Have you started experiencing a high-pitched squeal from car when moving? Well, if that is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be quite a lot to cover on this topic. We are going to learn all the possible causes and how to tackle the problem quickly and effectively.
Learning how to solve problems should be one of your top priorities for you as a car owner. Why we are saying this? Well, because it is true. Knowing how to diagnose problems in your car will save you thousands in the long run.
Some mechanics tend to misdiagnose stuff and will make you replace a ton of components until they solve the problem accordingly and this could hurt your wallet pretty badly. You could end up spending hundreds of dollars on things that are easily repairable than spending only a fraction of the money if you decide to diagnose the problem by yourself. And we are going to help you out when it comes to tackling the issue.
First, we are going to elaborate more on the problem of high-pitched squeal from car when moving. Then we will cover some situations when you could be noticing this type of sound as well as the causes for the high-pitched squeal from car when moving and how to diagnose the problem. As well as the costs involved in this type of work. So, if you want to learn more, follow along because there will be quite a lot to cover.
Why Is There A High-Pitched Squeal From Car When Moving
Now before we dive into the situations and causes when you experience high-pitched squeal from car when moving. Let’s take a look at what is this issue in general. Let’s make a proper definition of it for the people that are still rather confused about whether it is a squeal or a squeak.
A high-pitched squeal from car when moving is an audible representation of a problem in your car. You are probably used to the usual type of work on your car. And when something squeals or hisses, it means that this is not good and you definitely need to react when it comes to this issue and make sure that you tackle the problem as soon as possible.
Especially when it comes to high-pitched sounds that are produced by the engine when the car is moving. When the car is moving, there shouldn’t be noises such as this and this sound says that you have a problem with your engine precisely.
More on what exactly could be causing the issue, we are going to elaborate later on in the article after we discuss the other situations.
The important thing is that when you notice a high-pitched squeal from car when moving it is important that you don’t panic. Squealing sounds are not dangerous as they seem. Mainly because these are created by accessory components that are outside of the engine and not inside of the engine. But more on that in a bit. Let’s now take a look at the other situations when you experience this type of problem.
Situations As You Hear High-Pitched Squeal From Car When Moving
Now let’s take a look at the situations when you get a high-pitched squeal. We know about the situation when you have a high-pitched squeal from car when moving. But there are also a few other situations that are worth covering.
So, in the following chapters, we are going to elaborate more on these situations when you notice this type of noise in your car and make some assumptions about what could be causing it. Then we will cover the causes of this high-pitched squeal from car when moving.
Squealing Noise When Starting The Car
The first situation when you notice a high-pitched sound from car is when you start up the car. Imagine that you want to go to work early in the morning and you turn the key and the car starts producing a squealing sound.
Usually, the sound is stronger at first and then after you drive the car a bit, it smoothens up. But a couple of minutes will pass until the sound disappears and this can be rather frustrating to deal with every time you start the engine.
But the important thing is not to panic since the sound is coming from the front of the engine. More precisely the drive belt. Later on, we are going to elaborate more on this, now let’s move on to the next situation.
Squealing Noise When Accelerating
And the next situation when you experience a high-pitched squeal from car when moving is when you accelerate. So, why is this the case?
This is the case because this sound is often exacerbated when the car starts to move faster. The higher the RPM on the car, the stronger these noises will become and the more frustrating you will become.
This is often the case then the belt is probably worn out and loose. Later on, we are going to further elaborate more on this after we finish with the scenarios when you experience noises such as this in your car.
Squealing Noise When Driving
Now let’s move on to the high-pitched squeal when moving or driving. This is often the case because there is a problem with the belt as well.
The faster you drive, the sound should more or less disappear. These squealing noises often occur when you drive at smaller speeds. Usually below 30 miles per hour. So, why is this the case?
Well, this is actually the case because the car when gets up to speed, the crankshaft spins faster, and somewhat this allows the belt not to create a lot of noise in the process.
But if you reduce your speed and try to accelerate, then this sound will again start to appear until your car gets up to speed. So, beware of this. Later on, after we cover the high-pitched squeal from car when moving causes, we are going to elaborate more on the causes. But for now, let’s cover the last situation when this problem appears.
Squealing Noise When Turning
Another situation when you experience a squealing noise when the car is when you turn the wheel. So, why is this the case?
This problem is not caused by the same causes for the high-pitched squeal from car when moving. This is often caused by a bad power steering pump. Yes, that’s right, the power steering pump is a hydraulic pump that can fail and create a squealing sound when turning.
But this is not the goal of our article. We are only interested in the high-pitched squeal from car when moving. And this is a different issue. Still, if you have a squealing problem with the car when turning, then you definitely want to check out the power steering pump on the car. Now let’s move on to the causes of high-pitched squeal from car when moving.
