Seized Water Pump

I will never cease to amazed by what customers say is wrong with their car and then what is actually wrong, sometimes a much worse thing than what they noticed.


The customer said that they saw a cloud of smoke coming from under the hood and then their air conditioning stopped working. I pulled it into the shop and opened the hood to check if the compressor clutch was engaged. Well, it didn’t matter if it was trying to engage or not, because the serpentine belt had snapped. The belt was in good condition so there must’ve been something else that caused it to break, so I started checking the various accessory pulleys.


When I got to the water pump, I couldn’t turn it by hand. I had to get a pry bar to even get it to budge. Somehow it had seized, and the belt running across the stationary pulley caused it to heat up and break, which is what the cloud of smoke must have been. When I removed the water pump, half of the pulley was shiny from the belt rubbing on it, and the rest was black the way it should be. My main concern with the seized water pump is I didn’t know how long they drove it without any coolant circulation, but it didn’t seem to have affected the engine once I’d replaced the water pump and belt.

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