The water pump in a vehicle plays a critical role in cooling surrounding components. It is normally composed of six blades and can increase the flow of coolant by attaching a shroud to the bottom of the impeller, although it depends on the type of car. To ensure a long life, the water pump must be precisely designed and manufactured to minimize friction and resistance while maximizing flow.
At the most basic level, a cars water pump is essentially the heart of the cooling system. Its purpose is to continuously circulate engine coolant throughout the cooling system. The cooling system runs from the radiator to the engine and back to the radiator. It is the system which allows drivers to enjoy a nice comfortable, cool car ride. The pump is powered by the engine and typically operates through a belt and pulley system, although a gearing chain could be used as well.
The most important component of a pump is the impeller. The impeller’s job is to spend and circulate the cooler throughout the car. Visually it is similar to a propeller that makes a boat move. The impeller can only be effective when it operates on a sealed bearing. If the seal bearing begins to leak than the water pump will quickly wear out.
What many people don’t know is a vehicles water Palm has a weep hole. There are two holes in the water pumps casting which are referred to as weep holes. The top weep hole acts as an air vent which allows air to evacuate the casting system and prevent a buildup of humidity around the bearing. It also leverages atmospheric pressure to keep the seal intact. The lower weep hole exists to allow any fluid which is collected around the pump to drain out. This protects the bearings integrity.
If a pump fails it is most often because a seal failed, not because the impeller has stopped working. There are several variables which typically cause premature seal failure. The most common is high temperatures. Mechanical seals rely on spring-loaded assemblies to ensure the carbon seals remain intact. If the engine consistently runs hotter overseas it may disintegrate the rubber parts. Electrolysis is another common cause of pump failure. It creates a film or crystallization over the seal face which will allow moisture to enter the weep chamber. The final common reason a water pump will fail is because of additive gels. There are a number of chemical additives on the market designed to promote good cooling system health. Unfortunately, many of these gels actually damage the seal around the pump.