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My car squeaks while driving, what should I do?

My car squeaks while driving, what should I do?

A squeaking noise while driving can be caused by several things, from a worn-out cambelt to a dodgy alternator. Here’s a list of common squeak-related problems and how to tackle them.

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
minute read
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Posted 30 OCTOBER 2019

A worn-out cambelt

If your car's squeaking when you use your accelerator, the most likely culprit is a loose or worn-out cambelt. If you haven't ever had this replaced and your car has a few years on it, it's worth a trip to the mechanic to have it checked.

A steering system in need of TLC

If squeaking happens when you turn a corner, you guessed it – there’s probably something wrong with your car’s steering system. You may be running low on power steering fluid, in which case a quick top-up should stop the squeaks. If it doesn’t, you might have worn-out ball joints. Or the power steering fluid could be contaminated. This will require the help of a mechanic who’ll drain and replace it for you. And if your steering system just needs a bit of extra lubrication, a professional will be able to diagnose and deal with the problem.

A faulty brake pad

If the squeaking noise happens when you use the brakes, chances are that you’ve got a faulty brake pad (or two, or four). Brake pads nowadays are actually designed to make a noise when they’re worn to the point of replacement. So listen to them – if you don’t act quickly, your car’s rotors may be damaged and this will cost you a lot more to repair than replacement pads.

A dodgy alternator

The average alternator has a good seven years in it. If you hear a squeaking noise coming from your engine, it’s a telltale sign that your car’s alternator could be on the blink. Other signs of a failing alternator include a burning smell and a warning light on your dashboard.

A problem with your tyres

Car screeching can be a symptom of under-inflated tyres or uneven treadwear. A simple trip to the garage should solve it. Or it might just be time to get a new set of tyres, if you’ve had yours for more than 10 years.

Whatever the cause of the squeaking, it’s important to act fast when you notice it. Even minor problems can become more serious (and expensive) to fix if they lead to a breakdown.

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