Sound I never heard before


I have been trying to figure out what is making a noise in my car I never heard. It is a high, shrieking sound coming from the engine. It is definately not a belt, I am very familiar with that sound. And it gets more frequent, the longer of drive it. Many times even after shutting off my engine, it makes the sound one more time.


A pulley bearing that is going out can sometimes make a high, piping shriek sound. That wouldn’t cover hearing the noise with the engine off, unless you mean just as the engine ceases to rotate.

Any luck popping the hood and trying to tell whereabouts its coming from?


I tried once or twice to raise the hood to catch where the sound is coming from, but it didn’t do it those times. And yes, the noise with the engine off happens just as the engine ceases to rotate. Can you give me some suggestions as to what kind of pully I would be looking for? And is it still safe for me to drive as I am trying to figure out what it is. And would this be something I could fix myself. Money is real tight right now. Thanks


The drive belt on a car will be running over and around many pulleys (crank pulley, AC, power steering, alternator, water pump, belt tensioner). Like many, I have found the culprit by listening through an 18" piece of hose that is placed near each pulley when the engine is running and part is squealing. That is simple enough but is also dangerous as there are many moving parts, and fingers ALWAYS come out second best in the engine compartment. Shrieking is most often associated with the bearing in a pulley, but not always. Lacking a crystal ball, I don’t know your exact problem thus cannot say if it is safe to drive. Don’t use any type of “v-belt” or “fan-belt” treatment on the newer serpentine drive belts.


Well, its hard to tell without knowing what the car is, how many miles, etc. And even hearing the sound personally can be a difference. If you have a lot of miles on the car, and it sounds like a bad belt then it might be time to replace the timing belt.
IN general, remember the old saying: “I once complained because I had no shoes, but then I saw a man with no legs.” Just be glad you aren’t at that age when your kids tell you, “Dad, can’t you hear that noise coming from the engine?”


I am having the exact same problem with my 2000 Ford Explorer…at one point I hear the sound(to me it sounds like a flock of birds screaming) and then when I park pop the hood nothing.


Truthfully, it could be pretty much anything that’s rotating in there. The most likely culprit is the alternator or water pump…if you have an idler pulley that doesn’t turn anything, it could be that as well.

Like Rogers suggested, you could take a length of tubing and get it as close to each pulley as you can while the engine is running…using extreme caution!

Whether this is something you can fix yourself will depend on what it is. Most likely you can, but let’s figure out what’s making the noise first.


One thing it could be is the electric cooling fan motor, especially if it continues to do it a little after the engine is off.


That is what someone else said it sounded like when they heard it! They said it sounded like I had birds in my engine. I have a 1998 Ford Escort with about 141,000 miles on it. Did you find out what is causing yours?