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Subaru ambient drone noise in speakers before dying

Hello all

I am not the most mechanically gifted man. I can do all the basic car maintenance but this has me perplexed and a little frightened

My dependable 2001 Subaru outback has been dying after I start it up for the last couple of days. The build up to this was that the headlights have been flickering ever since I changed the fan belt a few weeks ago.

Whats strange is that the car will turn on and run fine until I turn the radio or air conditioner on. A few minutes after doing so I’ll hear the weird ambient droning moaning sound start to build up in the speakers of the car - then the odometer starts to go haywire and the car will die if idling. when I try to start it up again afterward the battery comes on fine but it wont turn over. I don’t notice a clicking sound like a starter would indicate but rather an electric-ish sounding hiss. The next day it will start up again. And for what its worth the headlights no longer flicker.

Any ideas?

I think you have an alternator that’s on it’s last legs. I would get it checked out. Headlights flickering was the first indication of alternator failure.

A BIG +1 to Missileman’s comment.
The symptoms that the OP describes are essentially a textbook description of a dying alternator.
I suggest that you get this car to the shop immediately, before you become stranded in an inconvenient place and need to get a flat-bed car carrier to transport the car to your mechanic. Remember–because of the AWD system, this car CANNOT be towed, and must be transported on a flat-bed.

I can tell you from experience that you might not even be able to drive the car to the mechanic before the alternator dies, but if you are very lucky and very quick, you just might be able to do it. If you wait another day, I can almost guarantee that you will not be able to drive the car.

As another thought to the posts above I do not believe in coincidence. Now I see, "The build up to this was that the headlights have been flickering ever since I changed the fan belt a few weeks ago"
So check the fan belt, ie serpentine belt? for proper path especially around the belt tensioner if applicable!