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The good thing is everyone is home safely and the car is in the driveway.
blaisepascal
The bad thing is that the car was driven about 20 miles without a serpentine belt. Which explains why it's dead in the driveway, having to be pushed the last 30 feet.

Technically, the belt is there, as is half the idler pulley -- the other half is melted away. I suspect that at some point the idler seized and the friction of the belt proceeded to heat up the plastic pulley enough to melt it. At which point, the belt lost tension, jammed, and stopped doing the job.

The symptoms for the 20 miles home: no power steering and the alternator/battery light was on. I believe the engine died because it was run for 20 miles off the battery alone and the battery is discharged.

It also appears that the radiator hose (that's as specific as the Haynes manual gets) is busted, as one end of the engine compartment is wet and shiny, the car smells hot, and I can see a hole in the hose. There is still coolant in the reservoir, so I don't think we baked the engine (I hope).

AAA has been called, and I will stop by the mechanic in the morning to explain why the car is in her lot.

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Sounds about right for the battery light. Lucky you got as far as you did.

The "battery" light is really the alternator light. It indicates that the car is running off the battery; if there's no belt driving the alternator, the car will have to use the battery as its sole source of electrical power, until the battery runs down. Likewise, the power steering uses hydraulic pressure, provided by a pump which is also driven by the serpentine belt. If you had tried to use your air conditioner, that wouldn't have worked either. Now you just have to figure out why you simultaneously developed a coolant leak... unless the broken end of the serpentine belt, as it whipped around before coming off, slashed a radiator hose.

(And I have to confess that I smiled broadly at the knowledge that your mechanic is a woman - it's still not common.)



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