Thanks. Yeah, the consensus is to replace the belt, and AFAIK, it’s never been replaced (bought used from rental car company with 28K on it). It’s due/overdue for scheduled maintenance (last was before 120k) - only oil since. Googling around, changing the belt doesn’t seem too bad for someone like me who is only a step or two above novice.
But what about the noise? I’m fairly confident it is the tensioner itself… is that likely? Is that hard to replace? (BustedKnuckles and ok4450 suggested to do both, for good measure) is it that easy?
To answer some other questions:
JimFrost: sound was intermittent, but for the last week or two it’s pretty constant
insightful: I was on a dark highway in a moderate rain at night (you know, the only place a car has trouble ) I clearly lost steering, saw the battery light, and when I slowed down it seemed harder to brake, but I won’t rule out that I didn’t imagine the brake issue in my moment of stress. The battery light went off about 15 seconds later, as I slowed down, killed the accessories and took the next exit. No problems after that. I’ve driven it normally since, though not through anything but light drizzle.
the same mountainbike: The engine has had a few codes since summer, but not any that night. P0023. I looked it up-- http://www.datsc.com/tabid/122/OBD-Error-Code/P0023/Diagnostics/hyundai/Default.aspx
As I said, I intend to get it in the shop for scheduled maintenance, but I have to travel before I do that, so I’m trying to figure out what I should do right now. I can’t get a good assessment on the urgency of this code. Plus, if I can do some of the work beforehand and leave just the hard stuff to the dealer, I would prefer to do that. Short on $$ (everybody’s story) If that code is urgent, let me know and I’ll just go ahead and make an appointment, however.
In truth, this car has served me well–the only major failure its ever had is the fuel pump.