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My Ford Taurus 1995 started squeaking really loudy. Can I safely drive it for a couple days?

My ford taurus 1995 started squeaking really loudly. I think it is probably a belt and I plan to take it to a mechanic as soon as possible. No one is open on Sundays to look at it and I need to use the car. Would it be safe to use it for a couple days? Someone told me it could be the serpentine belt. Is there any other thing which could cause this noise?

Yes, a squeak could be a tensioner pulley, alternator bearing, water pump, A/C compressor clutch, and so on.

If the belt has been on there forever then the belt is the likely cause of the squeak.
As to whether it’s safe to use for a few days no one can say. The belt can go for months like that or it may snap the next time you drive it.

the water pump was just replaced but I have no idea about the other ones you mentioned. It is possible the belt has been on there forever. The squeak just started on Friday. The car must have realized I just got paid : P If a belt snaps while you’re driving it what happens- does it just loose power or could it cause a chain reaction where multiple components get messed up?

If someone replaced the water pump they should have also inspected and replaced the belt and the belt tensioner if needed at that time as the only additional cost should be the parts with no labor.

What you will notice if the belt snaps is that the BATTERY light on the dash will illuminate. The engine will still run BUT it should only be operated for a very few minutes to get off the roadway, etc. The power steering will be very difficult to operate and the A/C will quit working.

If you continue to drive the engine will start to overheat and if severe enough can cause major engine problems The battery will also start to run down and depending on the battery condition the engine may stall before it even overheats. Hope that helps.

ok4450: I also wondered why the belt was not replaced with the water pump. Maybe it was and the tension misadjusted or something else misaligned.

The OP did not disclose when, and under what circumstances, she hears that noise.

If the squeaking noise is constant when the engine is running (whether the car is moving or not) and/or if it increases when accelerating, then–yes–it is likely to be a belt or a tensioner. As was said, this is something that could probably be safely postponed for a few days, but–then again–the belt could snap or fall off the next time that the engine is started. Nobody from afar can tell you exactly how long this can be postponed.

On the other hand, if the noise only appears when the car is moving, and especially if it disappears when the brakes are applied, then the noise could be the audible wear indicators that are embedded in the brake pads. (While most folks describe this noise as a cricket-like chirp, I have heard some people describe it as "squeaking.) Although brake pad replacement is a repair that can be postponed briefly, brake inspection and repair is something that needs to be attended to as soon as possible, in the interest of safety.

When, and under what circumstances does the OP hear this noise?

The squeaking noise is constant. It starts from the moment I turn the car on. At the time the water pump was replaced there was a problem with the cooling system and the car had been towed that day since steam came out and it dumped antifreeze on the ground after I pulled over. the thermostat was replaced the same day and a hose had to be repaired…all of which was time consuming. The squeaking didn’t start until after the whole cooling system fiasco. The squeaking started friday. I also have been having issues with power steering and have been told to get a new power steering pump. I mention this because the steering was super stiff right before the squeaking started.

" I also have been having issues with power steering and have been told to get a new power steering pump. I mention this because the steering was super stiff right before the squeaking started."

Well, you may indeed need a new PS pump, but the combination of symptoms also make it very possible that a bad belt and/or belt tensioner is the key to all of your current issues.

Would it be safe to use it for a couple days?

Sally, I say, “No,” unless you can get a neighbor, friend, auto parts store worker, or somebody who claims they know quite a bit (and can back that up) about the workings of a car, to have a look/listen.

By continuing to drive without knowing what is happening under the hood, You can strand yourself and/or do additional damage to the car. That would answer your question with certainty, but why chance it?

I bet the coolant got on belt. Sure way to make it noisy. Replace belt.

I made it to the shop alright. I had to replace the power steering pump, serpentine belt, tensioner, pulley, and alternator!

It is SOOOOO unlikely that all those parts failed simultaneously… Just sayin’.

They showed me the parts at the shop. I had already know that the power steering pump needed to be replaced. The other things were news to me.

My guess is that until the squeak started the other parts, which were all failing, went unaddressed. I guess we’ll never know.

It sounds like you got a major anti-squeak service there OP! Is it possible all those things required replacement? On a 95, pretty much anything is possible. I should know, both my vehicles are even older than yours. I’m still fine-tuning a carburetor rebuild for my Ford truck I started three months ago … lol … Anyway, suggest to fuggit-about-it & simply turn the key to “start” and enjoy your newly squeak-free ride. Best of luck.

At least they retained and showed you the parts that were replaced. That’s the way it should always be done.
At 21 years of age it was due anyway.

The tensioners can become worn to the point that they must be replaced due to misalignment. Also I have seen more than a few of those Ford alternators that had burned connectors that could not be reinstalled.

And Ford power steering pumps may have a tendency to become noisy in kind of a rumbly way with miles on them.