What Causes My Engine To Squeal?

We believe that safety is the most important feature of a car and the #1 safety feature is having good working brakes.

What Causes My Engine To Squeal?

Although a squealing engine has multiple causes, a bad or failing serpentine belt is the most common. The serpentine belt, or drive belt, plays a crucial role in a car engine. The belt drives many engine accessories, including the alternator and power steering pump. Therefore, when a serpentine belt goes wrong, these accessories stop working. Do you have a bad or failing serpentine belt? An unmistakable sign is that the squealing comes from the vehicle’s front end and continues while you drive. Belt squeaking is also particularly pronounced when accelerating, on startup, and making a U-turn. The noise is loud, like a squeal, chirp, or squeak. Alternatively, if your vehicle squeals when braking, it is likely a brake issue rather than the belt. Call our Advantec Auto Repair team for an inspection in San Diego.

Does My Belt Need Replaced?

A lousy belt is easy to notice. You’ll hear a loud, high-pitched squealing as soon as you start your car engine. Furthermore, when you accelerate suddenly, the squealing gets even worse. On rainy days or during the hot, humid summer months in San Diego, you may notice your car squealing more often. Unfortunately, a bad or failing belt usually doesn’t turn the check engine light on. Therefore, you’ll want to watch for all the signs and symptoms. Other noticeable issues of a bad or failing serpentine belt may include:
  • Difficult Steering – The serpentine belt drives your car’s power steering pump in many vehicles. If the obnoxious squealing is more pronounced when turning, this may be due to a faulty belt. If the defective belt fails, you will lose power steering, and turning the wheel will be more challenging. It can be very hazardous if you’re driving at high speeds
  • Battery Light – The serpentine belt also drives your car’s alternator. The alternator uses the power generated to charge your car’s battery. Therefore, a failing belt may trigger a low battery light in your vehicle. When the belt fails, your car’s battery will die faster.
  • Car Overheating – In some vehicles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump is essential for cooling the engine, so if your car running hot, your belt may be failing. Your vehicle will likely overheat if your cars belt fails.
  • AC Problems – Your car’s air conditioning system uses the serpentine belt to run smoothly. Therefore, you might notice the chirping starts when you turn the AC on. The squeal will be significantly pronounced when accelerating with the air conditioning on.

Is It Safe For Me To Drive With A Squealing Belt?

When the serpentine belt breaks, the vehicle may become inoperable, requiring an expensive tow and adding to the overall repair costs. In addition, since the belt powers the power steering pump, a pressure loss could result in heavy steering, it presents a safety risk when driving. For your safety, Advantec Auto Repair recommends that you replace the serpentine belt early when you notice the first squealing symptoms.