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Ron, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 36030
Experience:  ASE Certified Tech
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I would like to know why a newly replace serpentine belt

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Hi. I would like to know why a newly replace serpentine belt would break off after driving about 5 miles from the mechanic shop. Thanks.
JA: What shape is the serpentine belt in? Is it cracked, shiny, or frayed? And have you ever replaced one?
Customer: My car is a 2004 Honda Civic (V6). The mechanic said it was worn out and had to replace it. I actually asked the mechanic to check the serpentine belt, idler pulley, and belt tensioner. My car makes a squeaky noise when it is cold and it was not making any noise when I took it to the mechanic. The mechanic only replaced the serpentine belt. I had to tow my car back to the mechanic shop. I asked him why the serpentine belt broke off and he said he does not know.
JA: Are you fixing your Civic yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: Question answered in my immediate response to you.
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: My mechanic first asked me to pay for harmonic balancer and timing belt (timing belt was changed in November 2016) to correct the problem. I had a problem with the mechanic's quest because there was no problem with my car when I took it there. Mechanic further asked me to pay $650 to have a shop fix the heads/top cylinder (I am not familiar with all these things) and everything would be perfect in my car. I got frustrated because I believe that the mechanic must have done something wrong. I left my car there.

Hello. My name is ***** ***** I am happy to assist you today. Give me just a moment to review your post, and I'll be right back with the help you need.

When he removed the old belt did he check all the pulleys to be sure they turned freely and showed no signs of wear and to locking up?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi Ron. I was in the waiting room of the shop when the mechanic came to tell me that I needed to only change the serpentine belt. He said that the pulley and belt tensioner did not need replacement.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I would rather chat because it is easier for me. Thanks.

Okay if the belt broke off with in 5 miles and there are no issues with the pulleys and or the tensioner then in most cases that means that either the belt was just defective or not properly aligned when they installed it. There really is nothing else it could be. He needs to install another new belt and take it for a test drive to be sure this dose not happen again.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
The mechanic told me that he would replace the serpentine belt free of charge. However, he later came to let me know that the harmonic balancer and the timing belt needed to be changed for $350. I paid the $350, but was convinced that the mechanic did something wrong to have escalated to additional problems. I told the mechanic that I did not come there to repair harmonic balancer nor timing belt, and my car was not making any noise before I brought it to the shop. I told him that the shop's negligence caused the belt to break, but I was going to pay the $350 the next day because I needed to borrow the money.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
To my surprise, the mechanic asked me for additional $650.00 to fix the heads/top cylinder. I became very troubled at this point because I did not plan for these additional spending.

I would agree with you one this. If you had no issues with this before the belt was replaced then its is most likely a poor install. I would not let him replace the belt and make sure it hold s and then get out of there as this sure sounds like hes is less then honest and trying to take advantage of you.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I went to the mechanic's shop to let him know that I would not pay the $650 because they must have done something wrong to cause the subsequent problems in my car. The mechanic said that the heads/cylinder was already repaired by another shop and they needed to collect their money. The mechanic told me that the $650.00 would bring my car into perfect condition. Scared and stupid, I borrowed $650 to pay the mechanic. Mechanic asked me to pick my car two days later. I went there two days later and was told that the car still needed to be checked. I went to the mechanic few days later and was asked to pay additional $400 for gasket cover. At this point, I believed I have been reaped off. I told the mechanic that I was not going to pay an additional dime, I was not confident about their work because I do not know what else the mechanic has done wrong in my car, I needed him to purchase the car and refund my money. What do you think?

From what you telling me this dose sound like there ripping you off. I would insist on a refund and take it to a trusted shop and get a second opinion.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I appreciate your assistance and hope to contact you before I take my car to any shop again. Meanwhile, I left my car at the mechanic's shop, reported the shop to BBB by requesting a refund of the total paid to the shop, requested that the shop purchases the car because I cannot trust what they have done, and honestly scared to the point of having sleepless nights on this issue. I cannot take the car from the shop because I am so afraid.

Okay hopefully they will refund your money or purchase the car from you . Im here if you need me as well. All you have to do is post back on this post when needed. The post remains open as long as you need me even after you rate my service.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Sound great that I can always connect with you again, Ron. I am highly impressed at your expertise. Thanks and have a great day.

Your very welcome and thank you as well. Please take a moment to rate my service so I can get credit for my time, the question remains open for follow up even after doing so, all you need to do is return to this question if need be.

Thank you again.

Ron and 7 other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
In your expert experience, what damages could a serpentine belt that just got replaced but got cut off cause on a car? Thanks.

How long was the car ran once the belt came off?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
About 5 miles
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
The belt actually cut off.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
The same day it was replaced. Just after driving from the mechanic's shop.

With no drive belt you would loose power steering as well as the alternator would stop charging. As far as damage there should really not be any damage from loosing the belt.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
how could the timing belt, harmonic balance, head gasket, and head gasket cover require replacement after the serpentine belt broke the same day it was replaced? All the mentioned parts had no issue when I took my car to the mechanic.

No none of these parts should have been damage simply by loosing the belt.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Help me to understand, Ron. Is the response here incorrect? See: When a radiator fan belt breaks, the entire car engine can cease to work. A dead battery is a high possibility. In addition, the break may cause serious damage to the alternator, radiator, steering pump and other parts the belt controls. While some older cars have radiator fan belts, most modern cars have a serpentine belt, which serves the same function but controls many more engine parts. This is from

Your 2004 Civic has an electronic cooling fan and it not turned by the belt. The water pump is turned by the timing belt and not the drive belt, the drive belt turn the power steering pump and the alternator and a broken drive belt will not damage either.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I see. So, can you logically tell me how the serpentine belt replacement escalated to consequent problems (replacing the harmonic balancer, timing belt, grinding the head gaskets, and replacing the head gasket cover)? Just curious because it does not make any sense to me. Kindly make me understand. Thanks.

I do not see how a broken drive belt could lead to needing all this new work since you had no problem before the belt broke. Sounds very fishy to me.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
That is what my anguish is all about. Thanks again, Ron. I guess I need a lawyer to follow up with the mechanic because I do not comprehend why I had to pay for parts that were not damaged before the serpentine belt was replaced. Thanks again.

That may very well be a good idea. Something is not right here for sure.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thanks. Have a great weekend.

Your very welcome and thank you as well.