Cordova Auto Centers Tech Question:
I was driving on the freeway in TX and my family car engine started to get hot. I turned off my air conditioner and was able to drive about 80 miles to my meeting and then found a shop in San Antonio. It turns out that my water pump was leaking. It cost me many hundreds of dollars to get it fixed. What could I have done to avoid this?
Cordova Auto Centers Answer:
This guy’s story really did have a happy ending. When you continue driving when your engine’s overheating you risk a catastrophic engine failure. It really is a good idea to pull over and let your family car engine cool down before driving again. If you add water or coolant, be sure your engine is cool or you risk serious burns.
Now there’s no way for San Antonio motorists to predict when their water pump will fail – they just wear out. This fellow’s water pump replacement was more expensive because his water pump is driven by his timing belt. That requires a lot of hours to get to the water pump and then put everything back on the engine.
A money saving tip from Cordova Auto Centers in San Antonio: if your water pump is driven by your timing belt – replace the pump when you have your scheduled timing belt replacement. That way most of the work is already done and you don’t have to pay for it twice.
Check with your friendly Cordova Auto Centers service advisor about when your timing belt should be replaced.
Let’s talk water pumps for autos in San Antonio TX. The engine is cooled by coolant/antifreeze mixed with water. This mixture circulates around the engine, absorbing some of the heat. The coolant then flows through the radiator where air cools it down for the return trip back through the engine. Your family car’s water pump is what drives this process.
Cooling system problems are the number-one mechanical failure in San Antonio. So the water pump plays a pretty important role. You can’t get very far in TX without a water pump.
After all those miles and years of pumping coolant, water pumps just wear out. You might notice a whining or grinding sound coming from the water pump. Or maybe see coolant leaking from the pump itself.
The precise location of the water pump varies depending on the vehicle. Some have the water pump attached to the outside of the engine where you can see it. With these, the water pump is driven by the serpentine belt.
Some have the water pump driven by the timing belt. The timing belt cover often hides the water pump with this setup, so you can’t see the pump without removing the cover.
When you have Cordova Auto Center replace the water pump on one of these, you really should replace the timing belt at the same time. We’ve already gotten things taken apart and besides, the belt’s likely been contaminated by coolant. And timing belts usually need to be replaced every 60 to 90,000 miles anyway so it just makes sense to do both jobs at once.
The opposite is true too; when you change the timing belt on this type of engine, replace the water pump while you’re at it. The water pump will eventually fail and getting to it is an expensive project. For not that much more you can take care of both the timing belt and the water pump at the same time.
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Cordova Auto Centers
12715 Nacogdocher Road
San Antonio, TX 78217