Audi vehicles (a subsidiary of Volkswagen) are some of the most popular luxury cars in Europe. They recently faced lawsuits alleging that both Volkswagen and Audi’s 2015-2019 models were built with a defective water pump system that caused the vehicle to leak coolant and consequently caused overheating and damages to the engine.
These defects are most common in the 2L or 1.8L engines. Audi and Volkswagen have been accused of being aware of this defect and concealing it from their customers. The result of these lawsuits is one of the largest recalls (1.16 million) to happen in the automotive space.The general solution to a water pump failure is to replace the water pump.
How does a water pump work?
The water pump is an impeller device or pump that helps to circulate coolant within a water cool engine. It is important to know that not all engines are designed to have a water pump. You would easily locate the water pump within the cover of the timing belt on the side of the rotating motor. The pump is designed with a blade that allows coolant to flow from the radiator to the engine and back.
Typically, the water pump will fail when the plastic blades begin to crack and break off. The failure of the water pump is more common in Audi and Volkswagen because of their choice of plastic material in making the pump. Most vehicles use more robust materials to produce the pumps instead.
5 Signs Your Water Pump May Be Failing
- Leaking coolant
The water pump is designed with gaskets and seals to prevent coolants from leaking out and deliver a consistent flow of these coolants from the car’s radiator to the engine.
These gaskets and seals will wear out after extended usage and cause a crack or break in the water pump, causing the water pump to fail. You would notice fluid dripping from the frontal center of your car. These fluids are usually colored red or green. It is primarily a coolant leak caused by water pump failure when you see this.
- Unusual Noise from engine
Unusual noise from the front of your Audi or Volkswagen may be signs that its water pump may be failing. This is usually caused by a loose belt that creates the whirring buzzing sound coming from the car’s hood.
The loose belt can be traced to a loose pulley within the pump. Once this occurs, we recommend that the car owner replaces the water pump rather than repair it. Repairing the water pump does not eradicate the issue, and soon enough, the water pump will still fail.
The main purpose of the water pump is to circulate these coolants to prevent the engine from overheating. When the water pump is failing or has failed, the pump cannot circulate these coolants; hence the car may suffer from overheating.
Overheating in the engine could cause other damage to the engine and the car’s overall performance. It should be taken with all seriousness and dealt with. Usually, you will notice steam coming from your vehicle radiator when your Audi car is overheating. It’s best to pull over and not continue to drive the car.
- Unstable temperature gauge
Most Audi and Volkswagen cars are equipped with a temperature gauge and sensors to monitor the vehicle’s temperature. The temperature of your Audi car should be stable under normal conditions.
When you notice that the gauge reading is unstable and reads uncontrollable from high to low, this may be caused by a faulty or failing water pump and should be addressed adequately.
- Rust and debris build up in the water pump.
Leakage from the water pump will cause debris and other material to build up in the pump. These materials can contaminate the coolant and cause a defective cap that allows excessive air.
Where there are signs of debris or rust in the water pump, this indicates that the water pump is damaged and will need replacements urgently.
Cost of replacing the water pump for VW and Audi
It is best to replace the water pump of your Audi or Volkswagen vehicle rather than repair it. The average cost of replacing water pumps in Audi is typically between $1200 and $1800, depending on the model of vehicle you drive. It’s important to note that this cost covers removal of the intake manifold, which sits on top of the engine. Removal of the intake manifold is labor intensive. Given that the manifold is removed, and if your vehicle has carbon build-up, it is cost effective to perform another service called walnut shell blasting.
- How long can I drive with a bad water pump in a car?
We recommend that you avoid driving your vehicle if you have a water pump failure. If you continue to drive your car, you may risk damaging other components of your car’s engine. You may still be able to drive between 5 to 15 miles with a failing water pump.
- Can a bad water pump cause a car not to start?
A failing water pump shouldn’t cause your vehicle not to start. However, it may cause severe issues like overheating and damaging other engine components. It’s best to replace the water pump, although this will not fix the starting issue of the car.
- Do warranties cover water pump failure?
Usually, the car manufacturer will state whether its warranties cover fuel water pump failure or not. Recent recall in many Audi and VW models may require the manufacturer to fix the issues.
Contact European Motors for water pump failures in your Audi and VW.
Audi and Volkswagen cars are great luxury cars, and the best way to fix their water pump failure is to replace them on time. Failure to replace your vehicle’s water pump could have repercussions on other parts of the car. For example, a leaking engine coolant could contact the thermostat and melt electrical plugs connected to the car’s engine.
At European Motors in Silver Lake, our European car specialists are equipped with the most advanced tools required for many cars makes such as Audi, BMW, VW, Mini, Mercedes, Jaguar, Fiat, Land Rover, Porsche, and Volvo. Our shop has been located on Ivanhoe Hill since 1975, across the street from Whole Foods Market. We are proud to be a neighborhood favorite auto repair shop for over 40 years. If you need help diagnosing issues with your car or think you have water pump failure, give European Motors a call.