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Diagnostic Help 2004 Accord (possible belt issue)

I have in the past (2) days experienced this issue (3) times. I’m driving, the check battery light comes on and the power steering shuts off (wheel becomes very difficult to turn) for a period of about 2-4 seconds. On the second occurrence I thought I heard belt slip. When I googled the symptoms, the result was pointing at serpentine belt slip. I had the car at a shop about 30m after the 3rd instance and the mechanic said he didn’t see anything wrong, probably just went through a puddle, and if it continues then the alternator may be bad.

My issue with that diagnosis is that I haven’t experienced this issue ever… and then suddenly across 2 days I get 3 instances. Puddle or not, I have gone through hundreds before, so something should be different to enable this issue. Looking for any feedback anyone might have or tips to help me properly diagnose this issue. Let me know if any additional information can be helpful.

Car: 2004 Honda Accord EX 2.4L

Conditions at time of symptoms…
It was wet and lightly raining the first instance, for the other two it was heavily raining
(1) Stopped at a stop sign, then making a right turn
(2) Stopped at a stop sign, then making a left turn
(3) Driving ~35mph, road curves to the right

When was the last time the serpentine belt was replaced, if ever?
I cannot fathom why it wasn’t just replaced the last time a mechanic was looking at it unless it is brand new. The time to look at it, it could have been replaced and be done with it in just a few additional minutes and then no guessing about it.


Any work done recently that may have resulted in a dangling or missing plastic shield?

The belt should be removed and probably replaced with a new one. New belts grip better and run smoother. But before putting on a new belt, check all the driven pulleys for smooth rotation without looseness. Also check the tensioner for strong smooth spring action.

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You might be on to something… There was a metal piece that was removed, I think it was just a simple shield near the flex pipe/catalytic converter. That was only removed in late feb/early march. So might be possible, but it seems like it may be a stretch… Other than that, no work on the car in a while.

I don’t know the full history of the vehicle, but I’m assuming it hasn’t been replaced, I know it hasn’t been replaced in 80k+ miles at least.

In that case, just replace it, and check the pulleys and tensioner as mention above.

I wonder if this has a timing belt, another problem waiting to happen.

Yes, timing belt replacement very important on many Honda engines - those with a belt, not a chain. I just did it on my 1999 Civic at 180,000 miles. Had it done once prior.

Wouldn’t issues with the timing belt create issues at the start-up of the car? I haven’t had any issues with starting nor any odd engine noise.

Timing belt does not cause issues . They work until they break and then they might destroy the engine. Your manual will have a chart to change the belt by miles or time in months.

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I’m still at work so my source is google… but I think I have a timing chain and it seems to be confirmed when I searched.

If you live where they use road salt, the corrosion can freeze the belt tensioner in Place. If the tensioner isn’t free to move as the belt stretches, the belt tension decreases and the belt slips.
See if you can move the tensioner.

I’m seeing a timing chain for the L4-2.4 L also. If I had those symptoms I’d just replace the serp belt and go from there.