Lately, you may have noticed that your car has a small puddle underneath it while parked and that you have to top off the coolant in your radiator every few days. While this problem could be caused by a leaking radiator, the issue could be a slow leak that is coming from the water pump. If you suspect that this could be the case, look for the following signs to confirm that your water pump has a slow coolant leak.
1. Your Car Starts to Intermittently Overheat
Besides seeing a puddle of water under your car after parking it, one of the first signs that may alert you to a problem with your coolant system is when your car starts to intermittently overheat. Even if you have not been driving for more than a few minutes, you may notice that the temperature gauge starts to go into the red. Then, after a few minutes, the temperature returns to normal.
Especially if the coolant level in your radiator is relatively full, the issue could be with your water pump. If there is a crack in the pump's casing, the pressure within the pump that propels the coolant through the system will lower temporarily. This can lead to a gap in the line where there is no coolant, which will cause the intermittent rise in engine temperature.
2. You Find a Thick, Gel-like Residue on or Below the Water Pump
Another sign can be found on or beneath the pump itself. Unlike water, when coolant leaks out from a water pump and is heated, it starts to thicken and forms a gel-like substance that clings to the metal. As the buildup of the gel continues, it will start to slough off and settle on the parts below it. If you see this gel-like substance, you either have a cracked water pump or one of the lines is loose or broken. A professional will be able to determine which one is causing the issue.
If you find the signs above and strongly suspect that your water pump is leaking, you will need to have it replaced since there is likely a crack in one of the lines or the pump's casing. Since the water pump is usually located beneath other engine parts that will need to be removed for the job, contact services like Professional Marine to have someone do the work for you.