Your water pump is the heart of your cooling system. Along with your truck radiator, the water pump's job is to maintain proper coolant flow and temperature.
The engine is cooled by coolant/antifreeze mixed with water. This mixture circulates around that 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. The water pump is what drives this process.
Cooling system problems are the number one mechanical failure. So the water pump plays a pretty important role. You can't get very far 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.
Here are some common symptoms that indicate you may need to replace the water pump:
1. Coolant leak at the front-center of your vehicle. When a water pump starts to leak, the cooling system will lose coolant. If the leak is not discovered, the loss of coolant will eventually cause the engine to overheat.
2. Water pump pulley is loose and making whining sounds.
3. Engine is overheating. When the water pump fails completely, it will not be able to circulate coolant through the engine block. This results in an overheating situation and if not repaired or replaced quickly, can cause additional engine damage like cracked cylinder heads, pushed head gaskets, or burnt pistons.
4. Steam coming from your radiator.
If you notice any of these warning signs, you should call to shop repair to inspect this problem and repair or replace the water pump if needed.
Keep in mind, when the water pump is replaced, the drive belts and timing belt may need to be replaced as well. The entire cooling system should be inspected when the water pump is replaced. Replacing the thermostat at the same time as the water pump can help prevent future problems.