squealing from the engine bay

Hi guys,<o:p></o:p>

I have a quick question
and hope someone could help me…<o:p></o:p>

When leaving work today i
started my car and it gave the most horrendous squealing from the engine
bay I quickly drove off to avoid embarrassment but it continued until reaching about 30mph (3-4th gear) then disappeared… and didn’t some
back. it was so loud people were turning around to see what it was…<o:p></o:p>

Does anyone have any
ideas what that is?!?!?! :(<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>


<o:p> </o:p>

 Check your drive belts

 Alternator belt or power steering pump belt?

  Regards  Geoff Peace.

Thanks for the replys

I’m not very mechanically minded… (still learning) what would a worn belt look/feel like? 


Sqealing as you describe! Plus if the alternator drive belt you may not be charging your battery properly. With the ignition off and the keys oput, you might be able to turn the alternator by hand. If that is the case then it might not be a simple adjustment, since many modern cars have a spring-loaded tensioner of some sort. If the belt has worn then all the adjustment gets taken up and hey presto, the tension is insufficient and the belt slips!

Having said all that - I’m not familiar with these cars, but every car I’ve had (well, almost every one) that has a cambelt, the cambelt drives the water pump. And if the water pump is about to seize it can destroy the cambelt. And on some engines you then have a disproportionate bill 'cos the valve gear can get chewed or valves hit pistons etc which is not good news. So if you are not that mechanically minded I’d get a mechanic to have a look and see if the cambelt is being worn away …

 Don’t panic it may not be as bad as it sounds. I’ve only had a ‘5’ for 18 months but as soon as the cold weather came last winter mine squealed every time from cols but soon wnr silent. As the weather warmed up it disappeared completely only to come back on frosty mornings this winter and still doing it. Looking around the forum posts there seems to be a tendency for the belt to squeal in the cold without it being a problem. My way of thinking is that if it was a real problem with the belt it would do it all of the time cold weather or not.

Thank you so much for the replys guys. it had a cambelt change with water pump plus tentioners 15,000 miles ago, so hope its still good in there!


Interesting point about the cold weather!

 Check the tension of the belts.  You say you are not very mechanicaly minded, so.  The alternator belt also drives the water pump and is the one on the left as you stand in front of the car facing it.   Press on the top opf the belt midway between the pulleys with firm thumb pressure keeping it square and measure how far you can press it down, same with the power steering pump belt,(the one on the right).  Deflection should be 6 -7.5mm. (alternator belt)  9 - 10mm. steering pump belt.  if greater than this they need tightening,  if tension is OK they are worn and new belts are rquired.

      Regards   Geoff Peace.

Thanks for the info Geoff,

Looking through the service history it has recently had a cambelt, with waterpump and tensioners… Are these tensioners part of the belts?

The alternator belt and steering pump belt are both perfect in tension. 

Looks like I need new belts if this sound continues… is it an easy job?

Does the screech get worse if you have the lights/heater on? If so, check the tension of the fan (alternator) belt, if ok, give it a quick squirt of “Belt Slip” and all should be well.

No more noisy if I have
fans or lights on. Earlier it went silent as soon as I dipped the clutch, then
drove off and made the noise again. only for about 30sec then stopped. I had to
pull over the noise was so loud. at the beginning… :frowning: Would belt slip sort
this out?<o:p></o:p>

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 Firstly, the tensioners you mention, tension the cambelt, nothing to do with other belts.  Secondly it sounds to me as if your belts are worn and the pulleys are not driving from the side of the V sections as they should they are trying to drive from the bottom of the V and will squeel.  New belts are the answer.

     Regards  Geoff Peace.

This sounds like it may be clutch related. If the noise stops when the clutch pedal is depressed and starts again as you pull away it wont be belt related. If you are in the AA or RAC, then give them a ring from somewhere and they will send a mechanic out who will tell you what the problem is, this will be an unbiased opinion, so when you arrive at your local garage, you will already know what the fault is.

Hi Gary, The sound starts when i first start the car but dissappears at a certain speed/time i’m going to take a good look at the belts tomorrow. is it a simple thing to change? Or will i be having to find someone in the bristol/bath area to fit it for me?

Thats mental! mine started squeeling last night. Easy fix mate, just have the alternator belts changed. Smile

It’s a really easy job to change the “vee” belt, also known as the “fan” or “alternator” belt.



Have fun.

Haha it must be the temperature!

Looked at the belts and they don’t look that bad so just gave it a tighten… looks like it might be a bit loose after all. If this works then great if not i will end up changing it!