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Car whining when accelerating

Hi, I’m new to cars and got my first car off a friend. I’ve had it for three days and now when I accelerate, there’s a whine. I’m wondering what it could be.

We cannot hear it from here, so a sound clip would help.

It would also be good to let us know The year, make, model, engine, and mileage.

But I would first check the oil.
Second, I would check if the serpentine belt is cracked and worn.
This is an easy replacement with common tools, and there are plenty of U-tube videos that can guide you.


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Okay, I’ll get a sound clip asap, but I’ll tell you what I know about the car, it’s an infiniti j30 1993. It has 232k miles on it. New belts, clean transmission fluid, there’s a slight steering fluid leak from what I can see. Thanks for replying so quickly

THat is pretty old and quite a few miles on it.

Not to call your friend a liar, but it may not be a bad idea to spend $150 and have a shop do an inspection on this. You would not believe how many times I have seen people gets outright robbed by a friend.
This way you will know what to expect and not find in 30 days that it has enough problems that you need to spend $2000 immediately to keep it on the road.
It may need a lot of work and you can plan ahead to get everything fixed over the next 6 months.

Check the power steering fluid level. If low, the pump will whine …or more of a groan.

If the power steering fluid is leaking and getting onto the belt, it could cause the whine.



Thank you very much. I’ll get it checked out. My reservoir does have a leak. That’s what he said before I bought it.

If you are leaking power steering fluid your PS pump will indeed whine. You need to fix that leak and fill the reservoir up to the top. The whine is created by air in the PS system. Once the res is full turn the wheel from lock to lock…left and right…this will purge your system of air bubbles and the whine should go away. If it was run too low for too long you may have damaged the pump and the whine may never go away. See what you get when you do the above items.


Well, turns out my reservoir is full and it’s still whining

temporarily removing the serpentine belt and starting car for 30 seconds or so should allow you to separate if this is the engine noise or accessory noise

I don’t know where that belt is

A repair shop can find the source in short order. They can actually see and here it. I would say your best option is to bring it in.


Do some experiments to determine how the following affect the noise

  • Coasting vs in gear
  • Braking vs not- braking
  • Driveway idling vs on the road
  • Turning steering wheel
  • Cold vs warm engine
  • Turning vs going straight.
  • Lower speeds vs higher speeds.
  • Changing gears
  • Accelerating vs constant speed
  • Uphill vs downhill vs level ground

I’ll do those tests asap

If your reservoir is full now… Did you turn the steering wheel lock to lock several times to burp out the air bubbles? The air is what usually make a pump whine like that… If it truly is whine we are discussing… Try turning lock to lock to fully purge out any air in the system.

If that doesn’t work…its time for a new pump.

How do I lock my steering wheel?

LOL… No no no… I am trying to tell you to turn the wheel fully to the left till it stops…how ever many turns that takes…then immediately turn it all the way right till it stops… This is “Lock to Lock” Do this about 3x.

It is also correct form to have the front of the car jacked up either fully or partially to alleviate the strain on the system to turn lock to lock… I would jack it up at least partially but its not entirely needed…its just nicer on the vehicles components.

I have had to do this countless times while servicing different vehicles…it works as it purges the air that can get trapped in the system when it runs very low etc… You will even see the air bubbles in the res when you do this…

Give it a shot… if your pump is still good this should help your situation… If it does not help, you may need a new pump…OR we aren’t truly discussing “pump whine”.

From my computer desk, I am only as accurate as the problem description

Okay! Thank you very much for explaining lol

Not a problem… Now go grab that steering wheel and give it “what for”

Well… The car won’t move now. I accelerate and I’m not moving. I ran out of transmission fluid and added some, I’m still not moving and had to abandon the car in the parking lot until I can get help pushing it up 3 hills. What could be wrong?

Did you add enough?

I added a single quart, should I add more? I think it was bone dry