The other day, I stalled the engine on my Vauxhall Insignia. The car restarted OK. However, I soon realized that the power steering was completely gone.
The steering wheel became difficult to turn.
After the power steering failed, the steering wheel on my car became incredibly difficult to turn. As a result, it took a lot of time and effort to navigate the Insignia into a free parking spot. Let’s just say that it was one of the best workouts I’ve had in a while!
Service battery charging system.
As I attempted to move my car into a parking spot, a warning began to flash on my Insignia’s dashboard. This warning told me that I needed to service the battery charging system on my vehicle.
Alternator belt / Serpentine belt.
Eventually, it was discovered that my alternator belt had slipped off. This particular belt is also referred to as a “serpentine belt.”
In case you didn’t already know, an alternator charges the car battery and powers the electrical systems while the engine is running. Because the belt had failed, both the alternator and the hydraulic power steering system in my car had also failed. This also led to the “service battery charging system” warning that I saw on my dashboard.
Unfortunately for me, there was no quick fix. Although we were able to get the belt back into place, we eventually discovered that the alternator belt tensioner was out of whack and that the belt kept slipping as a result. This left me with no other option but to get the car towed to the nearest garage.
Note that it is not a great idea to drive without a working serpentine belt. If you continue to drive without the belt, your engine could overheat and seize your motor (water pump failure) or your battery will simply die (because it is not being charged by the alternator).