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Screeching sound right after car starts/engine turns over

Hi, I recently took my car for an oil change at Midas and my car wouldn’t start after the change. I was told I needed a new starter so I put one in, still wouldn’t start and was told it needed a new battery so I put one in too. Now my car starts fine but after the engine turns over it makes an awful screeching sound. Could this be the starter? In between having these things fixed I was told that my keys needed to be reset, so I did this as well. I’m frustrated by not knowing what is really wrong with my car that simply was taken for an oil change. Incidentally, before all of this the car never had problems starting. Thanks in advance for any advise as I don’t know what to do anymore.


Shirley Cardona

What’s wrong with your car is that you let Midas work on it. They guessed at it and threw parts that you didn’t need at it. They have installed the starter incorrectly and it is doing damage to your flywheel (it will be expensive to fix).
Take your car to somewhere with real mechanics and get this fixed before the bill gets much higher.

Anytime you have parts replaced it’s a good idea to have them return the ones removed. Take those to a dealership for testing. I think it sounds pretty fishy that you drove in without a problem, just wanting an oil change, and had to have a new starter and battery along with the screeching problem. (IF they installed a new started I’m guessing they did something to make the fan belt loose too, making it screech.)

I think you were ‘taken’. I would encourage you to document this with the Better Business Bureau and also contact your state attorney general’s office to file a complaint. You can probably contact the Midas home office and file a complaint as well.

Most dealerships are reputable and will do an oil change in about the same time as Midas or any of the others of that ilk. Unless you have a garage you can trust, you’re always better off at the dealership.

It could also be the alternator or serpentine belt slipping. Normally right after starting is when your alernator is working it’s hardest to recharge the battery. That could have been the problem all along. If it is a belt it would be a minor repair. Take tardis’ advice and take it to a good mechaninc.

By fan belt I mean V-belt, which covers all of them; serpentine, alternator, water pump, A/C. power steering etc. I used an old term, perhaps that was confusing.

My point was it wasn’t slipping when the OP went to Midas and is only an issue as a result of their “service”. In replacing the starter and battery my guess is they managed to change the belt tension, making it/them slip. If she had been using the car all along with no issues, Midas changed the oil and now it won’t start and needs a starter AND battery, and the belts are screeching??? It’s possible but I’d want the old parts so I could get them inspected. I’d also start a letter writing campaign.

Maybe Midas spilled some oil on the belt.

Sorry Rich, I was replying to the OP virtually the same time you were so didn’t see your reply. It’s possible the belt was loose enough to slip and not squeal and they made it worse, too.

Another possible trouble is the serpentine belt tensioner idler wheel has a bad bearing and needs to be replaced. If the car is about 6 years old it may be due for a replacement.

Hi all, I want to thank all of you for responding to Shirley (my fiancee) so quickly.

Namely, I am not very car-savvy myself. One thing I am fairly sure I can distinguish is the “belt screeching” noise. I don’t believe this is it. This sounds a bit more like scraping noise, whereas the belt noise goes a bit more towards a whistle/screech. Again, I’m ignorant when it comes to these things, so I may again be wrong.

Once the key is turned, the car starts fine, but toward the end of the initial starting “cycle”, this noise come on as a loud noise that overpowers the engine noise and then it immediately dies down (does not linger like belt noise sometimes may) and the car starts and drives just fine after that. One thing to note is that this noise is sporadic, it seems to appear more often when the car is hot (we started the car from being cold and heard nothing).

In summary, this is what was done to the car, along with the symptoms in a matter of a week:

  1. Oil and headlight change (Midas); car would not start in the Midas parking lot. Got their diagnosis for new starter.
  2. New starter (Midas); car would not start in the Midas parking lot. Got their diagnosis that battery somehow got drained. Got a jump. Car starting making the screeching/scraping noise. Drove around for a bit, died again. Got another jump, went to dealership.
  3. New battery (Dealer); Car sat for a few days, then would not start again. Towed to dealer, needed immobilizer reset.
  4. One key reset, immobilizer reset (Dealer). Same problem with immobilizer.
  5. All keys reset, immobilizer reset (Dealer). Car remains with screeching noise.

One thing we are debating is whether to take this car back to Midas (BBB requires that you try and address the issue with the business of your complaint, first and foremost) but since we have had now so many problems, we no longer have faith in their service and towing the car around after their meddling is not cheap. We are contemplating having the dealer just fix whatever has to be fixed and then pick the legal battle with Midas.

Again, thanks so much for all the responses so far, and in advance for any new input.


I agree the screeching noise is most likely a new belt. However the flywheel explanation is not out of the question; an experienced mechanic should be able to tell the difference from the sound.

You most likely did not need a new starter and a new battery if you never had starting problems before. If the old battery was more than 4 years old it’s close enough to the time it should have been changed that I wouldn’t worry too much about it, plus with the environmental regulations about batteries I think you’ll have a hard time getting back from them. I do think you should get the starter back and have it checked by another mechanic. Something about the whole story is suspicious.