Who's the metallic squirrel?



Hi all,

I have a '99 Proteg? (automatic) that generally runs well, but sometimes when I accelerate it makes this high-pitched, trilling noise, something reminiscent of a metallic squirrel (only when, and as long as, I press the gas pedal). Anybody has any idea what this could be? Should I be worried? I’m planning on keeping the car for one more year at most, and my budget is limited, but obviously I’d like to avoid having the thing explode in my hands…

Thanks in advance!



Never having heard a mechanical squirrel it’s hard for me to imagine the sound you’re hearing.

What’s the maintenance history of this car? Is everything up to date? Has a mechanic tried to diagnose this sound? Have you, or anyone else, opened the hood and tried to reproduce the sound by manually operating the throttle?

This could be as simple as a loose accessory drive belt, but until someone investigates no one will know what’s causing it.

Guessing is pointless.


Chances are when it fails you will have no problem figuring it out. Does it matter if ac or defrost is on? It could be as simple as a belt or tensionor going, or as bad as a timing belt if it has one, about ready to fail. You need to try and pinpoint the source of the noise or have a reputable mechanic do it for you. (no offense mac I am a slow typer and your response was not there as I was typing mine. Typing as fast as I can)


The car has been remarkably resilient up to now, with very few things falling apart, despite the fact that both myself and the previous 4-year owner (being my girlfriend) have been a little skimpy on the maintenance budget. I didn’t notice any effect of AC or defrost on the sound, but I’ll pay attention…

Ironically, just before I bought it from her we asked her regular mechanics whether I should expect significant expenses in the coming months. We were told that we’d probably have to change the timing belt. Two interesting pieces of supplemental information: 1) The garage is a certain Good News place in east Cambridge, and 2) apparently the car has a timing chain, not a timing belt;-)

In any case, I understand that I should not freak out about it, just point it out to my mechanic (I moved several hundred miles since I bought the car!) when I visit him for some other reason and/or wait until something breaks, right?


You might want to check the motor mounts.


That really depends on how you feel about being stranded on the roadside.