Works-in-a-pinch fan-belt?

Have you ever needed to replace a failed fan belt on the road without a having an actual replacement fan belt? If so, what did you use?

The driver’s pantyhose.


A tow truck. Actually, it was a failed tensioner.

lol … reminds me, how is your re-bushing job proceeding? Done?

I’m having a shop do it. Heat index was 105 today (temps around mid-90s). I can work in 90+ F but not in crazy humidity. But I needed to use it and have another car in right now. Waiting for that to be done and then I’ll have them do it. The kids are both out of the house. It’s easier for me to pay for things these days if I want or need to. I did talk to them about only doing the bushings rather than complete bracket and arm R&R.

Tow truck. The serpentine belt burned the alternator pully off when it locked up. Needed new belt and a new alternator.

Tow truck just happened by about 5 minutes after it happened…before cell phones.

In the old day when V-belts were used, many different items could be temporarily substituted: stockings, panty hose, rope, belts, torn rags, cable ties (several to a lot all stung together…), wire, string (strung many times around),

Now, with Serpentine Belts so popular, I would be hard pressed to find anything that would stay on the pulleys long enough to be useful…

And here is a trip down memory lane… and some of these members are still active…

You would be surprised at how far you can push a serpentine belt and it not break, most of the time, but not all, something goes bad causing the serp belt to break, very few times I have seen a belt break for no other reason then age… But I have seen it and it was on much older high mileage vehicles… I kept an eye on it, but I pushed my 2006 Corolla belt to the limit, well until I got nervous about it breaking anyway… I replaced it with 149299 miles on it, remember I drove this car hard the entire time I owned it once it was at operating temp, regularly 1-2 shifting at or above 4 to 5K rpms… Funny, my guys started recommending me to replace it around 30K…

I do not recommend others doing this, I kept a close eye on it and have a pretty good feel for my vehicles,

BTW: My buddy, when he was still a repo man used to use 2 old cracked serp belts (many different lengths to chose from) for repoing Harley Davidsons and other Bikes and never had one break…

You can’t determine the condition of a serpentine belt by visual inspection anymore.

Parts stores use to give away free Gates serpentine belt wear inspection gauges because of this.


Nope always had a spare. Didn’t have a shotgun though for the part of town I had to put it on in.

Another time didn’t matter. Pulley on water pump drove it right off again. 20 below. Drove to Midas a mile away with no power steering or cooling for a new water pump. Took a cab the rest of the way to work. When I went to pick it up again they had locked the keys in the car. Spare. Had rusted off somewhere. It was cold for the guys trying to break in.

So even if you have the parts, or panty hose, doesn’t mean you have the right park or could change a water pump on the road.

Is this question for the kids that other wise didn’t read popular mechanics in 1960?

These days, when I replace a belt just on mileage I actually take the old belt and stash it in the car somewhere … just in case. Odd as I am, I’ll actually do the same with wiper blades. I replaced a set once and had a new one come apart. The old one would have been better than nothing at the time.

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Yeah me too. I order the oem wiper blades a toner $20 each because they work well and have the same fitting. But I put the old ones in the trunk just in case, plus they have the part numbers to re-order from.

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Yes sir, and I have a few of those belt wear gauges also, and it failed years before I replaced it in 2016, I am just making the point that they are not as frail as some want you to think…
Again, it was a test on my vehicle(s), I had done it on other make vehicles also, I don’t recommend doing it, and yes it squealed like a pig 1st start up and when it rained hard, I ran through some deep water a few times and lost power steering until it slung the water off the belt…
Anybody else including my family I would have told them to replace the belt long ago…

None of my vehicles have serpentine belts, so I’m more interested in the “fan belt” substitutes, so thanks for the ideas. If I had a serpentine belt design, I probably wouldn’t attempt to improvise a belt, just wait for a tow truck. I was thinking that the heavy-duty type of cable ties might work pretty good as fan-belts, and easy to make the correct length, but wonder how long they’d last? If 50 miles, that should be good enough. What about a length of sturdy rope, I wonder if there’s a way to tie a low-profile knot (to form the rope into a loop) that would still go around the pulleys without falling off & work as a temporary belt? I keep a spare belt in my Corolla’s trunk , but don’t keep a belt under the seat for the truck. I should buy a spare belt for truck.

Ok here we go again. Instead of a simple carry a spare belt, we get into knot tying. Like I said give it a rest for a while. There are probably ten people out of 350 million that want to know of a low profile panty hose knot instead of buying a $20 belt. Now you are more likely to have panty hose in the trunk or on yourself or a passenger?

Sorry but this just goes from bad to worse. More people are interested in egg rolls. And now even wearing a mask. Some people here are . . .

My fan belt broke on my 1964 Dodge van one Sunday night. I had an hour left to drive.

I opened the engine cover and spun the fan blade by hand.
Between continually spinning the blade, and also driving at a steady light load 40 mph, I made it to my destination without overheating.

Fortunately the battery had enough in it to run the headlamps and ignition.

Even if you have a spare belt, you may not be able to get it on if you don’t have the required tools. Knot tieing might be one way to do that without tools . Cable ties, another.

As far as “giving it a rest” I’m interpreting that as a suggestion for me to not post, or not post as much. @JoeMario has done the math and says I’m not the top poster here. Would you suggest the top poster also not post as much? One idea to address this sort of concern might be for the forum software to implement a posting limit, only a certain number of posts per day or per week, or a limit on the number of new topics per week, etc. I’d be happy to abide by that. Or forum readers could just ignore posts that don’t interest them.

Wouldn’t it be simpler to bring a spare belt and a couple of wrenches, than a bunch of zip ties that might not work?

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How about posting something plausable or at least revelant instead of just posting to every thread you see . I for one just find it odd that you have a story for every situation and why you have to reference your old vehicles all the time.

Of course it would. But only if you remember to make sure you have everything you need before leaving.