There is a car i am interested in buying for only $1300 but the person selling it says the water pump is going out. The car is an Oldsmobile 2003 Alero with 141000 miles on it. How much would it cost to fix this water pump and how can i check to see how its working?
You need to have this vehicle checked by a good independent mechanic. It could be a good car for the money but it might also be the biggest money pit around. Don’t take chances…have this car inspected before you even think about buying it.
If the Alero has a 4 cylinder engine replacing the water pump is a peculiar job and when the water pump fails on that engine it can leak water into the crankcase. For many reasons I would recommend avoiding Quad 4 engines.
I agree with Rod Knox, an older car with cooling system problems is a bad gamble. If it was an easy fix they’d have done it, probably.
If it has the four cylinder engine, avoid it like the plague. The water pump is driven by the timing chain, which is the short, complete explanation for Rod Knox’s reasoning concerning why the four cylinder engine should be avoided, unless you are willing to spring for a new engine. If it has the V6, it may not be a bad bet unless it has been overheated. Lots of people, including Tom and Ray, hate these cars (Grand Am by another name), but I don’t think they’re bad cars at all. My sister has an '02 Grand Am and loves it, and I don’t mind working on it. If it has the V6 engine, have a mechanic look at it before purchasing it. Specifically, check the lower intake gaskets for external leaks and evidence of internal leaks. It’s possible for them to leak into the crankcase, which can wreck the engine. Pull the oil cap, and if there’s slimy, milky gunk under the cap or under the valve cover, that’s coolant and this car should be given a pass. As for the water pump on the V6 engine, book time is somewhere around 1.5 hours and the part is fairly cheap, so probably $300-400 to have a shop replace it.
You might consider taking anything the seller said about this being a water pump issue only with a grain or two of salt.
It could be that the engine has been severely overheated in the past and is damaged goods with the seller playing a bit dumb about it. That would not be a rare thing to happen.
It’s rare for the water pump to leak into the engine oil on this engine, even though it’s driven by the timing chain. It’s not the Quad 4 RodKnox talks about, but rather the Ecotec 4 cylinder which frankly has proven to be quite a durable and reliable engine, and not prone to intake leaks like the V6. I think in that car I’d take the Ecotec 4 over the V6.
But as with any used high mile car there are always risks. Have an independent garage check the car over and give you some info to help make a decision. It could be a decent car that the current owner doesn’t want to spend $600 on a new water pump.