This broken bolt is the reason for Sunday’s car failure. When it broke the serpentine belt tensioner came free, likely becoming lodged somewhere, and causing the car to cease working. Because the bolt broke off flush with the engine block and was in a particularly hard to reach place, the engine had to be lowered 2″, the bolt drilled, and then the bolt removed with an easy out / screw extractor.
As a result there was $187.54 in labor to fix the problem, with the bolt, new serpentine belt, and other misc parts only being $78.01. With the $100 for towing, this failure cost just under $400, which I guess isn’t too bad. It’s a bit frustrating that this comes only two weeks after paying my car off (early), but timing on this is really very random.
The guy at the shop (Shelby Tire) said they spent a while trying to figure out the cause of the broken bolt, but the AC compressor, power steering pump, and all other devices connected to the serpentine belt seemed fine, including the tensioner. The only cause he could figure was that the bolt was weak (or failing) and the AC kicked on just as the power steering kicked in, and the extra load on the belt snapped things. As I was turning a corner out of a parking lot having just turned the AC on when the problem happened, this makes sense. Hopefully it won’t happen again.
(This is also the first RAW photo that I’ve processed in the newly released / installed Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3. One of its new features is markedly improved sharpening, and I must agree that it’s much better. After all, just check out those knurls on the screw head.)