1995 Saturn SW@ Wagon

Oh help! My college aged daughter’s Saturn is making a high pitched noise under the hood below the wind shield wiper area. It come on when starting but will go away after driving awhile then comes back. The speed of the sound seems to go with the rpms of the engine. I’ve seen this question posted on numerous sites but no answer has been given. It does have 155k miles on the car but that shouldn’t make a difference. It sounds like a belt but when I look at the engine nothing seems loose. I’ve read these possibilities: Adjustable valve lifters, 2nd intake pump, sepentine belt and or fan belt. Please advise!!!

If you think it’s slipping belts, there is a Belt Dressing spray which will give the belts and pulleys more traction.

Really? Tell me more. I have auto zone nearby. What should I ask for?

Just ask for a can of “Belt Dressing” - follow the instructions. If the condition improves then you can bet on the belt.

Belt dressing is a temporary fix. The belt tension is automatically controlled by a spring loaded tension arm. When the belt slips, it’s time for a new belt. You might consider skipping the belt dressing and getting the serpentine belt replaced. Do you know when it was replaced last?

I’ve used belt dressing in the past. At best it’s a temporary fix and tends to fly off the belt making a mess under the hood.

Try spraying some water onto the belt with the engine running, if the noise stops, it’s a good indication of a worn belt. I usually channge the serpentine belts on my cars every 3 or 4 years with a good quality belt like a Goodyear Poly-V. Gates is another good brand also.

Ed B

Interesting…It rained like cats and dogs last night and when I started it this morning, there was no noise - tho I did not drive it yet. I suspect the moisture accumulated on the belt (your suggestion: water on belt) and that might just be the ticket! THANK YOU so much for the advice and I’m gonna look at it again now. BTW-is it hard to change that belt on my own garage? I have access to MANY tools.


These are the instructions for a SW1 with 1.9L engine: http://www.autozone.com/autozone/repairinfo/repairguide/repairGuideContent.jsp?fromSearchPage=true&pageId=0900c1528017e585&partName=Serpentine+Drive+Belt&partId=0900c1528017e585
You may have to register at the site. ok, do that.

I have a 97 SW2 wagon. I recently replaced the tension idler pulled to alleviate the same symptoms. I tried belt dressing as well, but that did not solve the problem. Finally, the tensionser let go. The sound stopped, but so did my charging system! The part is not expensive. It is a bit difficult to get to, but not impossible for the DIY’er. Remove the passenger front wheel and the inner fender liner for best access. Good luck!