The radiator water pump is a vital part of the cooling system of any car. A malfunction in the cooling system will most often lead to permanent engine damage as excessive heat will warp metal parts inside the engine, especially if your car uses an aluminum block or head. If your car exhibits overheating; a rise in temperature made evident by the temperature needle on the console; or has a radiator leak than the entire cooling system, including the water pump; it would have to be checked immediately.
Depending on the make and model of the car, the water pump is located in front of the engine and near the auxiliary fans. It is usually a belt driven unit that pumps coolant inside the engine to maintain ideal operating temperature. Check the water pump in the event of:
The water pump should be inspected, as the bearing might be seized, causing it to fail. Remember that this component does not need regular replacement, but in the event of such a problem, water pump replacement is the only solution to restore normal operating conditions.
In the event of an engine overheat, try to do the following:
Be careful when doing this, as the extreme heat will make all the parts in the engine bay hot to the touch. Do not, under any circumstances, open the radiator cap to check for coolant level. The coolant reservoir is the safe option when deciding to inspect proper coolant level and condition.
An engine overheat might stem from different factors, but if your car is more than 5 years old, then the water pump could be the primary culprit. Coolant or water leaks in and around the water pump is an indication that the pump will have to be replaced. Consult a reputable mechanic when in doubt, and have the system serviced immediately.