Why is My Car Squeaking
Why is My Car Squeaking
If your car squeaks while driving or idling, it’s definitely something to look into. A car squealing can be annoying, but the noise could be indicative of a major problem. In order to prevent a problem with your vehicle from worsening, it’s important to diagnose the cause of car squeaking and have the situation handled quickly. This guide will educate you on the various reasons your car may be squeaking, and what to do to fix it.
Why Does My Car Squeak?
A squeaking noise in your car can be caused by many things. It could be as simple as the rubber door weather seal rubbing when the car is in motion. This problem can be solved with a leather conditioner. The leather conditioner will help keep the rubber’s elasticity intact and prevent noise from occurring when going over bumps. But the problem can be a bit more complex or serious.
If your car squeaks when accelerating, the problem is usually one of the belts under the hood. Depending upon what kind of vehicle you drive, the belts can serve a variety of purposes. Some cars will have individual belts for power steering and air conditioning, as well as major components like the radiator fan and alternator. The Three different kinds of belts you may find under your hood are:
- Serpentine Belt
- Drive Belts
- Timing Belts
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Serpentine Belt Squeaking
If you’re driving a car that’s newer than a 1990 model, your vehicle is most likely equipped with a serpentine belt. This type of belt is designed to drive multiple devices in the vehicle like the radiator fan, air pump, power steering pump, water pump, and the compressor for the air conditioning. The belt is snaked through these devices, the crank pulley, idler pulley(s), and a tensioner. If the belt is loose or overly worn, that’s when the vehicle will emit serpentine belt noise(serpentine belt squeaking).
How to Make Serpentine Belt Stop Squeaking
Serpentine belts should be replaced every 90,000 miles. However, it is advised to do an inspection of the belt at 60,000 miles to stay ahead of any problems since a broken serpentine belt will result in your car becoming undriveable. If you don’t know how to change serpentine belt, a licensed mechanic can do the replacement. Professional replacement prices are estimated between $60 and $200.
Drive Belts : V-Belts
Drive belts (also known as V-belts) are generally found in older vehicles and are meant to run one or two accessories in your vehicle. Cars with drive belt systems will have individual belts running things like power steering, air conditioning, and the alternator. Unlike vehicles that use serpentine belts systems, drive belt systems can be trickier to manage. This is because the multiple belts need to be replaced separately and will require different tension. Also, because these belts are more narrow, they can sometimes rotate on the pulley which will impede performance and increase wear. Loose drive belts will result in a car making squealing noise.
Drive Belt Replacement : Alternator Belt Replacement
A loose alternator belt can cause severe alternator problems that can overheat your car and result in expensive repairs. A belt that’s too tight can also put strain on the alternator. If you’re mechanically inclined, the belts can be replaced at home with little time. Professional belt changes can be done with estimates ranging from $100 to $145.
The timing belt is part of the internal combustion engine that connects the crankshaft to the camshaft to ensure synchronized rotation. This is important because the space between the moving parts is extremely small; meaning that if they go out of sync, they will run into each other. If your timing belt breaks, this will result in major engine repairs. Timing belts tend to wear and crack with time, which is my some cars have timing chains instead of belts. If your car emits a squeaking timing belt noise, it should be dealt with immediately. If the timing belt snaps on an interference engine, it will throw the engine’s components out of sync, causing the pistons to hit the valves which will destroy the engine.
Time Belt Replacement Cost
Timing belt replacement can be expensive because of labor cost. Several engine components need to be removed to access the timing belt in order to remove and replace it. Professional replacement cost is estimated to range from $200 to $900.
How to Fix Squeaky Brakes: How to Stop Brakes from Squeaking
You may wonder, “Why are my brakes squeaking?” If your brakes squeak when stopping, they can do so for several reasons. Some drivers with new cars experience new brakes squeaking. These braking systems simply need to be re-calibrated to eliminate the noise. Modern brakes have a rotor disc that is squeezed between two brake pads mounted on a caliper. If the manufacturer didn’t correctly calibrate the system, the vibrations in the braking system can cause the components to squeal. This situation is not unsafe; it’s just unpleasant.
