Squealing belt

Hi, in the past day or so I have noticed a high pitched squealing noise while I drive. It stops if I press the brakes, and will vanish from time to time. Any ideas? I drive a 2002 Chevy Malibu, by the way. Thanks!

It may be that your serpentine belt needs replacement or tightening. It could also be that your front brake pads are worn. Brake pads usually have a “squealer” to alert you when they’re almost gone. In either case, a local mechanic should be able to locate the source of the noise.

If it sounds like a mouse scratching at his cage, then it’s the brake pad wear indicator and you need new pads. If that’s the case, have them changed ASAP. The longer you wait, the more damage you’ll cause to the rotors.

I will just add that assuming the pads are due for replacement (it sounds like that is the situation) then often with modern cars (2002 counts as modern) the rotors are designed to be as light as possible and often need to be replaced as soften as the pads. We get shorter rotor life, but we don’t need to turn the rotors. More often than not turning them today leaves them too thin to work safely.