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Q: While on the interstate, displays lit up and steering locked

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While on the interstate yesterday, the info screen displayed with the following message: Power System Failure - Urgent Service Needed. Then the battery light came on, as did the small red exclamation mark “!” that is in the middle of the gauges. The drive belt appeared to be loose and there were small rubber-like shavings (reinforced like a belt) all around the compartment that is directly above the alternator. The car did go down and when it did all lights came on and the power steering locked; I could hardly manage to get out of traffic. Very dangerous! Is this just a belt that needs replacement or is it something more serious?

The engine peripherals that are driven by the belt need to be checked to make sure that they are all able to rotate without issue. If the engine peripherals check out okay, then the belt can be replaced and this will likely correct the issue.

If there are any issues with a drive belt component and its ability to rotate, replacing the belt will not help. You may want to enlist the help of a mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who will have the expertise to access the drive belt system, and can diagnose both your warning light issue and steering problem.

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