During the fall and winter we will likely see at least a hundred cars that were disabled on the side of the road, in driveways, or in the school drop-off lane with a blown hose or broken belt. Even if you’ve not experienced a blown hose, you’ve probably seen it, and it’s not pretty — white steam pouring out from under the hood. When a belt goes, a number of things will alert you… your dash will light up like a Vegas slot machine, you’ll probably hear bells, and you may even lose the ability to steer your car. It’s no joke to break a belt — says someone with experience.
It’s easy to get really scared when either of these things happen. The best thing to do is get to the side of the road with your car. Not panicking is important too…. Although it feels like a disaster, most of the time it isn’t. It’s hopefully a rare thing for you to experience, but we talk people through this situation almost every day in the winter, and we understand it’s scary.
Being mindful that these things are a possibility beforehand is the best way to mitigate belt and hose issues. At Beany’s, we check your belts and hoses with EVERY SINGLE oil change. Four times a year, a professional mechanic is looking at your belts and hoses for wear. Four times a year they’re checking your antifreeze level to make sure your cooling system is working. Four times a year they’re checking your clamps, pulleys, and tensioners. Four times a year they’re looking out for your best interest, and the best interest of your family.
Review with the drivers in your home what to do when something like this, or any other mechanical emergency, happens. It may be difficult to steer (if the power steering belt has broken), and it’s alarming to have lights/bells vying for your attention. The heat/defrost (AC) will likely go out. Your car may very well turn itself off, and the temperature indicator may go into red instantly. With a belt or hose issue, there is nothing you can do to “LIMP” your car anywhere.
Here are some of our tips:
You do NOT NEED TO OPEN THE HOOD to let the steam escape if it’s a broken hose. You could get burned!
- Coast as far right as you can safely go
- Put your blinkers on
- Lock the doors
- If you are not in a safe place, you may want to call 911
- Call a tow truck/parents/spouse/work, make sure your people know where you are
- Call Beany’s and let us know the car is coming in, make sure we have your phone number