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 1 mechanical failure. After all those miles and years of pumping coolant, water pumps just wear out. You might notice a whining or grinding sound or you may see coolant leaking from the pump itself.
The precise location of the water pump varies depending on the vehicle. Some have it attached to the outside of the engine where you can see it.
Some have the water pump driven by the timing belt. The timing belt cover often hides it with this setup, so you can’t see the pump without removing the cover.
When you have us replace the water pump on one of these, you really should replace the timing belt at the same time. We’ve already gotten things taken apart and besides, the belt’s likely been contaminated by coolant. And timing belts usually need to be replaced every 60 to 90,000 miles anyway so it just makes sense to do both jobs at once. The opposite is true too. For not that much more you can take care of both the timing belt and the water pump at the same time.
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