My friend has been driving her 07 Hyundai elantra for 2 or 3 weeks with no a/c. When I hooked up a recharge kit it didn't give a reading, so I looked to see if the a/c compressor clutch was kicking on. I immediately noticed a pulley(middle-rear of engine on passenger side)with no belt on it. I managed to pull out a frayed piece of a broken belt from underneath the car. Am I correct in deducing that the belt couldn't be responsible for the a/c not blowing cold and could not have been broken for this long and the car still be running, and that rather a failed a/c compressor caused the belt to coincidentally break sometime no earlier than yesterday, considering she has already driven at least 30 miles today to get to me? Is she damaging her car further driving with no belt? How much does the replacement belt cost?
My car has an automatic transmission.
A missing AC belt can certainly be the reason the AC is not working. The compressor needs to be spinning for the system to provide cold air. With no belt to connect the compressor to the engine, no cold air.
Driving with no AC belt connected will do no damage to the AC compressor itself. Also, the AC belt is not responsible for driving anything else like the alternator, power steering, or water pump.
The bigger question is why did the belt break? What was the age of the bely? Was it a seized AC compressor?
Have the AC belt replaced by a qualified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic.
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