How Do You Replace the Water Pump in a Vehicle?


Quick Answer

To replace the water pump in a vehicle, first cool the engine and disconnect the negative battery posts. Drain any coolant from the radiator. In complex cases, the water pump is located under the exhaust manifold. Take the radiator outlet pipe from the water pump housing, and then remove the housing itself before removing the pump. Clean all surfaces, including anywhere the pump was mounted, of debris and adhesive to prevent future coolant leaks, and test-fit the pump before attaching.

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Full Answer

If the water pump fits appropriately, use an RTV silicone water pump gas sealer or gasket to secure it thoroughly, as leaks can occur if it is not fully secured. Replace the disassembled parts in the reverse order and refill the radiator with coolant.

While the procedure for replacing the actual water pump is the same on any vehicle, the route to the pump is often different. Use the vehicle manufacturer's manual to determine the parts that you need to remove to access the pump.

A rapid drop in the overflow bottle or the sudden smell of engine coolant can signify a water pump leak. If there are no problems with the radiator or heater core, the water pump is the problem. To determine if it needs a complete replacement, jack up the car and see if it is actively dripping. While the weeping of seals is normal, dripping presents a problem. You also need to replace the pumps if it is easy to rock them from side to side, as this indicates a loose bearing.

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