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Nissan Xterra squeals when starting with car warm. (It is not the belts :)

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New User

Dec 1, 2011, 2:53 AM

Post #1 of 5 (2871 views)
Nissan Xterra squeals when starting with car warm. (It is not the belts :) Sign In

I have a 2003 Nissan Xterra, about 87,000 miles

My issue:
When I start my car when warm, it squeals like a pig. At first it was quieter and last a second or 2. Now it is LOUD and lasts 5+ secs. Please note, it does not squeal first thing in the morning when its cool, but if start it during the heat of the day or a second start after I have been driving it for a bit, it is there, embarrassing the crap out of me.

About 6 months ago, the car was squealing anytime I started it and also very quietly when i started the A/C. I had all 3 belts of my car changed out at this time and the noise went away. Then, it came back a couple weeks ago. The shop (and I) assumed it was the same problem, but the belts looked fine. Since they were all under warranty, they wondered if it was something to do with the material and so replaced them all again for free (I didn't complain!). Noise did not go away this time though and as I said, has progressed. This shop is very small and they said that they "thought" it might be the water pump, which they don't do. They have referred me to another shop, but they can't take me for another week and a half. In the meantime, I wanted to see if anyone had any ideas, in case this shop tries to pull the "lets just replace everything" tactic. I am not sure it is the water pump, since it is only when I start and car is not getting hot at all. Thank you for any and all ideas!

Veteran / Moderator

Dec 1, 2011, 3:43 AM

Post #2 of 5 (2847 views)
Re: Nissan Xterra squeals when starting with car warm. (It is not the belts :) [In reply to] Sign In

I wouldn't be so quick to rule out the belts. What you are describing is a belt noise to a T... It is possible there could be something else going on..
If you can get the noise to happen while the vehicle is sitting still it should be fairly easy to tell where the noise is coming from...

Rather than you going into the 2nd shop & telling them what the noise is and isn't. It would be better to just tell them what previous work was done, what noise/problem you are having now and LET them tell you what the problem is...


New User

Dec 1, 2011, 4:07 AM

Post #3 of 5 (2836 views)
Re: Nissan Xterra squeals when starting with car warm. (It is not the belts :) [In reply to] Sign In

I definitely agree with you on letting them do the troubleshooting. In fact, I spoke with them on the phone with the symptoms, and he was the one who said it is probably not the belts (since the belts were in good shape before, noise persisted after changing and since typically the belts squeal worse when cold and I seem to be having the opposite problem) or the water pump (since my car is not overheating), but would have to wait until he got to hear/see the car to decide. (Do others agree with his thoughts on the belts and pump?) I was just wondering if there is anyone out there that have seem to similar problems so I am not going into a car repair shop I've never dealt with before, blind. I don't know anyone that is "good" with cars here on island to help me try and find the noise and I am not about to poke around myself! Our just listening to the car was hard to make out where it came from. Someone told me it may be a pulley system problem. Possibility?

(This post was edited by jenniferlv on Dec 1, 2011, 4:10 AM)

Veteran / Moderator

Dec 1, 2011, 4:40 AM

Post #4 of 5 (2826 views)
Re: Nissan Xterra squeals when starting with car warm. (It is not the belts :) [In reply to] Sign In

That is true that "normally" if it is a belt problem, it will be worse when it's cold.
Most bearing noises are usually all the time and get louder as they get worse but nothing is 100%.

If the problem is in one of the belts or belt driven accessories, then it should be fairly easy for them to pinpoint. If for whatever reason the problem is a little deeper in the engine, then they should still be able to pinpoint the area it's coming from but more than likely would have to do a teardown on it to determine the exact problem...


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator

Dec 1, 2011, 5:04 AM

Post #5 of 5 (2822 views)
Re: Nissan Xterra squeals when starting with car warm. (It is not the belts :) [In reply to] Sign In

With Sidom w this and don't rule out belt(s) yet. I've had belt scream like a stuck pig withing 10 miles and others stay quiet for the life of them. You can't just look and see no obvious flaws as some are just better than others.

NAPA belts I haven't had a problem with so far. Goodyear, Dayco have been fine and specifically make "quiet" belts.

Test: Spray some water just on the belts when you expect the noise and if changed or gone I'll blame the belts quality not capable of staying quiet with now shinned up pulleys.

Checked but you need to state what engine apparently or I can't give you OE replacement #s.

What Is. are you on? If not one of the more populous ones (been to a few) you mail order and wait or the techs do. Seems like you don't have a lot of experienced techs where you are?

Long retired now

Nissan Xterra squeals when starting with car warm. (It is not the belts :)

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