Time to Replace a Water Pump?

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

Dear Bob,
I took my car in for a scheduled oil change, and had noticed that my coolant was low, so I asked them to fill that too. They called back to say that I have a leaky water pump on the driver's side and that to replace the whole thing it would cost me $327. I drive a 1991 Tercel that's on its second engine and has 106,900 miles. The last two times I have taken it in for an oil change (to the same place) I have been told that repairs were needed of approximately the same amount.

Can you tell me if the "diagnosis" of a leaky water pump as a cause for the coolant being too low holds water, and if in fact I have a leaky water pump, is this something that needs to be replaced immediately or can I live with it for a couple of months? Many thanks for your assistance.
Loula K.

Well, your engine does not consume antifreeze. So, if you are consistently low then it is leaking somewhere. Now that you had it filled, keep an eye on it. To say it is the water pump just because you are low is false, but while they had the car lifted, they might have been able to see where it was leaking from.

Okay, lets say, for argument sake, that it is leaking. As long as it is not leaking terribly (or more than a mere drip under pressure) then you should be okay on the short term.

What is "short term"? Well, that is very ambiguous for a reason because there really is no way to tell how much life is left in a worn part. I would just not travel too far from home until it is fixed.
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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