or empty spaces created within the liquid due to changes in static pressure. The movement in the coolant system of impeller blades might create a flow that generates the cavitations which ultimately lead to leakage and overheating and hence you will have to replace the water pump.
  • The pump failure might also be because of worn bearings and might have to replace the existing water pump to function better.

There are many other reasons as well for your water pump failure but these were some of the most common ones. Let us now move on to understand how to replace a water pump. We will go through the process simply, but in sufficient detail so you can handle the task on your own.

The Process of Replacing a Water Pump

The entire process of removing the old water pump and replacing it with the newer one is a bit technical. Considering how much does it cost to replace a water pump – many people want to attempt to DIY it, and it can be difficult. But we have here put up few simple and easy steps for you to get an idea of the entire process.

Before putting in place the new water pump, you will have to remove the old one. The steps to remove the old water pump are as follows:

  • The first step is to remove your belt from the AC compressor. 
  • Now you can remove your alternator belts. 
  • Once you are done with this, you could now remove the bolts from your water pump & then push it down to remove it.

We can now move to the process of replacing it with the new one. Once you have already removed a water pump, the replacement of a new water pump in that position is the same. 

  •  All you have to do is to replace the pump with the new one and then tighten up all the 6 bolts. 
  • Once this is done you can go back to the same process of how you removed the older water pump. 
  • You can then replace the belts and remove the AC compressor pulley before bolting down the compressor. Drop yet another Bolt and get everything back together bolted.

These were the simple steps that you could follow to replace your water pump. As you have understood the whole process of replacing the old water pump with a new water pump, we can now move on to the next section to understand which things should be avoided are and which ones to be followed.  Now you know (effort-wise) how much to replace a water pump.

Do’s and Don’ts for Water Pump Replacement

Replacing the water pump requires technical expertise to some extent. So, it is important that whenever you plan to replace your water pump by yourself you also know about the dos and don’ts for the water pump replacement.  Of course, take all the usual safety precautions that are advised when starting any DIY project. If you are planning to replace your existing water pump the read the following section carefully. There are some do’s and don’ts that would help you to avoid some common mistakes. These pointers will help you avoid damaging your water pump unintentionally. After all, you are an amateur – so you’ll need all the help you can get.


Things that you should follow while replacing the water pump are as follows:

  • It is suggested to flush out the cooling system as most people forget to flush the cooling system and hence unconsciously make a huge mistake that costs them a lot. 
  • The impurities might settle down and they may cause premature water pump failure if they are not flushed out. Use the old pump if you want to avoid the impurities contaminating your new pump.
  • Another point under the dos is to rotate your pump manually. And also make sure that while you rotate it, the water pump rotates freely. As the coolant or the cooling system gets sucked in the mechanical component because of the rotating movement which effectively creates a film that keeps the coolant from spilling. 
  • The next point in concern is properly vented out the coolant. Whenever you are replacing the water pump, it is good if you burp the coolant for getting rid of the air which is trapped. So, always remember to properly vent out the cooling system.
  • Yet another best practice for maintaining a good condition of the water pump is that you keep changing the coolant after every 5 years. This is very important if you want the overall process to go well. So, change it frequently so as to avoid any issues. Of course, check the expiry date of your coolant, if for some reason it is less than 5 years, abide by that timeline.


Things that you should not follow while replacing the water pump are as follows:

  • Whenever an individual replaces the water pump, there is always a visual difference that they discover. This might look a bit different but there is nothing to worry about.
  • Always do make sure that the new water pump that you will be replaced should be of the same height and must have similar functions as the earlier (damaged) one. Even if you are thinking of upgrading to a stronger water pump, dimensions are an important factor to consider.
  • Another point that you should always remember is never to use the coolant which is either too cold or too old. In both the situation it is not acceptable. Fresh, new coolant is the ideal – straight from the bottle. 
  • People do usually collect coolant from their old pump itself to reuse but it is not advised as the coolant has an expiry date and would deteriorate with time.

There are many other do’s and don’ts as well that you should take care of while replacing the water pump. Also do not worry much about the seepage from the weep hole. And try not to apply the sealant to dry seal or O-ring seal.

