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Lastly, let’s talk about water pump failures. This is also something you don't see often, but it does happen from time to time, especially on vehicles with plastic impellers on their water pumps. Sometimes the blades of the impeller either rust away or get broken. For some reason (because they're cheap), some manufacturers think it’s a good idea to use pressed-on plastic impellers on their water pumps. When these break, you get a loss of cooling system efficiency because the pump can’t move coolant through the system. It’s like a fan that’s missing a few blades; it just doesn't move air like it should. The same is true for a water pump; broken or missing blades on the impeller have the same effect.

These are probably the hardest overheat problems to find. You can do a quick Google search on your vehicle to see if water pump problems are common with your make and model. That way, if you have an overheat you can't find the source of, you'll at least have something to go on. The only way to truly know if you have a water pump problem of this type is to remove the water pump and inspect it. The symptoms of an issue like this are often an overheat while driving on the highway or when the engine is under load, but it will cool down when the engine isn't working hard. This video shows what a bad water pump looks like.

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