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Summary
  • If your car is making a chirping noise, you might be dealing with a worn serpentine belt, a failed belt tensioner, or a bad wheel bearing.
  • Feathered or worn tires, a failed u-joint, and a bad throw out bearing can also cause your car to make chirping noises.
  • Other alarming car noises you should watch out for are pinging sounds, squealing noises when braking, and grinding noises from your transmission.

You shouldn’t ignore unusual sounds coming from your engine because they give you a clue about your vehicle’s condition. For example, a chirping sound in a car can indicate several issues that should be addressed immediately.

Possible Reasons Why Your Car is Making a Chirping Noise

A chirping noise can mean there’s an issue with your serpentine belt or wheel bearings. Problems with components like the belt tensioner pulley, rocker arms, and u-joints can also cause a chirping noise.

serpentine belt or wheel bearing causing chirping noise
A chirping noise can mean there’s an issue with your serpentine belt or wheel bearings.

Let’s take a closer look at each problem.

Worn Serpentine Belt

A worn serpentine belt can cause belt slippage, which means that it can lose its grip on the pulleys. If that happens, you might hear a chirping noise while driving your vehicle, which could increase when you accelerate. It’s also important to consider the possibility of coolant coming into contact with the belt, as it can also cause a similar noise.

A worn-out belt will usually appear glazed. So if you have the tools to inspect your serpentine belt, look for signs of glazing.

Some mechanics and DIYers use a type of oil or lubricant (WD-40) to verify if it’s the belt that’s causing the noise. If the noise goes away when the belt is lubricated, the problem is probably the texture or the condition of the worn-out belt.

It’s also important to consider the possibility of coolant coming into contact with the belt, as it can also cause a similar noise.

Anthony Harlin, ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician

Failed Belt Tensioner

The belt tensioner keeps your serpentine belt aligned and tensioned. So if it fails, there wouldn’t be enough tension for the belt to run smoothly, which could create chirping noises when your vehicle is running.

See also  Best Wheel Bearing Brands

Bad Wheel Bearing

If the chirping noise is coming from the wheel, you might be facing a wheel bearing issue. The noise might change in intensity when you slow down, speed up, and make turns. It could also go away for some time.

Wheel bearing issues should not be ignored because they can cause your brake rotors to wobble, causing brake issues. In the worst case, your wheels could come off, causing you to lose control of your vehicle.

Watch for other signs of wheel bearing issues and take your ride to an auto repair shop if you spot some.

Feathered or Worn Tires

A chirping noise coming from the rear of your vehicle can mean there’s an issue with your tires.

A worn-out tire can have uneven tire tread and depth, making it hard for it to stay in contact with the road. It will also be difficult to make abrupt turns. While tire issues are often linked to squeaking or squealing noises, there are times when the noise sounds more like chirping.

Tire feathering can also mean there’s an issue with your suspension, so it’s best to have a mechanic check your ride.

Failed U-Joint

A malfunctioning driveshaft u-joint can also cause chirping sounds. The noise becomes more noticeable when you drive slowly.

See also  Underhood Checks

A u-joint connects your driveshaft to the other parts of your drivetrain. It acts as a rotating junction to ensure the smooth transfer of power from the engine to the wheels.

It must be lubricated to work properly. If your u-joint is dry or worn out, it can make a chirping sound. You might also hear clicking or squealing.

Bad Throw Out Bearing

If your vehicle is equipped with a clutch and you hear chirping noises, consider the possibility that the throw out bearing needs replacement.

This bearing is crucial to the operation of the clutch mechanism because it pushes against the pressure plate to disengage the clutch disc. You’ll notice the sound near the transmission of your vehicle.

Other Alarming Car Noises to Watch Out for

Aside from hearing a chirping sound from the engine, here are other car noises that you shouldn’t ignore.

Pinging

A ping is a tell-tale sign of an ignition-related issue. It usually occurs during premature ignition, when a pocket of air and fuel mixture detonates at the wrong time—ahead of the spark produced by the spark plug.

If you don’t address the issue, you can risk damaging critical engine components like your fuel filter, fuel injector, and distributor cap.

Squealing Noise When Braking

A squealing noise could be a sign of a brake issue. It usually means your brake pad indicator is rubbing against your rotor.

Although this isn’t an emergency, you might want to let a mechanic inspect your braking system. Worn-out rotors or pads should be replaced immediately to prevent braking issues.

Transmission Grinding

Hearing a grinding noise coming from your transmission is a cause for concern. If you hear the grinding noise when you shift gears, it could mean your vehicle lacks transmission fluid.

Worn synchronizer blocking rings, shift forks, and bearings can also cause grinding noises.

Roaring and Rumbling Under the Rear

A leak or crack in the exhaust system can cause a loud roaring or rumbling sound coming from underneath the driver’s seat. Once the exhaust system fails, all the excess sounds and vibrations are funneled into the car.

See also  5 Possible Reasons Why Your Car Shakes When Braking

Address issues in the exhaust system immediately. If left unresolved, carbon monoxide can enter your cabin through the vents and poison you.

Where to Get a New Serpentine Belt for Your Vehicle

Driving around with a worn-out serpentine belt means trouble. If left unresolved, you could face a very expensive repair bill. Replacing a damaged serpentine belt isn’t that expensive, and it’s extremely easy to buy one when you go to CarParts.com.

Enjoy shopping from the comfort of your home with CarParts.com’s mobile-friendly app and easy-to-navigate website. All you have to do is enter your vehicle’s year, make, and model into our vehicle selector to start browsing for direct-fit serpentine belts for your ride.

Our OE-grade serpentine belts are carefully handpicked by a team of industry professionals, leaving no room for you to second-guess their quality.

Shopping on a tight budget? We’ve got you covered. All our products come with a low-price guarantee, so you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank for your repairs. Order now, and check out securely in a matter of minutes.

With CarParts.com’s strategically located warehouses across the US, you can get your new serpentine belt delivered straight to your doorstep in as fast as two business days. You can also claim a lifetime replacement benefit for your purchase.

Shop for a serpentine belt today, and take advantage of our unbeatable deals!

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Technical Reviewer at CarParts.com

Tony Harlin is a Master Gas and Diesel Diagnostic Technician with over 18 years of experience. He works full-time at a large independent automotive shop as a driveability and repair technician working on all types of vehicles with a focus on diesels. ASE certifications include A1-A9, L1 and L2, as well as X1.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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Elizabeth Robertson

Mine chirps with no thins or reason. Usually going down a straight road or highway. Everything has been checked. This is pretty intermittent. Definitely on inside. Maybe some sensor or something

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