We were several hundred miles from home this week in the 99 Jeep Grand Cherokee and were leaving a town in Texas for a seaside park about 20 miles out. I noticed my power steering going out as we were on top of an Intracoastal waterway bridge. By the time we were at the end of the bridge the engine was also getting very hot. I pulled over at the bottom of the bridge to see my serpentine fan belt was gone. Fortunately my GPS not only showed the closest auto parts stores but also had phone numbers for them (Garmin Nuvi 1200). I tried calling Autozone to see if I could get someone to bring a belt to us. They said they could not. I asked if they might have an off duty employee I could pay to bring it out but they said they could not.
I decided to try O'Reilly's to see if anyone could bring one out. I talked to a gentleman at O'Reilly's who said he would bring one out for us. I offered to pay for bringing out but he declined to take pay. We were at the far side of the bridge from town where it was an exceptionally warm day and there is a serious problem at that location with mosquitoes. We were baking hot in the humid conditions, could not run the air conditioning and could not stand outside without getting a lot of bites. As it was I had over a dozen bites just checking out the car. Most rabid mosquitoes I've ever been around.
In about a half hour the O'Reilly's manager showed up with the belt AND he offered to help me put it on! As soon as he looked at the engine he said I wouldn't be going anywhere even if we replaced the belt. He pointed out the tensioner pulley which had been melted and destroyed. So he offered to go back to get that also and returned with both the belt and tensioner setup! Wow! Over the top customer service! He then helped me install it and made sure things were good to go before leaving.
This manager was a real saviour considering the situation and location. I'm in my sixties and there was no real services beyond that bridge and walking back over that high and long bridge (very low sides on the bridge also) to town would have been dangerous and probably beyond reason for me. I checked later at another O'Reilly's to see if that was policy to do something like this. I was told it is against policy for them to do that so I don't know if anyone else will have the same experience in a similar situation but I certainly thank there is at least one exceptional O'Reilly's manager who was willing go against policy to help out a fellow human being.
As far as the mechanical part of this situation I question why the tensioner setup has a plastic wheel (pulley). I believe it was that plastic wheel going bad that actually destroyed the fan belt. It seems if it had been metal that none of this would have happened. I had that belt off just a few months before this when I had to replace the electric radiator fan motor and the belt appeared to be in good shape.
Thank you Carroll !!!