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Q: High engine temp, water leaking

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The temperature of my engine was getting kinda high compared to normal in my 2008 Toyota RAV4 so I pulled over to take a look under the hood. I noticed that there was water leaking from one side of the engine and dripping underneath. I am pretty sure the water pump is busted, which is not fun when the car is only 54,000 miles old! Does living in a warmer area put more wear and tear on the water pump?

There is a Technical Service Bulletin (T-SB-0117-11, dated 1 Sep 2011) that addresses this issue, though not necessarily the fix. The bulletin advises that debris can get caught in the water pump causing a temporary leak of coolant out of the water pump weep hole and that once the debris is clear the leak should seal itself. The one problem you have though, is there is no way to know if that is happening with your vehicle, and since engines don’t respond well to overheating your best bet is to have the vehicle pressure tested by a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, to see if there is indeed a leak. Also consider a coolant flush to dislodge any debris that is in the system. If the leak persists, your only other option is to replace the water pump, but it is a far cheaper repair than to replace your engine due to continuous overheating. While I agree that this is early for a water pump to fail, the environment can take a serious toll on the sturdiest of vehicles.

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