If your car has started running rough and even having trouble running after sitting for more than a minute, you may wonder if there could be a problem with its coolant system. If so, look for the following warning signs that your car's water pump is starting to go bad.
1. High Engine Temperature Readings after Idling Only for a Few Minutes
One of the first warning signs that your water pump is failing can be found by looking at your dashboard after idling for a few minutes while either in your driveway or at a traffic stop. When the water pump is having issues, the temperature gauge will quickly go into the red.
When the water pump is going bad, either because of a problem with its belt drive or worn bearings, it will no longer be able to efficiently pump coolant from your radiator throughout the motor. As a result, the engine's temperature will start to rise fast.
These high engine temperature readings are usually seen most often while you are sitting for more than several minutes. While the motor does get hotter even while it is running, external air flows under the hood and helps to cool it somewhat. However, as soon as this airflow stops, the engine starts to heat up to dangerous temperatures.
2. Engine Overheats When Your Car Has Enough Coolant
If your engine temperatures are starting to sharply rise while sitting still, the first thing you should check is the coolant level. Even if you have recently added some the radiator, there is always a chance that there is a leak somewhere.
However, if find that the coolant level in the radiator and the overflow tank is normal, the problem is not being caused by not having enough in your car. Most likely, the reason that your engine is overheating is that not enough coolant is being pumped throughout the engine.
If your car's engine overheats with a radiator full of coolant, you probably have a failing water pump. If you do not have the part checked out soon, the pump may fail completely, or you could end up with a seized engine because it has overheated once too often.
If your car is exhibiting any of the signs above, it is most likely that the water pump is getting ready to fail. As soon as possible, take your car to an auto repair service so that a mechanic can diagnose the problem and offer solutions for fixing your car before it breaks down.