As previously mentioned, the water pump is an integral part to any internal combustion engine. If it fails, your engine can quickly overheat, causing major damage. For the most part, water pumps are very reliable and last many years. However, like any part, they can wear out. Luckily, there are some very easy tests we can do to check the health of our water pump.
First, with the engine off, reach down to the water pump pulley, and gently push the pulley up and down. There shouldn’t be any play or wobble. If there is, that pump is wearing out. As the pump is driven by the belt, check that the accessory belt is in good shape too. If it is cracking, replace the belt. If the belt were to break while you were driving, although the water pump did not fail itself, it would stop cooling the engine.