If my belt should break will it harm the engine. Can the car be driven to a repair facility in safety? Thanks in advance.
No and no…
If the belt breaks, you will have no engine cooling and the engine will overheat very quickly. Also you will lose power steering assist and it will be very hard to steer the car. Best bet is regular inspection of the belt and/or replacement at regular intervals (I replace mine at 40-50K).
You should change it about every 6 years regardless of mileage. But my original belt on my 02 Saturn went about 9 years and 220k miles and it was still good, but I changed it anyway.
But, if that belt breaks, you must pull over as soon as it is safe to do so and shut the engine down. A new belt is very difficult to snake into place by yourself on the side of the road, the pulleys are too close to the inner fender. It would be best to replace this belt on your terms, not on its terms.
When in doubt, change it out.
Yeah, it’s inexpensive insurance against being stuck in some spot that you’de really rather not be stuck in.
Thanks for all the good comments. The car is actually owned by my daughter and I emailed her your comments and called her to have it checked by our mechanic. Thanks again.