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Loud "squeal" coming from engine of 2003 Honda Civic

I have a 2003 Honda Civic coupe (EX) that makes a loud squeal. It starts when I just get going in the car, maybe two or three minutes into the drive. The squeal seems to come from the engine, and lasts for 15 to 30 seconds, before abruptly stopping. I seem to think its a belt, but not sure why its doing it or how to stop it.

Not sure if its something I can ignore or not. Thanks for any advice.

Key Words: Loud, Squeal, Engine

These words used together in a sentence indicate that something’s not right.
Can you ignore it ? You don’t know yet. You must find what it is ASAP and then decide whether you can ignore it.

Ever replace this vehicle’s accessory drive belts ? If not, that would be a start in the right direction. While that is taking place have the noise located and diagnosed. It could be belts, idler/tensioner pulleys, A/C pulley, one of the “accessories,” etcetera.

Chances are that it won’t cure itself and could get worse and cause additional damage/problems and even leave you stranded.

This could be good that you are receiving a warning that something needs attention before things get more difficult and more expensive. Check it out.


Great point. I will investigate first by checking out the belts and going from there. I think I may have some time on Sunday to look at it. It is not our primary vehicle, so I can park it for the mean time.

I Took A Look At An 03 Civic Belt Diagram.

Chances are that you are correct that a loose belt is causing the symptoms you are experiencing as the belts apparently (lots of different engine options, though) are not self-tensioning and require periodic adjustment.

One belt runs the Alternator and A/C, the other runs the power steering.

If you don’t know or can’t recall having new belts then it’s time. Should you varify that the symptoms (classic) are caused by the belt(s) then there has been slippage and all the more reason to renew. Old belts aren’t as grippy as new ones, can slip, crack and break, and leave you stranded.

Carefully look it over and/or get instructions and be sure it’s something you are equipped to handle before proceeding.


Ok. Thanks for looking into this situation. It’s a relatively new vehicle to us as we have only owned it since early summer. I have never changed a belt before but I am not opposed to trying new things.

Changing belts is a great first time DIY project. But I’d recommend that you get a manual from the parts store, be sure you have the appropriate tools, and do the job right. Today’s serpentine belts and transverse engine configurations present special challanges. And keep a friend handy.

For example, to do my car properly requires that I jack the corner up and remove the wheel and inner fender apron, giving me access to the front of the engine. I them need to slowly and carefully compress the tensioner with a breaker bar and 6-point socket. Once the old belt is off, I need to keep the tensioer compressed rto thread the new belt on (thus the friend). I’ve tried doing it by myself, but can’t keep the tensioner compressed and thread the belt at the same time.

And I need a torque wrench for the lug nuts. I like torque wrenches for critcal bolts, and consider the lug nuts to be critical.

So, plan the work and work the plan. And you’ll do fine.