Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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

asked by on

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

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.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
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

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Check engine light and stalling

Hello. The symptoms you describe can be caused by many things. An issue with the engine management, fuel, or ignition systems can all cause performance issues, and if serious enough, stalling. Anything ranging from a bad engine management sensor, to...

Q: Air is not working in car

The most common cause of an AC failure is low refrigerant. Though that is what I usually find, this vehicle also has a history of compressor and relay failures. I would typically start by checking the pressure in the system...

Q: I replaced the water pump but all the coolant leaked out - 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier

If there was no leak prior to the water pump replacement, it is possible that the gasket sealing area between the water pump and the engine block has a leak. This is easy to find if you refill the system...

Related articles

How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.