Engine noise

My engine has been makeing a squealing noise that sounds like gerbils on a wheel that I sometimes notice when idling. Today, the squealing noise was replaced by a bird

like chirping noise. I have only noticed the noise when warmed up and not all the

time. It seems to be coming from the driver’s side. Any idea what could cause this, what will happen if I do not repair it and the rough cost to repair. The car is a 01 Mercury Sable GS 3.0 V6 with 75,000 miles. Thanks.

If it makes the noise at idle, you can use a length of garden hose to locate the source. My guess is something on the accessory belt is going.

How old is the serpentine/accessory belt? An old belt can cause all sorts of noises. In 2002, I inherited a 1993 Caprice with the original serpentine belt. With the 9 year old belt, both the AC and power steering sounded like they were failing. A new belt took care of all the noise.

I replace the belts on my cars every 3 or 4 years (probably overkill). If your belt is older than 5 years, I would replace it with a good quality serpentine belt. I prefer Goodyear Poly-V belts.

Belts cost around $30 to $40, with labor and markup figure around $80-$100 total. My 91 Taurus had a serpentine belt and a fan belt, if the Sable has two belts it would cost a little more.