I've had really, really loud belt squeal since sometime in December. I fixed it for a while with some belt conditioner, but it started up again and has recently gotten much worse. So this week I treated the belt again a few days ago and then treated it again this afternoon before going to run an errand.
While I was driving to my errand I noticed a gravelly rattle occurring somewhere in the engine, so I came home, googled a little to see what I needed to do next.
I can say definitively now (after almost being run over by my daughter who was working the gas and brake) the rattle:
- Only occurs at about 1500 rpm's
- Only occurs when the car is in Drive (3rd, 2nd, L all the same)
- Is definitely on the right (passenger) side of the car. This is the same side where the belt and all pulleys are.
- Revving the engine up past ~1800 rpm's there is no noise
- If the car is in Park or Neutral there is no noise
I'm thinking that the most likely culprit is a bearing, but I'd like to hear the opinions of those that know more and most particularly whether this is likely to be a critical "don't drive your car except to the mechanic" issue or if I can keep driving the car until I have the opportunity to get it in to the mechanic.