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What is that squealing noise under my car hood?

Common car noises and what causes themQuestion: For the past couple weeks, I’ve been hearing a high-pitched squealing or whining noise in the engine area when I first start the car in the morning. It makes the noise on and off for the first few minutes I’m in the car–pretty much by the time I hit Milwaukee Avenue near Vernon Hills. I thought it was my serpentine belt, but I just had that replaced recently. What else could it be?

Answer:  Based on your description, it does sound like a belt noise, either your serpentine belt or another accessory drivebelt. Even though you replaced the serpentine belt recently, it may need to tightened some to put an end to the annoying squealing. If you want to stop by Auto Lab, we’ll be happy to take a complimentary look for you and tighten the belt, or if that’s not the issue, we can advise you on what other repair issue it might be.

When summer’s heat and humidity give way to fall’s cooler temperatures, it’s common for your car to suddenly start making rattling, creaking and squealing sounds. Don’t let these new noises haunt you! We can help with any noise-related auto repairs.

I’m being haunted by car noises! I want to schedule an appointment

Here are some common automotive gremlins that creep up in the fall, along with some common causes:

  • Squeaking & Creaking — Your brakes may squeak when you apply them — or when you release the brake pedal. In either case, it warrants a brake inspection before the innocent squeaking turns into a menacing metal-on-metal grinding. Another source of squeaking or creaking can be your suspension. If you hear the noises over bumps or on rough stretches of roadway, schedule an inspection for your shocks, struts and other steering and suspension components.
  • Groaning or Grinding Loud groaning or grinding noises can come from rusty rotors or, as we mentioned above, brake pads that are worn out and grinding into the brake rotor. If you’re hearing a groaning noise when turning, you might have a wheel bearing issue. This can be serious, so again, we recommend a vehicle inspection so we can get to the source of the noise for you.
  • Rattling — The good news? Many car rattles are typically a nuisance more than anything else. Loose exhaust clamps and heat shields are the typical culprits, and at Auto Lab, we can secure the clamps and tighten those shields to quiet them down. In some cases, you may hear rattling-type noises from worn suspension parts, a worn catalytic converter or even a timing chain.
  • Howling — If you have to turn up the radio to hear over the noise of the car, you need to bring your car in to Auto Lab! Imbalanced or worn tires are a common cause of howling and other unpleasant whirring noises. One telltale sign that it’s a tire issue: Do you hear it at all speeds? Does it get louder as the car picks up speed? Do you hear it “rotating”?

Have an annoying car noise you want us to diagnose and repair for you? Consult our Vehicle Noise Checklist to help us understand the type of noise, when it happens and where it’s coming from.

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