Q:

What does it mean when my coolant leaks and my car overheats?

A:

Quick Answer

Coolant leaks and engine overheating are usually caused by a failing water pump. Automotive water pumps are designed to leak coolant through weep ports as a warning that they are failing. Aside from overheating, a distinctive grinding or whining noise caused by a bad bearing is also a symptom of a bad pump.

Know More
What does it mean when my coolant leaks and my car overheats?
Credit: Bartosz Hadyniak E+ Getty Images

Full Answer

Automotive water pumps keep the car's internal combustion engine's temperature at safe ranges by continuously forcing coolant through small passages inside the engine block and cylinder head while the engine is in operation. The coolant absorbs the heat generated by the engine and transfers it to the radiator for dissipation.

A common automotive water pump is a centrifugal pump and is powered by the engine via a belt connected to the crankshaft. This important cooling system component pumps water into the engine by spinning an impeller held by bearings. Depleted coolants and antifreeze become acidic and turn abrasive over time, which causes damage to the bearings and impeller, according to AGCO Automotive Corporation.

According to Auto Hub 360, a broken water pump must be replaced immediately by a professional mechanic to avoid excessive overheating that can leave you stranded and cause severe engine damage, such as a blown head gasket or cracked engine block.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    Why does my car make a humming noise?

    A:

    There are various possible reasons why a car makes a humming or whirring noise as these sounds could be a sign of a bad bearing in the steering system, water pump or alternator. Faulty air conditioning systems may make a similar noise as well, especially if there is a problem with the serpentine belt, which can get stretched and worn out. The tensioner may malfunction as well and defective air conditioners usually have more of a buzzing noise, particularly when the system is overcharged or when liquid refrigerant enters the compressor.

    Full Answer >
  • Q:

    Why does my car heater not work?

    A:

    A car's heater does not generate heat if the coolant level is low or restricted by buildup, if the water pump failed or if the thermostat is broken. The heater fan is also sometimes an issue.

    Full Answer >
  • Q:

    What happens if you put too much coolant in a car?

    A:

    The buildup of pressure caused by adding too much coolant to a car can cause the rupturing of hoses, internal pipes and even the radiator. When coolant is added to a car, it is cold, however, while the engine is running, the liquid starts to expand, causing a buildup of pressure. If the radiator is too full, this buildup of pressure is often too great for the internal workings of the car.

    Full Answer >
  • Q:

    What happens if your car runs out of coolant?

    A:

    The most common risk associated with running a car engine with low coolant is of overheating, which can rapidly cause breakdowns in any engine part. In the winter, coolant also acts as antifreeze. Too low a concentration of the active ingredient, ethylene glycol, allows the water in the radiator to freeze in low temperatures.

    Full Answer >

Explore