Fan Belt gone, can we start the car in a week?

my two sons drove to the airport where there car will now be parked for the week. Upon arrival it was discovered that the fan belt is gone (they looked because it was making a noise on the way there).

will they be able to start the car when they return next sunday night? thanks!!

NO NO NO unless you live next to airport. not knowing the model . I will guess. you will not have p/s no alt, no water pump. if you have one belt and you can get to it easy take a 3/4 racket bar big one and put in the hole on idle wheel and put on it and follow the belt instrusions
under hood. or ask the garage to take a belt out and put it on in lot. if you have AAA have it towed to shop. if you two or three V belts and it the inside belt you will have to tale off the others first I wish you have put more info on the webb. the new cars will not run long with out an alt they use electric fast . years ago when we had points you could drive for days. not today.

It is possible but strongly not recommended. Yes, you can start your car and drive it away. You may even be able to go several miles without difficulty. Thereafter you are asking for trouble. The missing belt might be the one that turns the water pump which circulates coolant through the engine and prevents overheating. There are other accessories that are not going to work but these are of lesser importance.

Make arrangements with a nearby shop or towing service. Do not risk your car’s engine just to save the towing fee.

Do not start. Have the vehicle (Whatever it is?) towed to the shop. If AWD (All Wheel Drive) it will require a flatbed truck.

Probably not, but what kind of car are we talking about? If you have a single belt that runs everything (most importantly the water pump) you will need to have it towed or fixed on the spot. If, by chance we are talking about an older car with separate belts, we need to know which belt is missing.

it’s a 1997 toyota corolla. I don’t know which belt it is, I haven’t seen it.

The water pump in a '97 Corolla is driven from the timing belt.

If it has enough juice left to start it’ll run until the battery runs out of charge. Then the engine will die and your son will find himself suddenly without power steering or brake boost.

Don’t do this.

So, the question becomes; how far would he have to drive to get to the nearest shop that could replace the belt?

I would not try to drive at night and I would avoid significant traffic and highways, but if there was a shop within a couple/few miles I would probably give it a shot. I might also connect some jumper cables and make sure the battery had a decent charge. If you are not comfortable with the potential of it shutting off on the way to the shop, have it towed.

Thank you so much for all the advice. My husband and I went and picked up the car this morning. He drove it to a shop about 2 miles from where it was parked. It was drivable but the power steering was gone. They replaced all three belts and he said the one that was gone (actually there was a thread thin piece of it left) was somehow not on correctly which accounted for it’s going down to nothing. He found cracking on the other two belts which is why he replaced them as well. All told it came to <$100. We reparked the car at an airport lot so they can drive home on sunday. Thanks again for the help, I was at a loss as to what to do and your comments made it easy for me to decide.

You know those other rubber parts (radiators hoses, in particular) that are still on the engine and, like the drive belts, are also 11 years old? Could they be next to fail?

Well done lowspark. We are all glad everything worked out well for you.

Thanks sincerely for letting us know how it worked out.

Happy holidays.