When generally speaking about part replacements on your VW, Audi, Porsche, BMW, Mercedes Benz, and any car for that matter -- there are some things you can wait to fix, and then there are key items. Your water pump lands in the category of “need to fix ASAP”. Its primary job is to help provide cooling for the car. Without this part, you lead yourself down the road of a premature engine failure or other roads that don’t lead to great places. Unfortunately, most vehicle manufacturers in today’s world use plastic construction for these pieces, and don’t last for the lifetime of the vehicle.
The water pump’s main job is to provide movement for the vehicle coolant through the closed-loop system. This helps keep radiator temperatures low and stops heat buildup. With this movement, comes heat. Too much heat and you end up with a part that ends up warped or damaged. Once pump issues begin, it is very simple for things to escalate.
If you understand the signs to look for, this can save you not only a motor but allow you to plan replacement just like a normal service on your vehicle. In our experience, the strong majority of cars we work on need replacement after the 50,000-mile interval, but sometimes even sooner! With these tips, we hope to educate you on when/where to look for.
LEAKS ON DRIVEWAY
One of the easiest ways to know your car has a water pump issue is a leak. This can be spotted in the mornings when you back out to work, little stains on your driveway or in your garage. Normally they are orange/pink/green depending on what you are using for coolant. With European cars, it normally is an orange/red/pink color.
OH THAT SMELL, CAN'T YOU SMELL THAT SMELL?
Another tell-tale sign of a water pump failure or leaking coolant is the smell. Some people call it “maple syrup” and some people think it smells like chemicals. Regardless, the odor is very distinguishable. Normally it is a sweet smell, unlike an oil leak or something in that realm. Though it may seem like a harmless liquid, this coolant not only can be extremely corrosive to metal/plastic pieces in your engine bay...it also is dangerous for your household pets. This sweet smell generally attracts their noses and ingestion is extremely toxic.
LIGHT ON THE DASH
Finally, if you have got to this point, this is time to call your mechanic. Most modern cars have coolant level sensors alerting the car of its current status. Whether it be an “overheating” alert and/or a “low coolant” alert on the vehicle -- this means you need to take action immediately. Generally speaking, we suggest customers pull over immediately and check the level of coolant or call one of our technicians here @ (954) 228-8718. Further driving of the vehicle could be detrimental to your vehicle's health.