Why Does My Car Make A Screeching Sound When It Starts?

Why does my car make a screeching sound?When you get into your car, do you cringe before you turn the key because you know it’s going to make a loud, embarrassing screeching sound? Do your neighbors and co-workers always know when you come and go? Having a noisy vehicle can be annoying for you and anyone within ear shot. Luckily, there’s usually an inexpensive fix. But first, let’s talk about what’s got you covering your ears. Keep reading and say goodbye to that screeching sound!

When you open the hood, direct your attention to the belt(s) and surrounding parts. You may have a few or only one, but odds are this is the culprit. It’s likely to be slipping on the pulley system, and doing so for one or more of the following reasons.

Misalignment and Tension

Before you simply replace the belt, take a look at the parts that make it turn. If the tension wasn’t set properly at the time of installation, if the tension has decayed over time, or the parts are worn, replacing just the belt won’t solve your problem. The pulleys may need to be realigned and the tension adjusted. Because this will involve more than just a $10 replacement, let a professional be the one to set you free from the screech.

Belt Decay

As belts get older they typically dry and form a polished glaze on the wear surface, which can cause it to slip. You should also check your vehicle’s belts for obvious wear, fraying or cracks. A belt in this condition can cause the screeching you’re suffering from, as well as an intermittent, high-pitched chirping sound. In this case, a fresh replacement should solve the problem.


Auto maintenance does not involve many clean tasks, and it’s easy to spill the multitude of fluids your vehicle needs to run smoothly. If your belt is waking up the neighbors, it could be contaminated by motor oil or antifreeze. It could also be caused by a belt dressing that was previously applied and has fouled. This problem also warrants a replacement, but it’s important to locate any possible leaks and address them before putting on a new belt.

Whatever you do, don’t apply a belt dressing to a worn or contaminated belt or you’ll destroy it even further.

If you’ve got a loose or misaligned belt, if you’ve replaced your belt and the screeching persists, or if you’d simply like us to replace any one of your vehicle’s belts, drop on by Grease Monkey today! You’ll get only what you need, guaranteed.