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What is the lifetime of water pumps?

I got the water pump replaced 8000 miles age (around 2 years ago) when changing the timing belt. Today I showed my car to a mechanic for a noise that is coming from under the hood. This noise has been around for two weeks now. After checking the car, he mentioned that the water pump needs to be replaced. I told him that the water pump is fairly new and he blamed low-quality pumps.

So is it possible for a waterpump to go bad after only 8K miles?

BTW, during these two weeks the car has not overheated and I have not seen any leak. But the mechanic says he saw little coolant leaking.

Update: the water pump bearing was faulty (after 8K miles). I was told it was a low quality pump.

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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The lifespan of a replaced waterpump will vary with quality. You have no way of knowing what type of pump you paid for. Was it a factory new pump, an aftermarket new pump, rebuilt pump or remanufactured pump.

  1. Factory pump is an exact replacement of what the car came with
  2. High quality new aftermarket pump may include improvements to the original design
  3. Low quality new pump, may be a cheap knock-off with poor quality seals, poor quality control.
  4. Remanufactured pump, the used pump is disassembled cleaned inspected then assembled with new bearings, seals, gaskets and possibly a new pump shaft.
  5. Rebuilt pump, the used pump may get new seals, may get new bearings and shaft anything that is serviceable is reused. Two years doesn't seem like a very long life to me.
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Thanks! Very informative. The reason I posted this question is that I doubt the problem is the pump itself as mine is pretty new (I don't know which kind of pump the mechanic has used). I like to think the noise is coming from a bearing or something that is cheaper to replace. Don't want to pay a ton for something I replaced recently. –  aminfar Jul 7 '13 at 22:04
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Cheap waterpumps - like any mechanical component - can fail quickly, sometimes this happens. Do you have a warranty on the replacement pump?

Also, are you certain that the water pump has been replaced? It's not too uncommon for some mechanics to skip the water pump replacement because the pump "still looks good" only for it to fail shortly after the timing belt replacement. At that point you get to do both again...

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The warranty is 12K or one year. I got it replaced two years ago, so warranty does not help. Also, it was done in a city 1500 miles away. The mechanic told me he replaced it (I did trust him) and now that I see the receipt he charged me 115$ for just the water pump part. –  aminfar Jul 7 '13 at 19:44
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Water pumps are expected to last at least as long as the timing belt change interval. It's a relatively cheap part in a high labor location, so it's common to replace it with the timing belt just to potentially save on labor later on.

It shouldn't fail so rapidly, however, it is possible. Bad parts and early failures do happen sometimes.

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