Does your water pump leak when the engine is off?

Something is leaking under my car. My friend suggested it might be the water pump, but the car is off. Doesn’t the car need to be on for the water pump to be working? Will the water pump leak even when the engine is off?

Matt Terzi · Answered on Feb 22, 2022
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Oh no, we’re sorry to hear your car is leaking! We’re glad you noticed it though. A lot of drivers don’t really look under their car to see if anything is leaking until the leak gets so bad it can’t be missed, and by then you might have bigger problems on your hands.
Yes, your water pump can leak even if your engine is off. Parts can develop tiny cracks or holes. Hoses can be damaged, which can cause them to rupture. It’s definitely possible, but you shouldn’t start worrying about replacing any parts just yet.
First, let’s identify what type of fluid is leaking from your car. If you can, try to identify the general area where the liquid is leaking from and put a few paper towels under that area. What color is the liquid that’s leaking?
  • Dark brown or blackish is usually motor oil
  • Light brown might be motor oil or dirty transmission fluid. If it smells really gross, it could be gear lubricant
  • Orange liquid is either antifreeze, transmission fluid, or air conditioning condensation
  • Red or pink liquid is power steering fluid or transmission fluid
  • Green or yellow liquid is usually antifreeze or coolant
  • Blue liquid is usually windshield wiper fluid. Some Hondas use blue coolant, too
  • Clear liquid is probably air conditioning condensation. It might be brake fluid, but if your brakes feel fine, it’s the car’s AC
If it’s air conditioning condensation, it’s nothing you need to worry about. But if there’s some color to the liquid, you should take your car to a mechanic as soon as possible. This is especially true if you’re hearing any funky sounds when you’re driving or notice anything different about the car’s general handling or performance.
This repair may not be covered by car insurance, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make sure your policy is up-to-date! Use the Jerry app to find the cheapest quotes on great car insurance coverage offered by more than 50 of America’s top providers.
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