I’ve faced a lot of people asking me if it is possible to drive a car with a bad water pump. Well, the answer to the question is very easy. In fact, if you can understand what the water pump does for the car and the reasons behind doing it, you’ll get the answer easily.
So, right now, before answering the question, I’m going to talk about the water pump inside a car, what it does and why it does the work.
Why There is a Water Pump Coming with a Car?
The part that is responsible for supplying coolant around the engine of a car is called the water pump. It maintains the flow of the coolant so that the engine temperature remains within a specific range. Besides the engine, a water pump is also responsible for spreading coolant around the engine block, hoses and radiator.
The main duty of a water pump is to continuously maintain an optimum range of temperature. If the temperature is higher than the optimum range, the engine and other related components may stop working gradually or face any serious problem which might make you spend much more bucks.
Can You Drive a Car with a Bad Water Pump?
Now you know that a water pump plays a crucial role to keep the engine and surroundings cool by stopping the engine from overheating. So, let me ask you the same question now- can you drive a car when it has a bad water pump?
I know that many of you will answer that it is not possible to drive a car with a bad water pump. I am not totally agreed with the answer because it is partially wrong.
You can start the engine and move the car even when there is a bad water pump in the car. You can drive like there is no problem with the water pump. But, after starting the car in such a situation, you should go to the nearest mechanic at first to get the water pump fixed.
The reason is- when the water pump is bad, it can’t keep the engine and surroundings cool. As the optimum temperature is not maintained, the engine starts overheating. You can’t drive for too long because overheating slowly affects the engine and the engine can’t perform properly. You’ll see a significant downfall in the engine performance, and the engine will be dead if you continue driving.
That’s why I’ve suggested driving to a mechanic as soon as possible after starting the car with a bad water pump.
If you don’t go to the mechanic, you’ll end up having a dead engine which may make you spend a lot more bucks. Getting a water pump repaired or replaced is much cheaper than getting an engine repaired or replaced.
So, I guess now you know the actual answer to the question. When you have a bad water pump in the car, you can obviously drive it. But it is a must to drive it to the nearest mechanic to get the pump repaired. If you don’t get the pump repaired as soon as possible, you’ll end up in a situation where you’ll have to repair the engine or replace it spending a huge amount of bucks.
Now you know that you can drive your car with a bad water pump, but there is another question- how long?
Let’s talk about it.
How Far It is Possible to Drive a Car that has a Bad Water Pump?
It is always recommended to go to the mechanic as soon as possible if the water pump is bad. Waiting for the final moment is not something you should do if you don’t want to spend a huge amount of bucks to clean up the mess.
But I know that there might be some situation when it is not possible to go to the mechanic instantly. In those cases, you should know how far you can drive your car with the mess under the hood.
Actually, there is no set time duration or distance that the car can cover before overheating starts ruining the engine. It depends on a lot of factors, and even if you know and calculate each factor carefully, you can’t find out the exact duration or distance. But knowing about the factors may help you a bit.
Type of the Vehicle
How far the car can go with a bad water pump depends on the type of the car and its condition. If the car is an old make, it can cross significantly more distance compared to the new models when both have a bad water pump. So, if yours is an old model, you’re getting some time before going to the mechanic, but not much.
Weather around You
The temperature around you also has a significant impact on the distance you can cover or the duration you can drive the vehicle. If the weather is cold and the temperature is low, it’ll take more time for the engine to overheat. So, you can cover a long distance. On the other hand, on a day with hot weather, you can’t cover much because the engine will be hot quickly.
Stress on the Engine
If you drive on smooth roads or slightly downhill, there is not that much stress on the engine. In such cases, the engine takes time to get hot and you can cover a good distance. But if you drive somewhere where the engine has to take stress, it becomes hot quickly and you have nothing to do to keep it cool. So, you can’t drive far in such conditions.
As Long as the Red check Engine Light is Not Turned On
The red check engine light turns on when the engine is facing an issue. As long as this light is off, you can drive the car. But when the engine temperature is crossing the limit, it turns on. And when the light is on, you should stop driving immediately and allow the engine to be cool. After the engine becomes cool, you can start driving again. Following this technique, you can cover a good distance. But I don’t recommend it because a continuous cycle of cooling and overheating damages the engine quickly.
So, these are some variables depending on which you can determine how far you can drive the car with a bad water pump. But I suggest going to the mechanic at first after you see that your car’s water pump is bad.
5 Common Symptoms of a Bad Water Pump
As it is necessary to run to a mechanic as soon as your water pump becomes bad, you should know the signs that show you that your water pump is not working properly. If you see one of the signs below, you should check the water pump or go to the mechanic as soon as possible.
The engine becomes very hot when the water pump can’t supply coolant properly. So, if you see that the engine is hotter than typical, you should check the water pump because an overheated engine is a sign of a bad water pump.
Steam or Smoke is Coming out of the Radiator
If you see that steam or smoke is coming out of the radiator, don’t try to restart the car. It is signs of a bad water pump that says the water pump is not working. Also, it says that the engine and the radiator are fully stressed because of overheating. So, trying to restarting the engine is totally a bad idea.
Temperature Gauge has Gone Mad
The temperature gauge checks everything about the engine temperature of the car. If you see that this has gone mad and going back and forth, again and again, you must understand that there is some problem with the engine temperature and the reason is probably the bad water pump. Don’t forget the check it in such a situation.
The Front Center has a Coolant Leak
While performing regular checking under the hood, if you see a coolant leak, the reason is probably the bad water pump. When there is a coolant leak, it means that the gasket and seals are broken or have started to wear out. In such a case, run to the mechanic as soon as possible to get the coolant system and water pump fixed.
If you can hear unusual sounds from under the hood, the reason can be a bad water pump. A loose pump pulley, or loose belt, or a failed bearing can create the sound. When something like this happens, don’t be late to fix the pump as soon as possible if you don’t want to get your car’s engine damaged.
These are the common signs that show that your car’s water pump is not working properly. Also, while you’re performing a routine check, you should check the water pump too.
Expert Video about Signs of a Bad Water Pump
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So, now you’ve got the answer to your question and also many other related information. Next time you see a bad water pump, you know what to do.
The water pump is absolutely a crucial element of your vehicle. It supports the engine to run properly without overheating. So, when it is bad, you should get it fixed as soon as possible. Otherwise, you need to end up in a messy situation that will make you spend a huge amount of bucks. So, work wisely.