Imagine driving on one of our many B.C. highways this summer and suddenly losing both power steering and braking. That is what happened to my family and me, just a few minutes after driving through the treacherous Fraser Canyon on Hwy. 97 on route to Vancouver. After having our disabled van towed to a service station in Hope, we were informed that our serpentine belt literally disintegrated.
Fortunately, the terrifying loss of control happened on a straightaway, rather than on one of the canyon’s sharp turns. The lesson is that we shouldn’t just wait for visible cracks in our serpentine belts, but rather replace them as often as recommended by the manufacturer of our vehicles; this can be at least every 80,000 kilometers. Not doing so could be a matter of life or death.