Can You Drive A Car With A Bad Water Pump?


Driving a car with a faulty water pump, especially if it still runs, can be tempting.

Putting the pedal to the metal with a faulty unit may not be the best idea.

Can you drive a car with a bad water pump? You can sometimes, but the cost can be exorbitant.

Can I Drive a Car with a Faulty Pump?

Car owners can technically drive a vehicle with a faulty water pump. However, doing so may result in the engine’s inability to cool. The end result can range from a leaky head gasket to a completely damaged engine, which can make a few hundred-dollar repairs escalate into the thousands.

What happens if I drive a car with a bad water pump?

Driving a car with a faulty water pump is a sure way to become stranded on the road. A water pump circulates the coolant in your vehicle from the radiator through other elements and back.

When a water pump fails, the engine coolant cannot circulate through the system, causing the temperature to rise to dangerous levels.

Since the motor cannot cool itself, it continues overheating until severe damage is done.

A blown head gasket is one of the most horrific failures that frequently occurs when a car overheats.

The head gasket seals the vulnerable area between the cylinder head and block, preventing coolant from entering the cylinders.

The most costly consequences of driving with a bad water pump are the repairs, which frequently cost thousands of dollars.

A crack in the cylinder or the engine block can also happen, necessitating additional work or a full engine replacement.

What are the symptoms of a bad water pump?

There are several indicators that your water pump is broken.

A coolant leak is the most common symptom.

You may notice water leaking from the bottom of your car and open the hood to discover a small waterfall.

As you drive, you may also realize that your temperature gauge is approaching the red zone.

Alternatively, the water pump may choose to be considerate and provide audible warnings. You might hear whining, growling, or other unusual sounds.

Sometimes, the heater will stop working, or a strange mixture of oil and coolant will appear. The symptoms you experience are determined by the severity of your issue and the type of engine setup your vehicle has.

Is it possible to fix a broken water pump?

A water pump can be repaired, but it is more cost-effective to replace it.

If you repair the propellers, something else may break later. Complete replacement of the unit is the better option.

However, you will need to understand the inner workings of an engine because you will need to disassemble a portion of it.

Changing a water pump typically necessitates the removal of hoses, belts, and other parts that must be properly reinstalled.

Every vehicle is built differently.

The water pump in your car may be easily accessible, while another driver may have to dig deeper to find it, or vice versa. Furthermore, you must drain the cooling system and perform the necessary bleeding procedures before operating the vehicle.

If done correctly, DIY vehicle repairs can save you money. However, many things could go wrong during the process, leaving you in need of the assistance of a professional mechanic.

When you do it yourself, you don’t get a warranty or assistance if something goes wrong.

These are some conditions to consider when deciding whether or not to deal with the issue yourself.

Is it Hard to install a new water pump yourself?

The difficulty level of changing a water pump yourself is medium.

This means you should have prior mechanical experience, a high level of patience, and no aversion to working with your hands.

Repair guides and tutorials are available to help you with such DIY projects.

However, you will be at a disadvantage because you will be unfamiliar with the technical aspects of water pump operation and things that might go wrong if the job encounters problems.

If you are nervous or doubtful about completing the tasks, you could consider taking the car to a professional.

It’s fine if you can’t do it yourself; not everyone can work on automobiles.

How to know if your water pump is too damaged to drive?

The size of the water leak or if the car is overheating are usual indicators that a water pump is too damaged to function while driving.

If you notice only a minor leak that does not appear to affect the temperature gauge, you can drive your car to the nearest auto repair shop.

You may have a tiny hole in your water pump’s gasket, or you may be losing coolant through the weep hole but not enough to cause a waterfall.

In such situations, you should take the vehicle to a safe location for repairs, turn it off and finish the work as soon as possible.

Final Thoughts

Water pumps should be replaced every 60,000— 100,000 miles, but the time interval varies by vehicle model.

Some of them are built to last the car’s lifetime, but not all of them can.

Extra information about when to replace this component can be found in your owner’s manual or by contacting the manufacturer directly.

Now you understand why driving your car with a faulty water pump is not a good idea.

Please take your car to a nearby auto shop or call a towing service to have it transported if you can’t fix it yourself.