Question about 2003 Kia Spectra

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I makes a "squeal" noise. I is loudest when I first turn it on and have either have the ac or heater on. Once I start driving and am going over 40mph it will stop.

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YOU EITHER NEED YOUR BELT TIGHTENED OR REPLACED.

Posted on Oct 07, 2010

  • granny4b1g Sep 02, 2011

    We changed both belts and the car still squeels wen first started but stops after moter runs a few minutes..any other ideas

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Your serpentine belts tension is loose or the belt is going hard. Check the tension on the tensioner pulley and condition of belt.
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If the noise sounds like a whistle or squeal, it may be the accessory drive belt slipping. You stated you replaced the alternator and the water pump, but did you replace the belt? Belts may look good even as they age, but they dry out and will get a glazed appearance and this acts like ice on the pulleys. The different accessories (alternator, power steering, A/C. possibly water pump) all provide resistance to the belt as it attempts to turn them. The faster the car runs, the more resistance. Thus, at idle, there may be no noise, but at 40mph, the resistance on one of the pulleys may get so great that the glazed belt starts slipping, causing a noise. This slippage could also be due to a belt that is not properly tight. If your vehicle has an automatic belt tensioner, it could be in need of replacement. If it is manually adjusted, it may need to be readjusted. Be advised, though, re-tightening a glazed belt may make the noise go away, but over-tensioning a drive belt can cause belt breakage or bearing damage to the drive accessories. It is worth the cost of a new belt to not have to replace all the drive accessories.

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Can't find the source of the squeal


Year make and model ??
The belt could be glazed and slipping even if it is tight.
You could have a weak belt tensioner too.
The noise when the ac or heat is turned on can be the extra load from the ac compressor or the alternator. The compressor cycles on and off especially in defrost mode.
The load from the alternator is the first noise of the day. As the belt warms up it becomes better at handling the load of the accessories.
Even tho the belt looks fine, you may have to replace it to get rid of the noise.

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Possible a/c problem, squealing noise constant, but gets better when a/c is turned on.


You did not give the make model and year, and I did not get all of the story.
Are you saying the noise goes away when the ac is on, or off ?

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Your AC compressor on the engine is the likely problem, either the pump is frozen up or the front bearing is frozen up, don't run the system or the belt will burn and fly off and strands you. Get this taken care of right away before winter. Have a local shop listen to the noise to confirm my guess as to the cause.

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I believe I know the noise that is troubling you. If a new belt is correctly tensioned and still makes such a noise it would indicate either contamination with oil or similar or pulleys that are less than perfectly aligned

The noise and your description is symptomatic of slippage and the pulley that is most likely to be slipping is the small alternator pulley. After starting and when accessories are being used that require a significant current the alternator needs considerable power to drive it in order to produce that current/replace the battery power used to start the engine.

The increased power to drive the alternator must be delivered via the drive belt. As the battery voltage rises the charge rate will fall and the power needed to drive the alternator falls and so the squealing reduces and then stops.

One further thing to note is an engine and it's ancillaries expand or grow quite a lot in engineering terms as it warms up, this has a tendency to tighten the drive belts further.

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