In the past year and one half, the car we gifted to my daughter has had three instances of a shredded belt and failed alternator. It all started with having the car serviced at one of those tire and battery chains, (I thought I was doing a good thing by having the car gone over before giving it to her). We drove it from Texas to her place in Upstate New York without incident. A couple weeks later she called to tell me of the failure. Of course, that National company didn’t have any outlets in the state. Since then she’s had two more failures, the latest just last week. Is there some key thing that these ‘mechanics’ are not adjusting properly or a key factor that could lead to this kind of failure? I’m thinking of belt tension, but I don’t have a manual to tell me what to tell her to have checked.
You might clarify exactly what those 3 instances are and the order in which they occurred. (how many belt failures, alt. failures, etc.)
Belt failures are often caused by the belt not being snug enough or a belt tensioner that is dragging due to a failing bearing.
It should be the shop’s responsibility to inspect these things when changing a belt or alternator rather than simply throw a belt on a car and call it good.
Unfortunately, this lack of attention to detail is not that rare a thing.
Another possible cause could be a failing harmonic balancer. If the rubber insert is dry rotting out this can allow the belt pulleys to wobble, which in turn can chew a belt up.
Thanks for your input on this.
In each of the instances, the alternator was said to be bad then replaced and a new belt mounted. I wasn’t aware of the harmonic balancer and sure didn’t know about it having a rubber insert. Is this more of a rubber metal bushing or bearing? In any event, it sounds like a good place to start checking. I’m now wondering if that same harmonic balancer, if bad, could be causing bearing failures on these alternators.