I recently bought a 2001 Hyundai Sonata, and one of the things I wanted fixed was the serpentine belt: it had a noticeable squeal. I took it into a shop and they replaced the tensioner pulley, but the squeal was still there. I mentioned it before driving off, but they were busy and I couldn’t leave it with them, so I was going to bring it back in a few days.
That was two or three days ago. This afternoon I had the A/C cranked up, and the engine was at about 3000 RPM (I was using it as a brake, coming down some steep hills), when I heard an awful clattering coming from under the hood. I pulled over and found that the serpentine belt had shredded itself. It looks like about 1/3 of it is left, and I assume that part won’t last long. So, three questions.
First, what are the odds the shop messed up somehow when they set the tension? In other words, is it their fault the belt broke, or just coincidence (it was on its way out anyway)? And secondly, from some searching I did it looks like the alternator, A/C, and power steering run off this belt. I’d like to get this car back up to the same shop I had it in before, but that’s about 8 miles away (in city traffic), and I’m not sure how much longer the belt will last. I can do without A/C just fine, and without the alternator running I’d be fine over that distance too. But no power steering could be really awkward, especially if it goes out suddenly. Finally, with the bits of belt whipping around under the hood, do I need to worry about them damaging other things?
So, what would you recommend I do? Try to get back to that shop? And was this a mess-up on their part, or likely just a really worn belt to start with? (For what it’s worth, the guy I bought the car from said he’d changed this plus the timing belt just a few thousand miles ago…though I don’t know how much I trust him.)