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There is a short squealing noise (sounds like a belt maybe?) when I start the engine, but not every time. It's been happening for a few weeks now. Last week my battery was dead so I replaced it, could there be a connection there?

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Yes, the squealing is most assuredly associated with the dead battery and symptoms you describe. What is probably happening is either the serpentine belt is worn out (hard to diagnose due to how it wears) and/or the tensioner pulley is not providing enough traction for the belt. On start-up, the alternator works overtime trying to charge the battery of the juice you just used to get the engine running. If the belt is making noise, this is caused from slippage. After a little bit when the battery is nearly charged the alternator isn't under as much load and the belt gets hot from the friction of slipping, it will usually stop making noise. As time goes on, the belt will make noise longer and longer upon start-up, usually due to the belt becoming more worn out.

  • +1 Agree. At least ensure the alternator belt tension is correct. Just maybe some grip spray (getting desperate). A new battery MAY have not been fully charged but it should become so after "not much " running. Sometimes this sort of squealing occurs when moving off from rest as the alternator output capability rises and the battery takes advantage of it. In such cases a short extra idling period may help top the battery up at lower load BUT ideally fix the root cause soon or the belt will suffer end you are in a fatal loop. – Russell McMahon May 19 '15 at 7:51

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