What happened to my car?

When a car has several symptoms all at once — steering is difficult, a/c goes out, electrical goes out, engine starts to heat up, and maybe a terrible noise under the hood — it can be frightening to think about how much work needs to be done to the car to get everything fixed. Luckily, this this can often just be a broken fan belt (or a belt tensioner), which is a very easy repair. The belt is powered by the engine and in turn spins the fan, the power steering pump, the water pump, the air conditioning, and the alternator.

When it breaks (in full or in part) everything attached to is affected. Loose belts will often squeal, and belts with a broken piece can usually be heard knocking against something under the hood.

It’s important to not drive when this happens because with out coolant pumping through the engine your car could quickly overheat. And when an engine overheats, it could cause much more serious (and expensive) problems.