Water pump replacement cost

Expect to pay $1,200 for a new water pump and timing belt

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BMW and Toyota
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Your water pump moves coolant through your engine to help ensure it doesn’t overheat. Without it, your car can essentially die of heat exhaustion. (That means you’ll want to get your water pump fixed as soon as possible when it goes bad.)

But how much is that going to cost? Do you always have to replace your water pump and timing belt together? And when does a warranty cover these repairs?

Read on to find out.


Key insights

  • The cost to replace your water pump alone is around $600 to $1,100, depending on your vehicle and whether you go to an independent shop or the dealership.
  • Many mechanics recommend replacing water pumps and timing belts at the same time since you can save $400 or more on labor versus doing them separately. The total cost for a combined replacement averages around $1,200.
  • Thankfully, most powertrain warranties — factory or extended — cover water pumps and timing belts. So, if either fails for no reason other than a factory defect, you may get a free replacement.
  • Repairing water pumps is technically possible, but shops tend to replace them instead since it’s safer, more reliable and more cost-effective.

How much does it cost to replace a water pump?

The cost to replace a water pump can range from $600 to over $1,000, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. The average tends to hover around $800 if you pay an independent shop. (If you take your vehicle to the dealership, you can expect to pay $1,000 or more.)

As for how your make and model affect price, have a look at these estimates from RepairPal.

Data courtesy of RepairPal, using the high end of average price ranges

You can see that it costs nearly twice as much to replace the water pump on our sample BMW as on our sample Honda. Part of that comes down to the fact that parts and labor on luxury vehicles cost more in general, but another major factor is how difficult your water pump is to access.

Can you repair a water pump instead of replacing it?

While it’s technically possible — and there are plenty of do-it-yourself videos on YouTube — it’s generally not cost-effective to repair a water pump instead of replacing it.

By the time you pay for all that labor to remove your water pump, it makes way more sense to replace it than to try to repair it.”

“We only replace water pumps,” said a service advisor at an ASE-certified garage in Atlanta. “By the time you pay for all that labor to remove your water pump, it makes way more sense to replace it than to try to repair it.”

Do you need to replace your water pump and timing belt at the same time?

You don’t necessarily have to replace your water pump and timing belt at the same time, but many experts recommend it. There are three main reasons why:

Your timing belt is a rubber loop that runs along the outside of your engine, synchronizing multiple moving parts together, including your water pump.
  1. Life span: Both water pumps and timing belts tend to last between 80,000 and 100,000 miles. If one starts to fail, the other is probably on its way out, too.
  2. Cost: Replacing your water pump and timing belt at the same time prevents you from paying for the same labor twice. “If that water pump fails between timing belts, you're basically going to pay what you paid for the timing belt towards a water pump,” Sean Kim, an experienced mechanic in the Atlanta area, told us. “Might as well replace both while the mechanics are in there.”
  3. Longevity: One of the best ways to ensure your car lasts a long time is to keep your water pump and timing belt in tip-top shape. If you start cutting corners on maintaining your cooling system, it could lead to damage, like a blown head gasket. Even if your water pump is dead but your timing belt has 20,000 miles left, replacing both is usually still a good idea.

On average, the cost to replace a timing belt is also around $800. However, most of that is labor, and if you replace your timing belt and water pump at the same time, the cost for both can come down to $1,200 or less — a 25% savings on average.

Note: Some vehicles have timing chains instead of timing belts. As their name implies, timing chains are made of metal and are far more durable than timing belts, so you shouldn’t have to replace them alongside your water pump — if ever.

Unfortunately, we’ve heard multiple reports of consumers, most of whom identify as female, who have been told by shady shops and dealers that they’re required to pay for a full water pump plus timing belt package — even if their vehicle is fitted with a timing chain that requires no additional work. As a result, it’s worth learning whether your vehicle has a timing belt or chain so you’re not duped into paying to replace a component that doesn’t exist.

Are water pumps covered under warranty?

If you’re concerned about the high cost of replacing your water pump and timing belt together, there’s some good news: even the most basic powertrain warranties tend to cover both components.

  • Factory coverage: If your vehicle is under 5 years old and has fewer than 60,000 miles on the odometer, there’s a chance that you’re still covered under your original factory powertrain warranty. To find out, you can reach out to your local dealership or look up your warranty status using your VIN.
  • Extended coverage: Many cheaper, powertrain-only plans cover both water pumps and timing belts. However, even the best extended warranties generally don’t cover preexisting conditions, so don’t expect to sign up and get help paying for a new water pump if your vehicle is already showing signs of failure.

Also, keep in mind that warranty coverage — factory or extended — only applies to parts that fail due to factory defects or bad design/fitment. That means your claim probably won’t be approved if your water pump or timing belt fails due to:

  • Damage from collisions, weather, animals, vandalism or other causes
  • Abuse or misuse, like racing, off-roading or towing too much
  • Neglect, like leaving your car to sit for months or failing to stick with the routine maintenance schedule in your owners manual

» MORE: What does a car warranty cover?

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FAQ

How much does it cost to replace a water pump and timing belt?

On average, the cost to replace both your water pump and timing belt together is around $1,200, but you might pay $800 for each if done separately.

What are the symptoms of a bad water pump?

Some of the most common signs of a failing water pump include coolant leaks, steam/whining coming from your engine bay and your engine overheating.

You can tell if your engine is overheating by watching the needle in your dashboard’s temperature gauge. If it rises beyond normal levels, it’s best to pull over immediately and call for a tow before causing permanent engine damage.

Can you drive with a bad water pump?

You shouldn’t drive with a bad water pump, and here’s why: Your engine gets hot. Really hot. To keep from getting too hot, your water pump cycles coolant (usually a mix of water and antifreeze) between your engine and radiator.

Without proper cooling from your water pump, your engine will overheat and cause permanent damage to itself, which can be significantly more expensive to fix.

How do you regularly maintain a water pump?

Aside from asking your mechanic to top off your fluid levels with every oil change, there’s not a lot to be done to maintain a water pump. “Preventative maintenance on a water pump is only recommended on cars that have historically bad water pumps,” said Kim.

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