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I recently changed the valve cover gasket on my 2006 Elantra because it was leaking. There was no noise coming from the engine whatsoever before I made the repair. I did extensive research and it seemed like the repair process went smoothly (no more oil leaks since then). After the repair though, a squeaking sound is heard around the drive belt region only right after the engine is turned off. And it happens consistently every time I turn off the engine.

I uploaded a video of this right here.

Does anyone know what is the source of this? why it only showed up after changing the valve cover gasket? If so, do I need to do anything about it since it only happens for a short amount of time when the engine turns off? Thanks in advance!

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You are also getting a squeal when you start the engine. Listen to your video. And I bet that if you rev the engine (quickly increase RPM for a moment) you will get the same squeal at the start of the rev.

It sounds like the serpentine belt. I think you spilled oil on the belt or one of the pulleys or an idler when you did your repair. It only takes a little oil to contaminate the belt. Any oil on the belt will soften it and reduce its life to some degree.

What is the harm? Maybe nothing, but any time the belt is squealing, some accessory is not getting full power. If it were squealing continuously, I would say fix it immediately because that could make you lose your power steering or weaken your battery.

You could take a chance and wait a few days to see if the oil wears off on its own and the squeal stops.

The best repair, of course, would be to remove the belt, clean all the pulleys with solvent such as mineral spirits, replace the tensioner and idler if that's in your budget, or if not, clean them and check for proper function, then install a new serpentine belt. No more squeal.

If you don't have the budget for at least a new belt, you can try a spray can of belt dressing. Use it according to label directions. It will increase the grip of the belt and stop the squealing until you can do a proper serpentine belt renewal.

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  • This makes sense, I actually found an old video of the engine working and it had that same sequel when turned off too (there was an oil leak back then still). The squeal went away now, so that's consistent. The only thing is there was no squeal at high RPM (but maybe I have not tried what you said correctly). Thanks a lot for the comprehensive and thoughtful answer! Nov 20, 2023 at 22:18
  • @RefatIsmail I suggested you may get a squeal not AT high RPM, but during the moment when you go quickly from low to high RPM. Anyway, if you are not changing your belt now, that's OK but you should inspect it every time you do an oil change. Check to see if it has become soft and sticky from oil damage.
    – MTA
    Nov 20, 2023 at 22:26
  • Yes, that's why I was careful to mention that I did not do it fast enough maybe. That sounds good, will check with the next oil change, thanks again! Nov 20, 2023 at 22:50

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