Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Water pump issue

asked by on

If a very small amount of pink antifreeze is crystalized around the metal hose of the water pump leading to the engine, does this mean the water pump needs to be replaced?

My car has 40700 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Most people wouldn't say yes, it needs ...

Most people wouldn't say yes, it needs to be replaced. But the truth is, there is a bit of an argument within the industry about this. Before I go to far into that, let's make sure we are clear on the form of leak we have here. I'm assuming there isn't any liquid, only a crystallized stain at the water pump weep hole. If there is any wet drips or evidence of stains that indicate antifreeze has been running wet, then I would say the water pump should be replaced. Look directly below the pump to see if there is any evidence of a larger leak. A water pump seal is a unique seal that under certain circumstances will seep coolant. This is what you see in the form of crystallized antifreeze.

From my perspective, at 40,700 miles, as long as there isn't any wet antifreeze dripping or pooling anywhere, I wouldn't worry about it. Water pump seals will often weep when they are in the process of cooling or warming. This is more prevalent in climates that experience extremes such as snow or desert summertime temperatures. Water pump seals are spring loaded devices that are designed to work within the varying pressures that are normal for a cooling system. When the environment is extreme, it pushes these seals to their limit. I've seen vehicles that actually leak on warm up or cool down, but not when cold or fully warm. It's not very often and newer vehicles have better designed pump seals, but the inherent weakness is still an engineering challenge.

I draw the line at wet weep holes or dripping. Even then, this is often a manageable condition. Short of running coolant out the weep hole at a constant rate, no matter the temperature, keep track of your coolant level. A weeping hole is not much more than a couple of drops of coolant. You shouldn't be able to detect any loss from such a small weep.

Another detail that is important, but I wouldn't expect to see on a 40,000 mile vehicle, is particulates flowing through the cooling system. If you see any evidence of small particles in the cooling system, this can damage the water pump seal and create leaks. If this is the case, I recommend a complete flush of the cooling system. In which case the best way to flush a cooling system is by removing the water pump and thoroughly flushing water through the block with a water hose. But I have never seen a 40,000 mile Toyota have such a problem, so this is doubtful.

If you need assistance and want a professional to take a closer look, a certified mechanic from YourMechanic can visit your home or office to inspect the fluid leak.

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

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Check engine -- timing chain

Usually when an OBD-II error code is triggered by a damaged part or sensor, it is stored inside the ECM until the issue is repaired, but must be downloaded and cleared by using a professional digital scan tool. The check...

Q: Clutch cylinder leaking fluid

Hi there, it is possible for the seals to start leaking over time. Have a certified technician inspect the clutch assembly to locate and fix the cause.

Q: Vehicle whining after belt replacement

Hi there. I would suspect another pulley that the serpentine belt drives has a dry/loose bearing. Have a certified mechanic, like ones from YourMechanic, inspect the noise and check each pulley for play.

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 to Renew Your Car Registration in Oklahoma(DELETED)
Having your car registered with the Oklahoma Tax Commission is an important part of driving legally in this state. You will need to do this within 30 days of moving to Oklahoma...
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.