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Arench, Master Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 1490
Experience:  30-years experience auto and truck repair.
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Hi My car has a high pitch screech when I start up the car

Customer Question

Hi: My car has a high pitch screech when I start up the car if it is raining, has rained, or the temperature drops. It even does it when I start the car in the morning in the garage. I had my brackes checked and changed.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Arench replied 8 years ago.

Greetings from Mikey at Just Answer!


Please tell us the year, make, model and engine size of your car.


Please tell us when you hear the noise is it just when the eninge is first started while stationary or does the car have to be moving before you hear the noise?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

It is a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe 4 cyl. I hear the noise when the engine is first starting if the temp was cold or damp the night before, when driving if it is raining, or if the car has been sitting outside for several hours and the temp has dropped. Please note this does not happen everyday.

Expert:  Arench replied 8 years ago.

Hello again. What you are describing sounds to me like a slipping alternator belt. The load on the alternator is particularly high when the car is first started because its charging the battery. The belt is made of a rubber compound and the alternator pulley is steel and it makes a very high pitched squeal when the belt is slipping. As the the battery becomes charged the load on the alternator becomes less and the belt heats up from slipping and gains traction so the noise goes away.


The recommended action is to have the mechanic inspect the alternator belt and replace if needed or tighten the belt if replacement is not needed.


On an unrelated topic, we have been doing alot of engine work on this year Hyundai resulting from busted timing belts. If your timing belt has not been changed on this car yet, its time to think about that too.

Arench and 11 other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Sorry, for the delay in accepting. It took me awhile to get an appointment with a mechanic and the alternator belt was actually stretched. I really appreciate the expert advice and will contact you in the future as my needs arise. I have recommended this website to friends to check with the experts first before spending money on repairs that may not be necessary.
Expert:  Arench replied 8 years ago.

Thank you very much!