Screeching sound from engine on 'cold' days

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by John Smith, Sep 18, 2004.

  1. John Smith

    John Smith Guest

    Hi All,

    I own a 99 civic coupe - has given me flawless service
    however, since around 2002, it has been emitting a shrill
    screeching sound when the engine is started cold (such
    as early in the morning. Once the engine heats up, the sound
    is gone. I put 'cold' in the subject line because I live in
    Phoenix AZ :)

    Yet, this problem occurs more frequently once the weather
    starts to cool down. I know this is not the brakes, it sounds
    more like a belt needing some silicon but despite repeated checks
    with the shop, they cannot find a problem.

    Any suggestions would be welcome.


    John Smith, Sep 18, 2004
  2. John Smith

    Peter H Guest

    Sounds like a glazed belt to me.

    Peter H
    Peter H, Sep 18, 2004
  3. John Smith

    Brian Smith Guest

    What have you done in the two years, since it started doing this?
    Brian Smith, Sep 19, 2004
  4. John Smith

    jajabinks Guest

    I have the same problem. Search the usenet archive, the problem seems
    to be 'piston slap' and is apparently normal.
    search: civic piston slap
    jajabinks, Sep 19, 2004
  5. John Smith

    motsco_ _ Guest


    One of your belts is just a bit too loose. A tiny shot of water will
    prove which one it is. Then tighten it a bit.

    Piston slap sounds like a VW diesel idling. That's not likely your problem.

    motsco_ _, Sep 19, 2004
  6. John Smith

    Bubba Guest

    Serpentine belt. Time for a new one.
    Bubba, Sep 19, 2004
  7. John Smith

    John Smith Guest

    What would I hear/see?

    John Smith, Sep 19, 2004
  8. John Smith

    John Smith Guest

    That is an interesting possibility because it fits
    the symptoms. How can I confirm this?

    John Smith, Sep 19, 2004
  9. John Smith

    John Smith Guest

    Well, I've taken it to my mechanic -had him check out the belts
    to make sure they were appropriately gel'd. I got new (front) brake
    pads about 6 mo. ago and had them look at the engine again.

    Another problem is that this problem occurs when the engine is cold -
    typically in the mornings. By the time I drive up to the shop, the sound
    is gone.

    Then there are periods of days when it disappears completely so makes
    me suspicious of what's going on.

    John Smith, Sep 19, 2004
  10. John Smith

    John Smith Guest

    As pointed out by 'curly', that's not it...

    John Smith, Sep 19, 2004
  11. John Smith

    jajabinks Guest

    Do loose belts cause the noise to occur only during cold days when the
    engine is cold? Noise due to loose belts should occur regardless of
    outside temp, shouldn't it? My car only does that when temperature is
    <20 degrees F. Annoying as hell but goes away after 1-4 minutes
    depending on how could it is.
    jajabinks, Sep 19, 2004
  12. John Smith

    E. Meyer Guest

    Could be the bearings in one of the pulleys or tensioners.
    E. Meyer, Sep 19, 2004
  13. John Smith

    Caroline Guest

    Like Curly said, I would first suspect a belt.

    I replaced my alternator belt and removed, then reinstalled the power steering
    belt earlier this summer (all as part of a bigger job). I immediately started
    getting the screech-at-cold-startup, too.

    It turned out I hadn't tightened the alternator belt sufficiently. I did so, and
    have had no problems since.
    Caroline, Sep 19, 2004
  14. John Smith

    Steve Guest

    Loose belts do this on cold mornings because you have just started the
    engine and the Alt goes into a full load to start replenishing the battery.
    Ya ought to hear it in -20 degree weather
    Steve, Sep 19, 2004
  15. John Smith

    Brian Smith Guest

    That's pretty much everything that I would have tried. Nothing harder to
    find than an intermittent noise or problem.

    Have you left the vehicle at the dealer overnight, so that they have the
    first crack at starting it in the morning? Maybe that way, the noise would
    show itself.

    Brian Smith, Sep 19, 2004
  16. John Smith

    Bubba Guest

    Spend $20 and replace the belt (yourself) or spend $80 and have the
    dealership do it. Do not spray any belt dressing on it because it's really
    sticky and gets all over things and "gloms" up the engine compartment.
    Bubba, Sep 19, 2004
  17. John Smith

    Bubba Guest

    Belt. Definitely. Would bet $100 on it.
    Bubba, Sep 19, 2004
  18. John Smith

    carl Guest

    My power steering pump makes a whining sound when I start the engine on
    real cold mornings (-10 F and below). That noise is different from a
    slipping belt tough. The whine usually fades away within one or two
    minutes. Seems that the PS fluid gets thick and the pump cavitates a bit.

    90 Integra
    carl, Sep 19, 2004
  19. Rubber and rubber-like compounds, unlike other materials, shrink when
    they get hot. A cold belt warms up and shrinks.

    Elliot Richmond
    Freelance Science Writer and Editor
    Elliot Richmond, Sep 19, 2004
  20. John Smith

    motsco_ _ Guest

    Idler bearings usually get noisy when they get HOT, but a belt that
    chirps cold is loose, or 'glazed' as someone else said it. Once the
    engine is warmed up, squirt some water on one of the belts and restart.
    If you get the same noise, that's the belt to tighten. You can also try
    running the fan, headlights, stereo, portable beer fridge, to see if the
    squeeling lasts longer. Then you could guess it's the alternator belt. I
    think Honda belts have to be a lot tighter than they did on cars in the
    'olden days'

    motsco_ _, Sep 19, 2004
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