Why do my Brakes Squeak?
However, there are plenty of other causes for car brakes squeaking, and they can be problematic and expensive if left untreated. For this reason, it’s important to know why it’s happening and how to stop brakes from squeaking. Some of the most common reasons for squeaky brakes are:
- Worn Brake Pads: The brake pads clamp onto the rotors to create friction. This friction slows the vehicle to a stop. When the brake pads wear down, the friction is lessened and will cause the brake pads squeaking. This can be a safety issue as it will inhibit the vehicle from stopping properly and will require brake pad replacement.
- Glazed Pads and Rotors: If the brake calipers stick, the pads will be in constant contact with the rotors. When this occurs, both the pads and rotors will be subjected to excessive friction which creates excessive heat. The heat will cause the pads and/or rotors to glaze. This glazing reduces the friction between the pads and rotors which depletes braking performance. When this occurs, the calipers must be reset and the pads and rotors will need to be replaced.
- Faulty Anti-rattle Clips: The brake pad is held onto the caliper with anti-rattle clips. The clips hold the pads steady to prevent vibration. If the anti-rattle clips are broken or worn, the pads will vibrate more freely and cause a squeaking noise when breaking. The simple solution is to replace the anti-rattle clips.
- Bad Brake Pad Insulation: brake systems are built with insulation shims between the caliper and the brake pad to prevent squeaking. When the shims wear out, brake squealing will occur. When a brake pad replacement is done, mechanics will often discard the insulation shims and apply an insulation gel to the back of the brake pad to eliminate squealing. If you have new brake pads squeaking, the technician may have failed to apply the gel.
- Incorrect Rotor Surface Cut: If the rotors in the braking system have glazed, they need to be resurfaced. This is generally done during any brake job. Rotors need to be devoid of any imperfections on the rotor face. If the brake pads are replaced without having the rotors resurfaced, brake squealing will occur as well as possible thumping in the brake pedal.
A full brake repair job can be expensive. This is why it’s important to have the braking system serviced regularly. A complete brake job for just one wheel can cost between $300 and $800.
Another cause of car squeaking is the car suspension system. If your car squeaks when turning the culprit could be the suspension. The suspension system is designed to cushion the motion of the vehicle as it steers and bounces. Suspension issues can throw off alignment and lead to difficulty when making turns. If the squeaking is caused by the suspension, the problem is usually found in the joints. The Three types of joints in the suspension system are:
- Ball Joints: These joints permit motion in both a rotating movement as well as up and down. A ball joint in connected with a ball and a cup with a rubber boot that contains lubricating grease. If the rubber boot wears or rips, the joint will begin to squeak. Replacing the boot should rectify this issue.
- Bushings: Bushings are for joints that need to move in a single direction such as up and down or side to side. Bushings act as rubber sleeves that fit between the vehicle’s frame and specific suspension components. If a bushing is torn or dried out, they can begin to squeak or squeal. This can also occur if the component is rotating inside the sleeve. If the squeak stops temporarily once the bushing has been sprayed with lubricant, you’ve discovered the source of the squeak and you can simply replace the bushing.
- Rubber Mounts: These joints are made for components that require only a small amount of movement. Rubber mount joints are most commonly found on control arms and shock absorbers. Like bushings, they can be torn which will warrant replacement. In some cases, the component connected to the joint will need to be replaced along with it.
Suspension ball joint replacement is estimated between $240 and $350. Bushings and rubber mounts can be purchased at a cost between $15 and $50, but those costs will increase with labor fees
How to Stop Car Squeaks
Car squeaking can be an innocuous sound that is only a burden on your ears, but it can also indicate some serious issues. A squeak coming from your vehicle could be a warning of an impending problem that needs to be remedied before it’s too late. A vehicle protection plan can cut or eliminate those high repair costs and keep you and your passengers safe on the road.
Drivesmart’s Elite plan covers any and all components that may be the cause of squeaking. Expensive parts of the suspension and braking system are covered as well as the timing belt, gears, and more. Vehicles with up to 60,000 odometer miles qualify for full elite coverage through Drivesmart.