Q: My car's water pump failure is causing my engine to overheat

asked by on November 16, 2016

Traveling on interstate in Texas at 70 mph. Water pump failed. Engine then overheated. Wondering how long it takes for the engine to overheat once the water pump has failed. How much time do I have to find a safe place to pull over before it affects the engine?

My car has 46000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission. It has regular maintenance at the dealership where purchased. It is a 2010 Toyota Corolla

Water Pump Replacement $171.86 - $1141.02 Get a Quote
Car is overheating Inspection $79.99 - $89.99 Get a Quote

An engine will overheat within minutes, often within 1 minute, once the water pump stops circulating coolant. Of course, the practical concern is how much overheating (how high a temperature) does it take, and for what duration, before permanent damage is caused to the engine? Generally, with an aluminum cylinder head and a cast iron block, the engine, particularly the head gasket seal, will be damaged within a handful minutes, or even less, if you operate the car with the temperature gauge registering in the red "danger" zone.

If it is overheating but below the red danger zone on your temperature gauge, you greatly heighten the risk of engine damage, but whether damage occurs or not will depend on the temperature that was reached, the duration, and other variables. In all events, the standard advice is if you know that your car’s engine is operating above the normal temperature range, simply do not operate the engine until the problem is diagnosed and repaired. That is the only way you can be sure of avoiding, or minimizing, engine damage. If you would like a certified mechanic dispatched to your location to repair the overheating problem by all means follow up with YourMechanic.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

What others are asking

Why is red oil warning light comes on and off - 2011 Chevrolet Cruze

One thing that could cause this is an oil pressure sensor fault. This sensor measures oil pressure signals which are electrical. There could be a mechanical issue with the engine. You would need to check oil pressure with a gauge....

How do you use the seat belts correctly?

Seat belts aren’t all that complicated, but they must be used correctly in order for them to do their job. They’re more important than air bags, and are actually the only “lifesaving” features on your car. Using them incorrectly can...

Is it expensive to replace the valve seals?

The usual symptom for bad valve stem seals is bluish white smoke out of the exhaust pipe when the engine is started cold. The smoke usually clears after a minute and doesn't return again until the car is shut off...

Is my mechanic responsible for engine damage?

Hi there. I have a few questions for us to ponder as we probe this concern. Did the vehicle overheat since the repair? Is the vehicle currently overheating? Is the check engine light on? If so, what are the stored...

Could the HTR 50 A fuse be the problem for heat/blower not working?

Hello. Yes fuses can play a part in causing a blower motor to fail. The blower motor also has a resistor that can fail and cause the same symptoms. Both of these components can be tested and replaced if needed....

Whining noise when accelerate and then let go of pedal

The whining is in the CVT transmission and depending on the noise, it may be a normal noise from the transmission. The noise is the transmission CVT belt changing pitch as you drive faster. Sometime the noise will get...

How do I stop my car from overheating?

Once the car is completely cool, check the coolant level in the radiator. If low, that will cause overheating. If it is low, you might have a leak that should be diagnosed. If the level of coolant is correct and...

Hear rattling under the hood

Hi there. Many components make up your cooling system. If any of these components are not functioning properly, it will cause your vehicle to overheat. If your vehicle is not leaking any coolant chances are that your radiator fan(s) are...

Should my radiator be empty while pouring the stop leak for blown head gasket?

Hi there. Thanks for contacting us today. Based on what you've written, you probably did this correctly. However, it's quite possible that the damage to the head gasket is too extreme for these products to work. In most cases, a...

Related articles

How a Car's Cooling System Works
Have Have you ever considered the thousands of times explosions occur in your engine? If you're like most people, that thought never enters your mind. Every time a spark plug fires, the fuel and air mixture in that cylinder blows...
The Best Used Cars to Buy for Towing Light Loads
Towing Towing is tricky business and depending on the weight you’re dealing with, it really determines what vehicle is best for you. If it’s light loads you’re looking at towing, we’ve put together a list of the top five cars...
The Best Used Cars to Buy If You're a Pizza Delivery Guy or Gal
If If you deliver pizzas, you want to be sure that your car is reliable and won’t break down. After all, you have hungry customers waiting, and you don’t want the pizza to get cold. You want low gas mileage,...