Q: Coolant circulation issues Impala LS 3.8L.

asked by on January 19, 2018

My vehicle is overheating rapidly upon operation. The engine temperature gauge continually inclines as the engine is in operation. Somtimes when going up a hill the coolant, by the help of gravity (I think), is pushed around through the engine bringing the heat spike down rapidly, thankfully.

I am trying to properly diagnose the issue. I believe it is the water pump. It is operated by a serpentine belt pulley within this type of vehicle. I have already tested for a faulty thermostat, and it is operating as it should. After that, diagnosing circulation issue is down to two issues I believe, clogged system, or faulty water pump.

Three main problems it could be from the information I know. Thermostat, water pump, or clogged coolant system. I tested thermostat, and I have all the things I need to replace the water pump. However, I realized if it is a clogged system that I would be wasting time. How do I properly diagnose that it's the water pump and not a clogged system?

My car has 204000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi Adrian. Thanks for contacting us today. Typically, when a water pump goes bad, it’s the inner seals that fail, which leads to bearing failure and overall water pump failure. This will produce a slow leak of coolant. This video shows you where to look for this type of damage. However, if your water pump has not been replaced in the last 60,000 miles, it’s probably a good, proactive step to complete. If I were in your shoes, I would flush the coolant system, flush the heater core (specifically) and replace the water pump.

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