Edmunds dealer partner, Bayway Leasing, is now offering transparent lease deals via these forums. Click here to see the latest vehicles!

High-pitched engine squeal at cold startup?

snagielsnagiel Member Posts: 750
edited March 2014 in Audi
when starting up on a cold morning, when first cranking the engine, there's a short (1-3 second) high-pitched squeel that comes out. What's the cause?


  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    That's what it was when it occurred on my cars. May also be some tensioner arms that need replacement.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    I have a lot of tensioner idler wheels squeal on my cars when cold, after a car wash, when I pick my nose, etc.

    one or two drops of oil behind the idler on the bearing stops it for a month or two. big old squirts of oil will glop up the belt, and you will never be rid of the squealing and flinging, so don't try overkill.
  • brorjacebrorjace Member Posts: 588
    Yup, it's the belts. You can try some 'belt dressing' but use it sparingly as it can get all over the place.

    --- Bror Jace
  • amoralesamorales Member Posts: 196
    I had a '90 Plymouth Sundance that squealed at start-up, used Zest soap bar and squeal went away. BE ULTRA CAREFUL when applying soap bar to belts with engine idling. The belt dressing is messy, glue all over the place.
  • lonesomeduvlonesomeduv Member Posts: 50
    What if it's more of a high pitched grinding noise? Could that be the same thing? I've noticed that lately on my 96 Maxima. It only seems to happen on cold starts.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,391
    it was diagnosed at the shop as a bad electric cooling fan. The ACC turns on the a/c at startup if it isn't real cold which causes the fan to come on. It's pretty noisy but manually switching off the fan does make it go away immediately. New fan ($$$!) coming in next week.
    I'll repost and let you kno how it works.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Oh, you never, ever want to touch a fan belt when the engine is running. I got this straight from my 4 & 1/2 fingered friend Stevie. (boat engine)
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    no, you want to spray down the belt with the mill stopped, and the pulleys will spread the still-damp friction material when you hop right over to the open window and turn the key.

    your friend was lucky they don't call him "lefty."
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    I forgot about a squeal coming from a bad clutch fan, the part that the fan blades mount to the water bump. It is a fluid coupling that engages and disengages the fan blades based on temp, it helps out fuel economy. These are many times overlooked by even the most experienced mechanics. They can cause big problems if not replaced, like killing a water pump bearing, or if let go long enough I have seen them let loose and the fan goes bouncing around in the shroud, if it holds up to the abuse.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    I check mine at least every summer for ovbious fluid leaks on the back, and turn the fan by hand to insure there is slight friction in the clutch and that it is smooth without wobbles. haven't had to deal with a clutch replacement in 35 years, but if they seize or leak enough to be unbalanced, it ain't pretty on the bottom line.

    yes, all known keys to the car are in my pocket, ignition switch in LOCK, and the doors are locked for a very good reason any time I reach into Moving Parts Land; thanks for thinking about it, I appreciate it.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,391
    Just to let you know that having a new electric fan installed cured the noise I was getting when starting my '98 A4. It set me back around $400, including labor

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • vetteryanvetteryan Member Posts: 21
    If it sounds like a high-pitched whine, it is probably my girlfriend!
This discussion has been closed.