Water Pump Maintenance

Even if you can replace your water pump easily, it’s not a process you want to go through every other day. Considering how much to replace a water pump, most people don’t have the finances to buy a new pump every year. There are some steps you can take to ensure that your water pump is well maintained and last longer that the manufacturer’s expectations. If you don’t think you are up to the task, it may be more financially responsible to hire someone to routine check ups on your water pump to keep the pump running smoothly and efficiently. Many pool shops provide this service, and some stores that sell water pumps do so as well.

Routine Check Up

You should check all the parts of your water pump routinely. This includes checking for corrosion, breaks, or any other damages you can find. Make sure you’re checking all the parts thoroughly – the seals, impeller, seals, popes, bearing, valves, and even the electrical components. All parts are subject to wear and tear, checking them early on just ensures that you get fix the damaged part before the entire pump needs replacement. This is also a chance to spot any leaks below the water pump before things get out of hand. When checking the pump, make sure everything is tightened because many parts can loosen over time.

Keep The Water Pump Clean

The water pump should always be kept in clean conditions. If it is outdoors, consider getting an appropriate cover for it to avoid water damage from the rain or other weather elements. Also, make sure your coolant is at the ideal level (not to much or too little). Dust and dirt build up can clog up you motor and cause it to overheat, so make sure any vents in your water pump aren’t clogged up with dirt and debris.

All hazardous materials should be kept far from your water pump. This includes paint, oils (even motor oils). This is not only important in keeping toxic materials from getting into your water supply, but it keeps the internal parts of your water safe from potential corrosion.


The bearing of your water pump will likely be lubricated to ensure a smooth operation. With time, as the lubricant wears off, the bearings can grind against each other and cause irreparable damage. Routine checks will help you spot a damaged bearing and replace it when needed, but you under greased bearings could be damaged quicker than you think.

Make sure to lubricate your bearings appropriately. However, it is worth mentioning that you should avoid over greasing them because that could also cause damage. Before greasing your bearings, remove the vent cap and run the motor for half an hour. This is an easy way of removing excess grease out of the bearings. Don’t forget to re-install the cap! Or else you’ll end up losing all the lubrication and your hard work would be for nothing. Make sure the lubricant you are using is appropriate for your water pump, and check your user’s manual for specific recommendations of lubrication frequency.

Avoid Overworking Your Water Pump

Most water pumps aren’t designed to be running 24/7. Overworking your pump will significantly reduce its lifespan. Another common cause of overworking the pump is when your system has no water in it. This is especially common in residential areas when the water in the tank is empty and the water pump has no more water to drive upwards – air gets into the pump, and before you know it, the motor is damaged beyond repair.

Replacing Parts

You already performed a full check up on your water pump, so you should make sure to replace any parts that are damaged in any way. This includes replacing seals, hoses, and O-rings. The cost and technical difficult of replacing these parts is much lower than that of replacing the entire water pump. So, you’d be doing yourself a big favor by replacing damaged parts as you find them.

Abide By The Manufacturer’s Recommendations

Last but not least, make sure you are following the manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions carefully. They probably test the pump rigorously before mass-producing it, and will know better how to keep it in optimal condition. Their guidelines are more important for your safety and prolonging the life of your water pump than any other advice we can give you. If you can’t find the manual provided by the manufacturer, or it is in a foreign language, you can use the internet to download free copies of the manual in your language of choice, or translate your existing manual. There are thousands of websites that provide such resources, and many people on internet forums can help you by scanning their copy of a manual when needed.

Wrap Up

Well, we hope we were able to solve all your queries and that you got all your answers to your unanswered questions. Hopefully, this guide was clear enough so that you now know how to replace a water pump on your own. But always do remember to follow the instructions properly while replacing the water pump. It is a process that requires a bit of technical expertise. So, either ask a technical person or an expert to replace the water pump for you or if you do it by yourself do not forget to follow the dos and don’ts properly.

These guidelines will help safeguard you from any hazards, and keep your from unintentionally damaging your water pump system. Regardless of how cheap or expensive it is, damaging a brand new water pump while you are replacing a damaged one is bound to put you in a bad mood. Take your time while you are replacing the pump, and don’t try to skip any steps, no matter how menial they seem. Every task mentioned in this guideline has a specific purpose and will help your achieve replacing your water pump seamlessly, so follow the steps carefully. 

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