You are probably familiar with your cars quirks and sounds. There’s a certain way it purrs when you turn the key and start the engine. You know what each of the warning chimes indicate. When it makes a sound you don’t recognize, however, it’s important to find the source. Ignoring a squealing sound in your vehicle can have disastrous results. Here are three potential causes of that new noise.
Brakes that work well are vital to your safety behind the wheel. Healthy brakes allow you to slow down and stop the car to avoid collisions and other accidents. If you notice a squealing sound when you apply your foot to the pedal, this is a sign that you need disc or drum brake repair. A neglected squeak can quickly turn into a grinding metal sound, and then you know that brake pad failure is imminent. To keep yourself and your passengers safe, don’t ignore any repetitive squeaks that happen when you hit the brakes.
Your alternator is an important component of your vehicle. It connects your battery to your engine, generating power to make the engine run and using some of that power to recharge the battery. This process causes a lot of friction, which means that over time, the parts that make up the alternator wear out. The squealing sound you hear may be a sign that the bearings in the alternator are getting old. The life span of an alternator can be anywhere from 40,000 miles to 100,000 miles, so it’s a good idea to depend on the signs that there is a problem so you can replace the alternator before it stops working completely.
You may hear a squeal as soon as you turn the car on or when you accelerate. This usually means the sound is connected to a loose or worn belt. In many cases, the timing belt is the culprit. If it turns out to be your fan belt, you will probably have to replace the timing belt, too. The problem can occur more often in colder climates, as the rubber tends to expand and retract during extreme temperature changes, stretching the belt out and causing it to become loose.
The bottom line is that you don’t want to ignore a squealing sound coming from your vehicle, no matter when you hear it. Whether the sound happens when you start the car, accelerate the car or try to stop the car, you must diagnose the problem and get it fixed quickly.