Causes For High-Pitched Squeal From Car When Moving
Now let’s take a look at the probable causes of high-pitched squeal from car when moving. What are the probable reasons behind this?
In the following chapters, we are going to elaborate on all the possibilities in detail and learn more about them. And after that, we will learn how to diagnose the problem quickly and effectively. So, if you want to learn more about it, follow along.
High-Pitched Squeal From Car When Moving, Causes #1: Bad Serpentine Belt
Let’s start with the most common cause for the high-pitched squeal from car when moving. And this is the serpentine belt. This belt is also known as the accessory belt, drive belt, and alternator belt.
It has a lot of different names but it only does the same stuff. And that is powering the accessories in the car. As you probably know, in the engine, there are a lot of accessories. Namely, the AC, alternator, water pump, power steering, etc.
All these accessories need to get power from somewhere. And this belt does precisely that. It uses the rotational energy of the crankshaft to create enough momentum to power the accessories and make the engine work well.
So, the belt is routed to every accessory and each of these accessories has pulleys. Then as the belt is spun, the accessories start to function.
This belt unfortunately can start to crack and has tears on it. So, when this happens, it becomes a bit loose. And since the belt is loose, you basically have alternator belt squeal or power steering squealing, or high-pitched squeal from car when moving.
Either way, this is not good. And this often happens because people skip the replacement of these components. A belt on average lasts for 60,000 miles. Once it surpasses this mileage, it can become loose and start to create squealing noises.
So, when it comes to diagnostics, this is the first component that you want to check out. But more on the diagnostics, we are going to cover later on where we are going diagnose the high-pitched squeal from car when moving.
High-Pitched Squeal From Car When Moving, Causes #2: Bad Alternator Pulley
The second very common cause for the high-pitched squeal from car when moving is the bad alternator pulley (which could be confirmed if you learn how to tell if your alternator is bad). So, why is this the case?
Well, the alternator is a component that generates electricity for the spark plugs to run and for combustion to be possible.
Inside the alternator, there is a stator and rotor. The rotor basically rotates around a central shaft that is installed in the center of the alternator.
And on this shaft, there are bearings that make sure that the rotor spins ideally. And what happens is that once these bearings wear off, they tend to make the shaft wobble.
The shaft wobbles and this makes the movement of the belt to be rather uneven. Causing the belt to produce high-pitched squeal from car when moving. It can also create grinding noises when the problem goes to the extreme. So, be really aware of that.
The important thing is that this is one of your primary suspects and you definitely need to take care of it quickly. Before the problem becomes even bigger. But more on this, we are going to cover later on in the article when we are going to learn how you can diagnose this problem.
High-Pitched Squeal From Car When Moving, Causes #3: Bad Idler Pulley
The next probable cause for the problem with high-pitched squeal from car when moving is the issue with the idler pulley. But what is an idler pulley?
Well, an idler pulley is a special pulley that is installed on the engine. This pulley is the same as any other pulley.
Inside there are bearings that rotate as the pulley is rotating around its shaft. But the only thing different with this type of pulley is that this pulley does not do absolutely anything.
The idler pulley is only installed on the engine by the engineers in order for them to be able to route the belt accordingly to power all the accessories.
Each engine has at least one idler pulley. Some engines even have more. It really depends on the engine design in general.
The important thing is that these pulleys have bearings inside them. And as with other pulleys, they also can fail and wobble around.
And when this wobbly pulley rotates, it can cause the serpentine belt to slip and lose its balance. When this does happen, you have a problem like in our case with the high-pitched squeal from car when moving.
So, in this case, it is important to react quickly and tackle the matter accordingly. And later on in the article, we are going to explain how this is done the right way. Now let’s move on to the other probable causes for high-pitched squeal from car when moving.
High-Pitched Squeal From Car When Moving, Causes #4: Bad Power Steering Pulley
The next probable cause for a high-pitched squeal from car when moving is the bad power steering pulley.
As with other accessories in your car, the power steering pump also runs on a pulley. Still, not all of the cars run on hydraulic power steering.
Take note that there are cars that have electric power steering that works with the help of an electric motor.
If the car that you are driving runs on a hydraulic system, then you can suspect that this is causing your car to produce high-pitched squeal from car when moving.
This pulley quite similar to other pulleys can fail and cause problems like these. So, you need to check this pulley as well.
On the power steering system usually is the pulley goes bad. Unlike the alternator where the whole shaft starts to wobble around. So, in these situations, you might be able to fix the problem with high-pitched squeal from car when moving on the cheap. Now let’s move on to the last probable cause.
High-Pitched Squeal From Car When Moving, Causes #5: Bad Serpentine Belt Tensioner
And the last probable cause for this problem with high-pitched squeal from car when moving is the bad serpentine belt tensioner.
