First off, we must understand the main function of a water pump. As combustion in the engine generates heat, water pumps have been a vital component of most automotive cooling systems. More recently, electric water pumps have been appearing, saving fuel and therefore reducing emissions.
The goal of mechanical and electric water pumps is the same: to circulate coolant with the aim of regulating the engine’s service temperature and preventing overheating, no matter the weather. But there are a few differences between them.
The following article explains how mechanical water pumps work, followed by electrical pumps, and discusses the pros and cons of both. Keep reading to find out.
How work Mechanical water pumps?
Traditional mechanical water pumps, centrifugal in design, are driven by a belt (V-belt or toothed belt) that connects them to the engine’s crankshaft and are able to circulate coolant through cavities in the engine block and cylinder heads and returns back to the radiator, where the cycle begins again. So, the power needed to the water pump performance is provided by the engine itself.
What are electric pumps?
Electric water pumps are water pumps driven by electricity. They can provide a delivery rate that is not dependent on the engine speed, thus cooling that is based on the engine’s demand, activating the pump when there is a specific need. This, in turn, minimizes power requirements for the cooling circuit, reducing issues such as frictional loss, fuel consumption and pollutant emissions.
Comparing both types of water pump: pros and cons
- Efficiency. Efficiency in water pumps is directly related to coolant regulation. On the one hand, mechanical water pumps rely on a thermostat to operate the flow rate, which opens or closes the system according to temperature. On the contrary, coolant regulation in an electric water pump takes place electronically. This means that the pump is only activated when needed and can thus be designed to operate at specific speeds and flow rates, depending on each engine’s needs. This results a better heat dissipation.
- Maintenance. Mechanical water pumps may wear out over time or fail due to corrosion, wear, or damage to the impeller. This will, in turn, cause issues within the cooling system, leading to engine overheating and damage. On the other hand, electric water pumps also require regular maintenance and inspection procedures in order to ensure their performance. Normally they last much longer than traditional water pumps due to less heat and fewer hours of operation.
- Cost. Electric water pumps are generally more expensive than mechanical water pumps, due to the additional components and technology required to manufacture them.
All in all, the guiding principle for choosing between a mechanical water pump and an electrical water pump should be the engine’s needs, as well as its performance requirements. While electric water pumps may offer some advantages in terms of efficiency and reliability, mechanical water pumps continue being a reliable and cost-effective option for many vehicle applications.
Related content: Types of automotive water pumps
DOLZ water pumps
With over 80 years of experience in the water pump manufacturing industry, Industrias Dolz is one of the European leaders in the design, manufacture, and distribution of spare parts. Our presence in the aftermarket sector dates back to 1934, which allows us to offer the most experienced water pumps on the market with presence in the main online catalogs such as TecAlliance (TecDoc, TecCom) and Sofinn.
DOLZ’s water pump range include traditional and electric water pumps, auxiliary electric water pumps and variable water pumps. Always meeting ISO 14001:2015 quality standards (art. 1 Block Exemption Regulation EC 1400/2002) and equivalent to OE-quality to ensure fit and full functionality.
If you’re in need of a replacement water pump for passenger cars, trucks, or commercial vehicles, DOLZ is your safety choice. Get in touch with us for further information.
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