I have a 1993 Saturn with very low mileage (roughly 36,000 original miles) that I inherited from my grandma about 5 years ago. Early in the summer (May/June), when I would turn the a/c on, I started hearing a low squeaking/squealing sound when I would come to a stop. When I would start moving, turn off the a/c, put the car in neutral/park, it would go away. Over the past few months, I have noticed the squeaking/squealing getting louder and more so at night when the lights are on and during the day when there is a lot of moisture in the air and it really squeals loud every so often when I start moving from a stop until I hit around 2000 rpm. The car idles at around 500 rpm and that is when I notice the noise the most. I have checked the belt and it appears to be in good shape (no cracking or fraying, it appears to be dry) and the tension appears to be good and when I got the oil changed last month, the guys at the Valvoline Quick Lube said it looked good as well. With the noise coming more often at night when the lights are on (or during the day when it is raining and I have the lights on), I have thought about taking the alternator off and getting it checked at the local parts store to see if when it gets put under load, it squeals there and to see if it is functioning properly. Could it be the alternator or something else, like the belt? Thank you for your time. Mario
First (and most important), never expect expert car advice from guys at any fast lube operation. Ask a real mechanic.
I believe you are on the right track by suspecting the belts. Disregard the advise of the Quick Lube lackeys and follow up on your belt theory. Quite likely one of them is too loose and merely needs some tightening.