A Guide to Water Pumps For VW Owners

Somewhat sadly, every modern Volkswagen has a water pump. Air-cooled VW's are now sought after collectibles. The water pump is the heart of the cooling system. The more you know about water pumps, the better. If you own a high mileage VW, you may experience water pump failure. It’s important to recognize the signs and address the issue as soon as possible.

Water pump guideImage Credit: kmestc

This guide covers all the information you’ll ever need about your Volkswagen’s water pump.

What is a Water Pump?

When you look into the engine bay, you’ll find a basic centrifugal pump that’s powered via a serpentine belt. That’s the water pump, and its main purpose is to circulate coolant through the engine block and radiator. It’s often compared to a heart in the human body because if it stops working, the entire cooling system fails. As a result, the engine will overheat, and there may be additional engine damage.

You can read more about water pumps and why they’re important here: What is a Water Pump Assembly and Why is it Important?

How to Diagnose a Failing Water Pump

If you experience some of the symptoms of a failing water pump, you can skip the shop and inspect your water pump at home. You don’t need any specialized tools. You only need an hour or two of your own time and this tutorial: How to Diagnose a Failing Water Pump.

Are OEM Water Pumps Better Than Aftermarket?

When it’s time to replace your water pump, it’s important to get a replacement that works well and will last a long time. In this case, your best bet is OEM. OEM water pumps exceed aftermarket water pumps in terms of:

  • Performance
  • Quality
  • Price
  • Fitment

Basically, OEM water pumps perform more reliably and are built with better quality materials. They usually cost less in the long run, and are built with precise fitment in mind.

This article explains all of these points in more detail: Replacement Water Pumps: OEM or Aftermarket?

How to Replace a Water Pump on a Beetle

Replacing your water pump can be tricky, especially if the engine bay has limited space (like in the VW Beetle, for example). You’ll need to remove some parts first before reaching the water pump. But it shouldn’t be a problem if you have the right tools and some mechanical experience.

This tutorial has all the steps you need: How to Replace a Water Pump on a Beetle