It’s difficult to ignore strange noises coming from your car — after all, a strange noise could indicate something’s wrong that needs to be fixed. If you hear a squealing or whining noise coming from under the hood of your car, trust your instincts and let us take a look at it at All Phase Auto Repair. On this page, our service team have gathered a list of four things that are most likely to cause these obnoxious noises. Your car has a lot of accessories under the hood that are attached to the engine by a rubber belt — and this belt and the pulleys it loops around can start to squeak or squeal if they become damaged.
1. ALTERNATOR WHINE
The belt-driven alternator found under the hood of most modern cars can wear out over time. Its job is to take power developed by the engine and convert it into usable electricity for your car’s electronics and for recharging the car’s battery. If the bearings inside wear out, the alternator can make a high-pitched whining noise. And if you have any improperly grounded wires, you might actually hear the alternator whine through the stereo. If you’re hearing a persistent, high-pitched whine that also affects the car’s electronics and stereo, you may need the alternator bearings replaced or an entirely new alternator.
2. WORN DRIVE BELT
The alternator is one of several accessories under the hood that are typically belt-driven on your car. These drive belts are built to last for tens of thousands of miles, but their rubber construction means they’ll grow brittle, stretch and crack over time. That means your drive belts may need to be replaced as they wear out and start to make noise. And if you have any oil leaks in the engine, the belts could become glazed with oil, causing them to slip and squeak. Luckily, installing a new belt is a fast and easy process for the pros in our service center at All Phase Auto Repair.
3. WORN PULLEY BEARINGS
If the belt itself isn’t to blame, the squeaking noise you’re dealing with might be due to bad pulleys. Any damage to these parts can cause a loud whining noise, as these parts spin rapidly any time the engine is running.
If the pulley bearings are worn out on any of your accessories, they’ll need to be replaced to get them working quietly again. Some of the accessories under the hood of your car that may be belt-driven include the power-steering pump, water pump, A/C compressor and alternator.
4. BAD BELT TENSIONERS
Older cars needed to have the belt tension manually adjusted periodically, as the belts stretched over time, to keep the right tension on the belt so the accessories run smoothly and quietly. However, today’s modern cars feature automatic belt tensioners. As the belt begins to stretch, the tensioner automatically tightens to compensate. After a long enough time, these tensioners can start to wear out. They can be pushed to their limits by a belt that’s really stretched out, or the bearings inside can wear out and cause noise. If the belt and pulleys are all working as intended, but we still hear a squeaking noise, we recommend checking the tensioners and having them replaced if they’re rattling, squealing or whining.