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Water Pump change questions

2006 Toyota Camry 2.4L engine. 105,000 miles. Is now a good time to change water pump as a proactive maintenance? When water pump is changed, is draining and refilling the engine coolant a part of job? Some shops list engine coolant as one of the parts in water pump replacement. If draining and refilling coolant is part of water pump replacement, I wouldn’t want to sound like I want to two jobs to a mechanic. One mechanic quoted $300 for water pump change and coolant drain/refill.

When water pump is changed, other than coolant drain/refill, is there anything else I should consider getting replaced in the nearby vicinity? The car has timing chain (not timing belt) which to my understanding doesn’t require replacement. Your advises are appreciated.

Some guys will replace the water pump and only replenish the coolant that was lost during the repair

This is not the preferred way

You want a guy who will also drain the radiator

The coolant you want is genuine Toyota super long life, Zerex Asian red, or Pentofrost A4

Universal green would work, but that’s technically the wrong type of coolant

There’s others who are members who are much more knowledgeable and will undoubtedly reply as well. The only time I’ve heard of proactively changing out a water pump is when another piece, like the timing belt, requires replacement. The primary reason being that most of the labor for a pump replacement has to be done anyway and it’s relatively little additional cost (just for the parts).
When I’ve had water pumps replaced in the past, I had warning (it starts leaking coolant) and didn’t cause any other engine damage. If your Toyota is similar in that regard, I don’t see the benefit in changing it before showing symptoms of trouble.
If you’re replacing the water pump, you might as well replace the coolant. I wouldn’t be surprised if the owner’s manual recommends a coolant change at 100K anyway.

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You don’t replace a water pump as preventive maintenance. But replace it if it shows a problem such as leaking from the weep hole on the water pump or noise.

But when a water pump is replaced, the coolant is drained.

Then when the new water pump is installed, new coolant is added.

And at your mileage, you might consider replacing the serpentine belt.



Yes, this right here. There is little reason to change a pump that is not leaking unless it would puke coolant all over a brand new timing belt and/or cause a bunch of duplicate labor.

If it adds to the discussion, 3 of my own cars have original water pumps at 104K, 101K and 125K.

I work with a guy that takes proactive maintenance to a very high level

A few weeks ago, he replaced the radiator, water pump, thermostat and ALL of the coolant hoses on his 10 year old car, because he was preparing to take a big road trip

This is a guy that changes his synthetic oil every 1000 miles

Wow, Every 1000 miles? For synthetic oil?

And people have called me obsessive about car maintenance…

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He uses Mobil 1 synthetic, not the store brand stuff

And he buys the oil filters from the Honda dealer

Performing maintenance that’s not needed can cause problems, too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to redo something that I didn’t do just right the first time. Wonder if these “proactive maintenance” people are aware of that?

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This coworker of mine . . . he says anybody that doesn’t follow HIS maintenance schedule is an idiot

I just looked him in the eye, said nothing, and went back to work :smile:

Here’s another great tool

with a mirror like that it is possible to inspect the weep hole at the bottom of the water pump. If there is a trail of coolant or even a significant trail of dried, crusted coolant a new water pump would be worth considering.


Since you have a timing chain, I would not replace the pump unless there is a problem. It could last for years, and changing it could cause other problems, including replacing it with a short-lived pump. Happened to me last year with front end components - replace both sides just to be sure, and the ‘good’ side replacement went out in 2 weeks.


What brand were those parts @texases ?

Good question. I had a shop do it, I didn’t ask the brand. Next time I will…

I would just change the coolant.
If it’s the original it’s 5,000 miles and/or 4 years overdue.
Re. preventive maintenance I would also change the thermostat and radiator cap. with OEM parts.

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If I was going to do an optional water pump replacement job like this, I’d wait until summer to do it. That way you won’t end up stranded on the road from a leaky water pump install in the middle of winter. That’s the kind of thing you want happening in June or July if it has to happen Yes, new water pumps can leak or be otherwise defective right out of the box.

If/when you decide to change out the water pump, suggest to do a coolant drain and refill too. As the engine runs and time goes by the coolant can get a little contaminated , its pH lowers and becomes more acidic, and can lose some of its anti-corrosive protection. Contaminated coolant can damage internal engine gaskets. So it makes $$$ sense to replace the coolant at the same time. Keep the old drive belt in the trunk in case you need it someday, an on the road emergency.

long w/ the above, ask your shop if it would make sense to also replace the thermostat, the radiator cap, and the water pump drive belt at the same time… I’d probably do that if I was doing a pump replacement on my Corolla.

Since you have 100,000 miles. It would be best to replace the drive belt with the water pump. Also coolant drain and fill is a must. I suggest also replacing the spark plugs with OEM plugs. It wouldn’t hurt to service the transmission. I come from a family of 250-300k mile honda/Toyota’s and that’s the key to having a reliable car.

The chain on these motors drives the crankshaft and the camshafts. The water pump is on the serp belt, and is easy to get to.