In case you're wondering, here's what happens when the belt breaks:
- First, the power steering goes out. When this happens, the car does not simply revert to the old fashioned manual steering. It goes to what might be called, gorilla-on-steroids steering.
- Fortunately, I didn't have too long to worry about the first thing, because the second thing that happens is that the warning light for the battery-recharging system comes on. Pulling over and flipping frantically through the owner's manual, I found where it said whatever you do, don't turn the car off, because you may not be able to start it up again.
- Next, having made the decision not to turn the car off, I looked at the dashboard and found the engine overheat light had now come on. Flipping frantically through the owner's manual, I found where it said whatever you do, turn the car off. I don't know much about that battery-charging stuff, but even I know engine overheating is not a positive development. In the ignition on-or-off contest, fear of engine exploding beats fear-of-charging-battery every time. Besides, had I kept the car running, who knows how many more warning lights would have lit?
The car is still at the mechanic's as I write this. It should be done soon. ("Soon" here being a euphemism for "was supposed to be done over two hours ago.) It's about seven years old. My hope has always been to have a car that lasts ten years. I haven't made it yet (my first two cars lasted eight and seven years, respectively) so I'm keeping my fingers crossed this one will work out. It's not that I like driving old cars. It's that I like not making car payments.