How to tell if the water pump belt is already in bad shape?

Article by Christian A., on August 9, 2018

One of the main reasons why the engine of your car keeps running despite of working in a high temperature environment is the installed cooling system. If not for this cooling system, the engine, its materials and lubricants can be damaged by high temperature.

The car’s cooling system isn't made up of a single application – it includes the radiator, a cooling fan, a water pump, coolant hoses and a thermostat. The coolant is circulated from the radiator, then around the engine and back to the radiator where it is cooled down anew. This circulation is made possible by the water pump, which is turned by a serpentine belt made from rubber and nylon cords.

Once this belt fails, the water pump wouldn’t work, and coolant wouldn’t be able to reach places where it should reach. As a result, the engine might overheat. In fact, most engine overheating problems are due to a broken water pump belt.

There are many factors why the water pump belt gets broken. But even in normal use, the water pump belt could crack and break because of its prolonged exposure to heat. It may not be the heart of your car, but the water pump belt plays a vital role in keeping the engine cool at all times. Thus, there is really a need to know if your water pump belt is already failing or has failed. Here are some signs that tell that your water pump belt is in bad health and needs replacement.

If you are driving and suddenly notice the smell of burning rubber from the car’s engine, it could be that the water pump belt has broken. A worn out belt develops more heat as it power different component. This heat can become more intense, thereby causing the rubber belt to burn. This is already a bad sign for the cooling system of your car and needs immediate attention. The water pump belt badly needs replacement, as it should be done as soon as possible.

Aside from the smell of burning rubber, squealing noises from the front section of your car could also be indication that your water pump belt is failing and needs replacement. As the belt wears out, it might stretch over time. Once it stretches, it won’t fit well and tight with the pulleys on the devices the belt powers like the water pumps, AC units and alternators. The now loose belt will create a sound similar to a squeal.

Even if you haven’t noticed the smell of burning rubber or a squealing sound from the front section of your car, it is always prudent to do a visual inspection of the water pump belt. Just take a good look at the belt under the bonnet and try to see if it has developed cracks or if there are frayed nylon cords, which look like strings. These signs aren’t good news as they indicate that your water pump belt is in bad shape.

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Topics: tips, engine

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