If you ever hear a loud engine squeal or screeching noise when starting your car, it could be a sign of a bad serpentine belt or an alternator that is failing. A bad alternator is the most common cause of a car that squeals when starting.Oct 27, 2020
What Makes Your Vehicle Squeal when Starting. Most of the time, the squealing is do to something called a serpentine belt. When you open your hood, it’s the incredibly long belt that winds around multiple pulleys. It connects the crankshaft to other systems like the alternator, power steering, AC, and water pump.
You start your car in the morning, and as soon as the engine fires up, you notice a loud, high-pitched squeal. … Although there are a few causes of a squealing engine, one of the most common is a bad or failing serpentine belt. The serpentine belt – or drive belt, as its also known – plays a vital role in the engine.
As these belts wear out, they can begin to squeak or squeal. They make noise because there is not enough tension on the belt, or because the pulleys are misaligned or weak. Often, simply changing the belt will make it stop squealing. The noise isn’t usually a danger, though it does sound alarming.
A bad starter’s tell-tale noise is loud clicking. It can either have a fast tempo, click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click or a slower lilt of click, click, click, click. No other part makes these noises when they fail, so if you hear either, you’re likely going to be on the hook for a brand-new starter.
The short answer is yes, your car will start even if the serpentine belt is broken or missing. To get the car going, the battery sends power to your starter motor. … However, you do need your serpentine belt if you want the car to run for longer than a few minutes.
Why Is Your Car Squealing? Loose or worn belts are a common cause of vehicle squealing. An old or failing alternator can make squealing sounds. If your car squeaks or squeals while turning the steering wheel, it’s probably the steering system.
Symptoms of a broken serpentine belt include loud slapping, squealing or knocking noises coming from under the hood. The battery-shaped charging system warning light might also come on because the alternator will stop charging the battery. … This causes the belt to start slipping from time to time.
When the tensioner or tensioner pulley fails, the loss of tension can cause the belt and pulleys to make high-pitched rattling or chirping noises. If the pulley bearing completely fails, it can also cause a squealing or even a grinding noise.
A bad alternator can prevent a car from starting because it did not charge the battery when the car was running. However, even if you have a dead battery because of the alternator, you can still jump-start the car using the following method.
If your engine won’t turn over or takes far longer than usual, it’s time to grab the jumper cables and attempt a jump-start. If your engine starts and stays running but won’t start again later, it’s likely a battery problem. If your vehicle immediately stalls, it’s probably a bad alternator.
If you hear a small rattling or grinding sound when your engine is running, this could be caused by a loose bearing in your alternator. Conversely, if you hear a constant high whine while you are driving, this is usually a sign that your alternator is failing to distribute the necessary power throughout your vehicle.
If you hear a whine or the sound goes fuzzy when you hit the gas, your alternator is probably failing. If the vehicle won’t crank or start but the headlights are still working, look to problems with the starter or other parts of the engine.
How Much a Starter Replacement Costs. The cost of rebuild parts for a starter can range from as little as $50 to as much as $350. A brand-new starter can range from $80 to over $350. For a qualified mechanic to replace or rebuild your starter, you can expect to pay between $150 and over $1,100.
When the starter drive gear is worn out or not engaging properly, it will often produce a grinding noise. This is similar to the one that is heard if you start your engine and then accidentally action the ignition switch again. If the grinding symptom is ignored, it may also result in damage to the engine flywheel.
A bad starter actually sounds quite a lot like a dead battery – you turn the key, and all you hear is a click. It might not be the entire starter, though – it could be a weak component known as the solenoid.
The Usual Numbers
Under ideal circumstances, you’ll get anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 miles of reliable service from a typical serpentine belt. In terms of years, it may be anywhere from 4 years to an entire decade before you’ll need to replace your serpentine belt.
If you recently added antifreeze to your radiator and spilled some on your belt, it can quickly cause a squealing sound. The same is true if any part of your cooling system is leaking, as the engine fan can blow small amounts of coolant back onto the belt itself.
If a serpentine belt is broken, it can lead to a sudden loss of power assist for the steering system. … This happens because the serpentine belt keeps the water pump circulating coolant, also known as antifreeze, through the cooling system. This means that the engine can overheat anywhere, including the highway.
A squealing noise could be from a lack of tension between the belt and pulleys. Worn belt ribs and a misaligned belt can result from an improper installation that can cause an annoying chirping sound. Timing belts are known to occasionally have a ticking sound as well that can stem from low engine oil or other issues.
The replacement cost of an alternator belt is typically between $100 and $200. The part cost is between $25 and $80 while the labor cost is between $75 and $120. The true replacement cost will depend on how long it takes the mechanic to access your alternator belt.
An alternator’s bearings can become worn and create noises, including a squeal. … To test for worn bearings, remove the belt and turn the pulley by hand. If noises are heard or the pulley does not turn smoothly, the bearings are worn and the alternator should be replaced.
When the tensioner or tensioner pulley fails, the loss of tension can cause the belt and pulleys to make high-pitched rattling or chirping noises. If the pulley bearing completely fails, it can also cause a squealing or even a grinding noise. Symptom 2: Knocking or slapping. … This can cause a slapping or knocking noise.
Listen for a metallic sound that resembles a rattling or scrapping noise. The sound can be intermittent or constant, but it will be a metal to metal contact. … If you hear a rattle, metal to metal slapping or scraping coming from inside the cover, it indicates a timing chain noise.
You will pay somewhere between $125 and $380 to have your tensioner pulley replaced. The labor should run between $45 and $155, while parts can cost as little as $85 or as much as $225.
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