Question about Chevrolet Malibu

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My 1997 Malibu is holding up very well. Recently, I have noticed a slight chirping noise whenever I idle (especially after starting the car) and when I accelerate to about 45 or 50. It is NOT a whine yet--just a chirp. When I'm driving, I can only hear it chirp when I press on the accelerator. It's worse when it's cold. I looked all over the website and didn't see much about this problem. Any ideas? If I didn't provide enough information, please let me know! Thanks, Joe

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  • Chevrolet Master
  • 5,332 Answers

Remove the serpentine belt notating the direction of travel. Start the vehicle long enough to confirm the chirp is either still present or it has stopped.

If the chirp stops manually spin all the pulley by hand to see if you can duplicate the sound. If nbothing else is making noise and the belt is in good shape put the belt back so that it travels in the opposite direction. If the noise persists replace the belt. If the noise goes away see how long it lasts. I have had many that have not returned after rotating the belt.

One other thing you can try is putting a small dab of di-electric grease on the belt, with the engine off of course. Spread the dab around a little with a finger, again with the engine off. Start the vehicle, give it a couple of seconds to let the grease work around the belt. If the noise goes away replace the belt.

Posted on Nov 14, 2010

  • Joe Collum Nov 14, 2010

    Hmmm...I'm not much into cars and the detailed mechanics. Can you point me in the direction of a bit more info about doing this? Or should I just take it to my mechanic? He's honest, so I'm not worried about being ripped off. Thanks for your help! I gathered from the other similar questions/problems that it's probably my serpentine belt. Thanks for the detailed info.

  • Jeremy W.
    Jeremy W. Nov 15, 2010

    Belt squeals are not complicated but you can be easily fooled by the sound your hearing. Replacing the belt is the easiest and most economical first attempt at resolving the noise. You will need a basic set of tools and some patients in order to remove the belt to inspect the other components. If you don't know what you are looking for than the only thing you could try is replacing the belt. There is an automatic belt tensioner located under the alternator. It can be rotated using a wrench on the bolt that goes through the center of the pulley. Make note of how the belt is routed before removing in order to make installation easier. Once the tension is off the belt remove it from the water pump pulley. Removing and installing the belt using the smooth pulleys is a lot easier than the grooved pulleys.

    Your mechanic should be able to identify the noise upon hearing it. From there he/she will be able to determine the health of the belt and the tensioner and any other components he/she suspects is causing the noise.

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