Screeching 2001 Highlander!

Hey everyone-

Whenever I start up my 2001 Highlander it makes an awful screeching noise that sometimes lasts up to a minute or two long! It doesn’t just happen when I start it too. Sometimes i’ll be just driving along and it will start screeching like a bat out of hell and quite a minute later. Also, sometimes when I accelerate quickly it will briefly ( a little peep) screech. I thought it was my fan belts so I got both of them replaced about a month ago and it temporarily fixed the problem. About a week or so after they were replaced, I put the key in the ignition and SQUEEEEEEEEK. PLEASE someone help me out here! Thanks!!

It could be that a pulley needs to be replaced. The next time you start the Highlander, open the hood first. If it squeals, jump out and see if you can locate where it is coming from. My guess is that it will be one of the pulleys the belts run on. BTW, what year and how many miles on it?


its a 2001 Highland with just under 170,000 miles on it.

Return to the shop and ask them to check if the belts are tight enough because they are squealing. I don’t know about the 4 cylinder but the V6 belts do not have self adjusting tensioner, sometimes people do not set the tension tight enough.

Nevada- I brought it up when I got my oil changed ( same shop ) and they said they didn’t know what to tell me. They tightened them for me and it quit screeching for a few hours, but then it came right back.

Any good mechanic who has a stethiscope should be able to locate which pully is the one making the noise.
You may have to leave it there though. Sometimes these only show up when the engine has not been run and is well cooled off. Even then, sometimes by the time the mechanic gets from the drivers door to the front end the squeeling has stopped.


Mot often the power steering belt is not tight enough. It can be a little tricky because of where the pumps at. Once the belts start squealing it’s better to replace them with a new belt. I don’t think its the idler pulleys since the noise goes away, most often when the pulley bearings fail they make noise constantly. Ask the shop if they will warranty the belts for you.


Thanks Steve-
I plan on taking it back in pretty soon due to other issues! so ill have it checked out