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Well, I've done it again. First, I've shifted my car into reverse at 85mph. That was scary - but the car survived.

Now, the serpetine belt snapped while I was hammering down an on-ramp.

I live in Colorado, and I often use the transmission to help slow the car down going over hills and steep grades. I was hungry for some McD's, but the one closest to me has a steep off-ramp there on the local highway. So I downshift into 2nd, like I always do going down this off-ramp, and I must've gotten distracted or something because I never shifted back into drive...

As I headed back home from the fast food restaurant, I hammered the mighty Impala SS down the on-ramp to get back on the highway, completely forgetting that I wasn't in Drive and that I was still in 2nd gear.

Since I was driving in a straight line and focused on traffic ahead, I didn't think to look down at my dash. It wasn't until I came upon a semi truck to overpass that I realized my power steering had cut off. I then looked down at my dash and saw every single warning light turned on, the whole dash lit up like a Christmas Tree and the on-board display was flashing 100 different messages at me a second (TURNING A/C OFF - ENGINE OVERHEATED, CHECK STABILITRAK SYSTEM, CHECK TRACTION CONTROL SYSTEM, CHECK ABS SYSTEM, LET ENGINE IDLE, PULL OVER I think were among the different messages I saw).

OH NO! I then realize I'm STILL in 2nd gear after romping on the accelerator to some unmentionable speed and at this point I think I over-revved the engine. My temp gauge was definitely in the red, but it wasn't exactly pinned all the way up. So I shift into Drive, thinking this will cool the engine down.

Then I did a cardinal sin...

I chose to drive the car as far as I could, not realizing the severity of the situation. Another message flashed across the on-board display, "ENTERING POWER SAVING MODE, PERFORMANCE REDUCED."

As I exited and began to look for a place to pull off to the side of the road, the car eventually died. I didn't notice any smoke or steam coming out from under the hood, but I did hear a gurgling sound - which I later found out was my coolant boiling.

I popped the hood to inspect the engine, and that's when I found my belt completely shredded. This was not a gear related issue, this was a belt issue, which I quickly deduced was caused by the power steering leak.

I ended up revving the engine to some ungodly RPM and of course my serpentine belt came unraveled. Here's the thing about my belt... over the last few months, I've been meaning to replace my power steering pump because it has an awful leak that drips all over the belt. Of course, the belt then flings power steering fluid all over the place in my engine bay.

Needless to say, the consequences of my procrastination finally caught up with me.

I got a ride home, called a tow truck, and had it dropped off at the nearest GM certified mechanic (which according to Google there was only ONE in town). Luckily, my family keeps a loaner vehicle so I was able to get to/from work easily.

4 days and $1,080 dollars later my Impala was released back to me good as new. They replaced the pump, belt, oil, coolant, did a multi-point inspection, and even performed a recall on the ignition, and some other things. The mechanic said that the engine hit a maximum temperature of 283 degrees but was confident that the car's automatic shutdown saved the engine from any significant damage - but of course you don't really know until you inspect the internals.

The car will automatically turn itself off, but before it does that it will go into a "reduced power mode" so that you can safely pull over.

Now the car runs amazing again, but I've definitely held back in my spirited driving. It feels great to finally get a lot of its issues addressed all in one shot - although it sucks it had to happen on such a beautiful day. It feels like a new car again, without that power steering pump howling away... and no more leaks!

But there you go... yet another staggering failure I can contribute to the forums! Hope it was informative/interesting. Thanks for reading.

:devil
 

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Man, that's unfortunate. I can't say which is worse, your ordeal, or my $2000 oil change :laughing7:

At least you had the safety net of the engine/transmission saving themselves. Going forward, I'd just leave the thing in 'D'. Load/wear on your brakes is definitely easier and cheaper to deal with than load/wear on your engine and gearbox.

Remember to inspect (or have inspected) the belt during oil changes, and since you do a lot of downhill braking, make sure the ventilation in the front rotors is not constricted by rusty vanes. You might want to consider moving to the 12.7" front brakes, for just a tad of added fade resistance.
 

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That was an expensive mc d's trip. Honestly at only a grand for paid repairs for what could have been a very bad situation I think you came out lucky. Usually by the time the dummy lights light up there is potential for damage.

Changed the serpentine belt on our 2012 with 3.6 at around 100,000 miles. The original was fine, BUT my wife was driving a LOT and last thing I needed was to have a belt cause her a breakdown somewhere, gave us a spare belt to keep in the trunk for emergency use.
 
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