Sorry for a really OT post. My 3.5L 2006 Pontiac G6 V6 started rattling as I drove up a mountain tonight. I'm pretty sure it's the serpentine belt. I'm wondering if the MGoMechanics that've helped people out in the past can give me some advice.
From what I can gather online, the problem is likely to be either the belt itself or the tensioner. At least, these are the first things to replace to see if the noise goes away. What I can't figure out is how hard this is to do on my particular car. Is this something that can be tackled in a few hours by an amateur on this car, or should I just pay to have it replaced?
Also, I'm on said mountain, so I have to get down it to get to either a parts store or a repair shop. Is engine braking with a worn serpentine belt (if that's what it is) a particularly stupid idea? I.e., does engine braking put additional stress on the serpentine belt or related components, or is it all internal to the pistons/engine block/whatever? I'd rather not ride my brakes to get down since the pads are kind of low (planning on replacing them when I get home from this trip), but I'm guessing that having the rotors turned is cheaper than having the engine rebuilt.
Finally, I'd probably have to get up the mountain again to do the repair in the parking lot of the place I'm staying, unless it's so easy that I can do it in a parts store's parking lot. Is a rattle a sign of impending breakage, so that trying to come back up the mountain would be a bad idea, or is it a pretty early sign of trouble that can be safely ignored for a little while?
Thanks in advance for any advice, and sorry again for the OT post.
Kind of less OT: one of the nearby peaks is called Mount Wolverine.