Water Pump Check
If you water pump fails, the result could be serious engine damage due to overheating. Should you notice any signs of overheating in your car, truck, van or SUV, such as if your temperature gauge goes into the red area or if there is steam escaping from underneath your hood, pull over on the side of the road and turn off your engine. Call for help.
Some water pumps have a "weep" or vent hole, which make it possible to check for a damaged water pump. If the water pump seal breaks, coolant will escape from the weep hole.
Note: this is a general description. Consult a repair manual written specifically for your car, truck, van or SUV for an exact description.
Refer to your repair manual to find the location of the water pump on your vehicle. If necessary, jack up the front end of your vehicle and place it on jackstands. (Caution: always use extreme care when jacking up your vehicle. Put it in gear [or in Park for automatic transmission vehicles] and set the parking brake.) Using a flashlight, find the weep hole on you water pump. Tip: It may be on the top or the bottom of the pump's housing. If the water pump's seal has failed, coolant will be leaking from the weep hole. If the seal has failed, you need to replace the water pump.
There are a number of other ways to check the condition of your water pump.
If the water pump shaft bearings begin to fail, there may be a howling sound coming from the water pump while the engine is running. Tip: drivebelt slippage causes a squealing sound. Don't confuse this sound with the howling sound of a water pump bearing shaft failure. If you hear a howling sound coming from the area of the water pump, it is time to replace it.
You can also check the condition of the water pump by hand. With engine off, rock the water pump pulley up and down; if you feel movement, the shaft bearings are worn and will fail in time. Replace your water pump before this occurs.
Here is a quick way to check the performance of your water pump. Turn on the passenger compartment heater. If the water pump is failing, it may not be able to sufficiently pump enough hot coolant through the heater core as it should. If you are not getting enough heat into your passenger compartment, it is a good idea to further check the condition of your water pump using one of the above methods.