So, what is a tensioner? Well, the tensioner simply is a component designed to keep tension on the belt. When you place the belt in its place, you need to activate the tensioner and increase the tension. If you don’t do this, the belt will fall off.
The tensioner is basically a pulley that can be tightened down. There are two types of tensioners. The first type is spring-loaded tensioners that have a spring inside them.
The second type is a hydraulic tensioner. The hydraulic tensioner has a small piston that moves in order to put the tension on the belt.
And both of them can fail. Usually, the hydraulic ones start to leak and once they start leaking, they start to create high-pitched squeal from car when moving. As well as leaks in the engine. So, if you have a leaky tensioner, you can notice it right away.
Also, if the tensioner is spring-loaded, it can be tightened with a wrench. But if the belt still loses tension, then you will have to replace it, unfortunately. And how you can diagnose this issue on your car? Well, in the following chapter, we are going to cover precisely that.
How To Diagnose This High-Pitched Squeal Sound
Now let’s take a look at how you can diagnose a high-pitched squeal from car when moving. What you can do in this case as an owner? Let’s say that the sound only appears once you accelerate. Is it possible to tell while the car is stationary from where the sound is coming? Well, yes, there are ways.
The first method is observation. Just observe how the serpentine belt moves and whether or not it has any wobbling. Monitor the pulleys in the process. If some of them wobble, then you know where to look for the problem.
Also, there is another method. And that is to cut a plastic bottle and connect the handle of a screwdriver to the bottle.
Then as the engine is running, just place the screwdriver on the side of each pulley on your engine. The one that produces noise is the one that has to be replaced. Even though it doesn’t wobble at all.
This is an old-school mechanics trick that you can try. More on how it is done you can check in the video that we attached. Also, if there is no sound from any pulley. Just tighten up the belt tensioner. The tensioner can get loose and cause a high-pitched squeal from car when moving.
How To Replace Serpentine Belt
We learned how to diagnose a high-pitched squeal noise. Now it is time to learn how you can replace a serpentine belt, the idler pulley, and the tensioner.
The procedure is rather simple. First, learn how the belt is routed and take a couple of pictures. Once you did that, next thing is to remove the tension of the belt and loosen up the tensioner. Once you did that, you can remove the belt.
Then remove the idler pulley and tensioner. Replace them with new components. Route the new belt in and tighten up the tensioner. Then you are good to go. More on how it is done can check in the video.
High-Pitched Squeal From Car When Moving: Repair Costs
When it comes to the replacement cost of the serpentine belt. We can say that it is rather inexpensive.
The average cost for the parts is about $80 or less in some cases, the labor is between $120 and $150. So, for the whole job you can expect to pay somewhere in the range of $220 or less, depending on the type of car you have and how demanding the job is.
High-Pitched Squeal From Car When Moving: In Conclusion…
In this article, we covered a lot about the high-pitched squeal from car when moving. First, we learned what this problem is all about and the situations when you can notice squealing sounds.
Then we covered the causes of high-pitched squeal from car when moving. As well as the diagnostics process and the replacement process. Lastly, we learned how expensive is to replace a serpentine belt on your car. Overall, it is rather cheap to do.
FAQs On High-Pitched Squeal From Car When Moving
Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
Why Is My Car Squeaking
Cars produce squeaking noises primarily from bad suspension components. Worn ball joints and bushings can cause this type of noise in your car. There is simply no grease on these components and they start to squeak, especially over bumps.
How To Stop A Squeaky Belt
The thing you can do is check the tensioner first and tighten it up. If the tensioner is broken, then you will have to replace it. If the problem still persists, you should check the pulleys. A quick fix for this might be some elbow grease on the belt. But we would recommend fixing the problem and not using these tricks.
What Makes A Car Loud
A lot of things can cause your car to be loud. When you press on the throttle it is normal for the car to be loud since you increase the RPM. Also, a hole in the muffler can cause your car to be loud. A bad serpentine belt can also make your car loud as well.
Why Does My Wheel Squeak When I Drive
Damaged suspension components can cause this problem. Namely, bad wheel bearings are notorious for causing this issue. Also, ball joints and bushings as well are the common causes of this problem.
Why Does My Car Whine When I Accelerate
If you have a supercharger on the car, then this whining noise is normal. But if you don’t have this type of device, then this is often caused by a bad AC compressor, bad water pump, bad alternator, bad power steering pump, etc. Usually, the accessories whine when they fail.
Why Does My Car Make A Noise When I Turn
Cars usually make noises when turning when the suspension components are damaged. More precisely the struts, ball joints, and bushings. Also, the power steering pump can cause noises when turning.
These tools have been tried and tested by our team, they are ideal for fixing your car at home.