5 Ways to Change a Water Pump


The engine has five cooling system components. The hoses, the radiator cap, the thermostat, the radiator, and the water pump. However, the heart of this cooling system is the water pump.

The water pump ensures that the coolant keeps circulating throughout the engine. The water pump will operate only if the engine is running. The pump is driven by gear, chain, and belt. Most of these water pumps need changing on a regular basis. Very few will operate past 100,000 miles.

Your water pump will fail in two ways

  • Bearings will fail
  • There can be a leak

Most of these leaks develop near the gasket where it attaches to the engine. You should replace the pump as soon as you notice a leak. You can extend the water pumps life by having regular maintenance. Just as you keep your body healthy through diet and exercise, you should change the fluids and have regular inspections on your vehicle.

Below are some ways you can use to change the water pump

  1. Remove harmonic pulley, spark plugs, and valve cover
  • Remove the short bolts that hold the power steering. After getting rid of these bolts remove the valve cover.
  • Remove the smoke plug using a spark plug socket. You should be careful not to drop or break the spark plugs
  • Prevent trash, dirt, and screws from getting into the cylinders. They can cause damage to your engine.
  • Make the harmonic pulley loose
  • Reconnect your battery so that the starter motor can have a momentary bump
  • Check if the bolts are loosened up
  1. Align timing, timing marks, accessory belts
  • Loosen the bolts connecting the valve cover and the engine
  • Remove the valve cover so that you can access the timing belt. The top of the belt will sprocket
  • Ensure that the engine is off if you are using retaining bolts and cam timing sprockets. Do not turn the engine if you are using the timing belt
  • Align all the timing marks so that they line up straight across the cam sprockets
  • Block the wheels and work on the level ground using wooden pieces
  • Loosen the front wheels
  • Support your engine using a jack
  • Remove the harmonic pulley bolt and remove the pulley
  1. Removing the engine mount
  • The first step in removing the motor mount is unbolting these bolts
  • When you lift the heavy lump you will be able to remove the hidden bolts
  • Be careful as you remove the motor mount bracket. Ensure you do not damage the hoses and wiring
  • Start by removing the small engine mount brackets. It is made of heavy steel and you ought to be careful when you handle it.
  1. Install new tensioner, new timing belt, idler, and water pump
  • While removing the old timing belt, turn it counter-clockwise. Do it little by little so that you do not spoil the other parts
  • Remove the tensioner by loosening the belt in the middle
  • Remove the “idler” pulley from the timing belt
  • Loosen the bolts of the water pump though they are hard to reach
  • Clean the engine block thoroughly, to remove all material that might cause corrosion or rust
  • Put in the new water pump and follow all the instructions
  • Install the idler pulley and make sure you tighten the mounting bolt
  • Put in the timing belt
  • Remove the stopper block
  1. Reassemble
  • Assemble all the parts in reverse order you removed them and tighten all the bolts
  • Install the lower half cover and tighten the middle bolt
  • Place the crankshaft pulley in
  • Install the harmonic crank shaft pulley
  • Install the small engine mount bracket
  • Install all the spark plugs and the spark plug cables
  • Refill the radiator with the coolant
  • Reconnect the battery
  • Let it idle as you check that everything is ok

Things to consider before getting a water pump

  • Price

Your budget will be a major consideration when you want to buy a water pump. You have to buy something that you will be able to afford without going off budget.

  • Ease of installation

You should buy a water pump that you will be comfortable installing. You do not need the services of a mechanic to do the installation for you. By installing it yourself you will be able to save a lot of money.

  • Size/model of your car

The size of your car is a major determinant of what type of water pump you should acquire.

  • Durability

When you want to buy a water pump, go for something that will last a long time. At Plumbing Lab, we recommend you buy a water pump made of steel. A highly durable pump saves you money in the long run.

  • Compatibility

Seek the advice of your mechanic so that you can get something that will be compatible with your vehicle.

Other considerations

  • Mechanical

The mechanical water pump is the most common in today’s vehicles. Since it is used widely you can easily access it. It is powerful than the electric one.

  • Electric

It is fuel-efficient and will not affect your engines performance.

Clearly, if your water pump is making noise or leaking, then most likely it is approaching the end of its life. You should replace it as soon as possible. The survival of your car’s engine depends on the circulation of this coolant. It keeps it cool and temperatures at a controlled level. Not all the heat will be released via the exhaust and you will need the water pump operational.

Depending on your vehicle, this can be an easy job, which you can do for yourself. It can also be a hard job that requires the services of a professional. All in all as soon as you realize a problem with your pump make sure you repair or replace it.



Bill is a DIY plumber, handyman, and homeowner with more than a decade of experience. He has replaced and repaired sump pumps, backup pumps, float switches, check valves, and many other things around his family home. An engineer and tinkerer at heart, he is always looking to see how things work and taking on new home projects that help him grow his skillsets. He is a husband and father of two boys, has a bachelors degree in Computer Engineer and minor in Mathematics and likes to make homebrew beer in his free time.

      Sump Pump Advisor