I read that radiators and water pumps should be changed around 60-90k as preventative maintenance.

I was looking at getting a golf r32 at about 100k miles. I asked sellers if water pump and radiator had been done and most of them including traders(that give warranty) said these parts can go on for a while and you do not change them unless they break.

  1. With cars in general, should you be changing these parts at 60-90k?

  2. Is it the case that cars like golf r32 have higher quality water pumps and radiators compared to cheap cars such that you don't need to replace them at 60-90k?

  • The best way of maxing out the water pump's life is regularly changing coolant as recommended on the maintenance book (as a rule of thumb, every 2 years with the green one and every 5 years with the others). Coolant contains additives which eventually break up.
    – Al_
    Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 7:12

1 Answer 1


In general for cars which have cambelt driven water pumps like the R32 (I believe it still uses one?), you change it out when you change the cambelt. It's just good practice and you'll find most places offer kits which includes both. The reason for this is it's about the same amount of labor to do both at the same time. If the maintenance schedule is 60k, you do it at 60k. If it's 100k, you do it then.

As for any car which has an externally driven water pump, change it when it goes bad. If the antifreeze is changed out when it's supposed to be, you may never need to change it. Same goes with the radiator. Neither of these are maintenance items per se ... if it's bad, change it. No fuss. No muss.

  • I tend to buy high mileage used cars with multiple owners and low service history so don't know how well they have been serviced. i previously had a faulty water pump with head gasket go and it must have been quick as I didnt realise the temp gauge go up. Considering the the types of cars im buy may have issues , isnt it advisable to change these parts as prevention, since if they go bad and you don't notice, it may be too late and you may have much higher repair bills? this is different from when u know the history and that the coolants been changed regularly. Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 9:44
  • @JamesWilson - If the car has a cam belt driven water pump, I'll change the belt/water pump/coolant when I first get it so I know it's good. The radiator still isn't a maintenance item. You can inspect it to see if it's going bad (leaks/holes/deteriorating fins). On an external driven water pump, they will let you know when they are going bad in most cases. It's usually the seals/bearings which go bad and will start leaking ... easy to tell when they are going bad. Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 11:53

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