An automotive water pump seal is a device used to prevent leakage around the pump shaft. High heat is generated on the seal face during pump operation. This may cause the failure of the seal due to high temperature on the seal face. This paper investigates the temperature distribution, the thermal distortion and the thermal stresses of the automotive water pump seal by using the finite element method. In this paper, the fully flooded case (the seal is fully surrounded by the lubricant fluid), the partially flooded case (some area of the seal is not covered by the lubricant fluid due to the vapor barrier) and the dry running case are studied. Finite element results show that for certain seal designs the maximum temperature of the seal face for partially flooded and dry running cases is much higher than that of the fully flooded case. This can lead to the failure of the seal.