If you find yourself stranded on the side of the road because of a broken fan belt, you may wonder if there is anything you can do to get yourself and your vehicle safely to a mechanic's shop. If so, use the following three-step guide for temporarily fixing the problem in an emergency using a pair of pantyhose.
Step 1: Inspect The Fan Belt
The first step is to inspect the fan belt to see if it is what is causing your car's trouble. It is possible you may not see the belt at all if it has broken off completely. If this is the case, go on to the third step in this guide.
If the belt is still in place, look for any tears or rips in the belt. You may also find that the belt has completely slipped off of the pulleys.
If the belt appears to be intact, you may have another issue with your engine. If this is the case, you will need to call an auto service nearby to see if they have a mobile mechanic who can come out and repair it for you.
However, if you have determined the problem is the fan belt, go on to the next step.
Step 2: Remove The Broken Belt
After inspecting the fan belt and finding out it is the problem, the next step is to remove the broken belt. If the belt has already broken off completely, go on to the next step. If not, continue with this step.
If the belt has ripped more than halfway across, you may be able to pull on it to break it the rest of the way. However, do not pull too hard because this could knock the pulleys out of alignment. After tugging on it without success, use a pair of scissors or knife to cut it the rest of the way. Use a sawing motion to make it easier to penetrate the thick rubber.
If the belt is torn less then halfway through, you may need to remove it by loosening the pulleys enough to pull it off. However, since this involves tools you may not have, you could also try cutting the fan belt as discussed in the previous paragraph.
If you are unable to cut it off, you may want to contact a service that provides a mobile mechanic to come out and do the job for you. If you are able to remove the fan belt, go on to the next step.
Step 3: Replace The Belt With Pantyhose
While this step uses a pair of pantyhose to use as a makeshift fan belt, any stretch fabric may work. The stretchiness gives the material enough tension to grip the pulleys, allowing them to turn enough to keep your motor and wheels moving.
Open the legs of the pantyhose and twist them into a consistent thickness. Then, wrap them around the pulleys twice, pulling them as tight as you can without ripping them.
Once you have them wrapped around the pulleys, use your finger to press down in the center to make sure they are taut. There should be very little give to them. Once you have the proper tension, tie the ends together in a tight knot.
Start your car to test the temporary belt. You may hear or feel the motor missing, but it should run enough to get you to where you need to go to have the vehicle repaired.
The above fix is only meant to get you on the road for a short time until you can get to safety. However, if you do not have anything to temporarily replace your fan belt with or do not feel comfortable making the repairs yourself, you may want to see if an auto service nearby provides a mobile mechanic. They could then come to your location and make the necessary repairs for you wherever you are.