CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Car makes chirping noise when idle

Whenever it rains and I have my car in drive (idling at say an stop sign or intersection), I can hear my car chirp. If I give it gas or shift it to neutral, the chirping sound goes away. When I have the AC on, the car will chirp even in neutral, but will not chirp when I give it gas.



What could be wrong? Could it be a pulley?

Most likely your belts or a belt tensioner (if so equipped). Easy to replace.

I replaced the belt and it still does this. I’ll check out the belt tensioner later. It seems like it went bad pretty prematurely. I mean I baby my car and it has just under 50k on it.

You may not have put it on tight enough. Was the old one giving you problems as well?

Well I’m about 99 percent sure its on correctly. The other one wasnt giving me trouble but someone suggested it could be that so I went and ran with it–wasn’t ready to spend more money on a tensioner and fund out it ws just the belt

Babying the car has nothing to do with the serpintine belt tensioner…they are spring loaded and set to a predetermined spring tenstion. They fatigue over time…Also you will want to pay close attention to any idler pulleys in the belt system…Alternator bearings have a tendency to momentarily elicit a loud squeak…then go away…and back again…the idler bearings do the same thing too.