This morning a customer called me and said her Chevy Impala was acting up. She told me the charge light came on and the dash lights started flashing. I first I thought maybe it was the alternator that was causing the problem…until she said her power steering went out. When i questioned her about that, she said that it became very hard to steer. Aahh…a light went off in my head! Now I knew…the serpentine belt had come off. She immediately agreed to have it towed over.
When the car got here I popped open the hood, and sure enough, the belt had come off. Now I needed to ascertain why… I figured one of the pulleys seized up. It turned out the water pump had seized and stopped turning and that caused the belt to flip. Of course, when that happened, the alternator stopped turning, causing the charge light and the dash lights to go all wonky. The power steering pump stopped turning as well, causing the steering wheel to become very hard to turn. Suddenly, the car became nearly impossible to drive so she shut it off.
Good thinking on her part. If she had continued to run the car, it would have overheated due to the water pump gone bad.
We went ahead and replaced the water pump and the serpentine belt and filled the system with fresh coolant. The car is back to normal now and runs great.