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Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: clay
Date: November 04, 2009 07:17AM
My wife's 1998 nissan altima has recently started doing a high pitched squeal when she leaves for work in the morning and does a hard turn of the wheel to do a u-turn in our street. The squeal is continuous and lasts as long as she has the wheel turned doing the U-turn. I did some reading online and it seems as though it's either a belt of some sort, or the power steering.

Anyone have any ideas as to what this could be, and what I can expect to pay when I take it in for repair?
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: Lux Interior
Date: November 04, 2009 07:31AM
Quote
clay
I did some reading online and it seems as though it's either a belt of some sort, or the power steering.

That would be my expert opinion.







I am not an expert.
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: billb
Date: November 04, 2009 07:34AM
Don't do U-turns .


Could be power steering belt tension.
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: mikebw
Date: November 04, 2009 07:39AM
Agree with belt tension. Probably time to replace, but might be possible to just tighten.
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: clay
Date: November 04, 2009 07:40AM
thanks for your ideas.

is this a $50 part plus labor, or a $500 part plus labor? Just trying to get a sense for what this is going to cost me...
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: mikebw
Date: November 04, 2009 07:53AM
The part should be like $20-30, but labor could be a lot depending on the type of engine. Figure about $85 per hour, maybe 1 hour. You could call for an estimate as this is a fairly routine thing.
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: Fred_Also
Date: November 04, 2009 07:55AM
Quote
clay
thanks for your ideas.

is this a $50 part plus labor, or a $500 part plus labor? Just trying to get a sense for what this is going to cost me...

$50 part plus labor - taken to a local mechanic

$500 part plus labor - taken back to the dealer


I assume it has a serpentine belt which run up to the $50 mark. Labor to install - $60 to $100 (depending on your location).

That's just my guess and I'm not an expert, just a home mechanic. I, myself, would get a belt at AutoZone and install it myself.


Fred Also
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: clay
Date: November 04, 2009 07:59AM
thanks, again, all. good to know it's on the low-end of the cost scale.
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: bruceko
Date: November 04, 2009 08:39AM
Check the fluid in the power steering pump.
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: tenders
Date: November 04, 2009 09:44AM
Ditto bruceko - check the level of the power steering fluid. When it gets low and the wheels are turned hard in either direction, the pump will squeal. A $5 fix.
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: clay
Date: November 04, 2009 09:47AM
is the power steering fluid something I can just top off, or would I need to flush it all first so the new/old don't mix?
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: davester
Date: November 04, 2009 09:49AM
Yep, what those guys said above. If the fluid is OK and the belt ONLY squeals when the wheel is at full lock, then don't worry about it. Also note that some vehicles take a specific kind of power steering fluid.




"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: testcase
Date: November 04, 2009 10:04AM
Time to trade in car & wife?
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: Michael
Date: November 04, 2009 10:39AM
Now you're about to get a comment from somebody who knows virtually nothing about cars. But...

I seem to recall that when a front wheel drive car squeals when making a hard turn it might be that the boots on the universal joints had broken/split/degraded and the lubrication was lost and so the universal joints needed replacing.

But, maybe not...
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: tenders
Date: November 04, 2009 11:03AM
> is the power steering fluid something I can just top off

Just top it off. Quick-change oil places can flush it for you but I don't think that's money well spent. If you want to change (or at least freshen) it yourself, I'd top it off, drive the car a few days, use a squeeze bulb to remove whatever you can get out of the fluid tank, and fill it back up again. Maybe do this 2-3 times.

The sound you're hearing could be the boots on the CV joints as Michael suggests. That's more than you'll want to do yourself, and probably a several-hundred-dollar repair, but first you should rule out the power steering fluid.
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: Cary
Date: November 04, 2009 11:09AM
Quote
Michael
Now you're about to get a comment from somebody who knows virtually nothing about cars. But...

I seem to recall that when a front wheel drive car squeals when making a hard turn it might be that the boots on the universal joints had broken/split/degraded and the lubrication was lost and so the universal joints needed replacing.

But, maybe not...

That's not a high pitched squeal - that's a grumbling, full of rocks in a bag sound...
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: clay
Date: November 04, 2009 11:18AM
I'll try the steering fluid tip.

I certainly hope it's not the boots on the CV joints--had them replaced just a year or two ago for several hundred bucks (and less than a couple thousand miles ago). If I have to replace them again this soon, I'll not be a happy camper.

Quote
tenders
> is the power steering fluid something I can just top off

Just top it off. Quick-change oil places can flush it for you but I don't think that's money well spent. If you want to change (or at least freshen) it yourself, I'd top it off, drive the car a few days, use a squeeze bulb to remove whatever you can get out of the fluid tank, and fill it back up again. Maybe do this 2-3 times.

The sound you're hearing could be the boots on the CV joints as Michael suggests. That's more than you'll want to do yourself, and probably a several-hundred-dollar repair, but first you should rule out the power steering fluid.
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: Thrift Store Scott
Date: November 04, 2009 11:33AM
Quote
davester
Yep, what those guys said above. If the fluid is OK and the belt ONLY squeals when the wheel is at full lock, then don't worry about it. Also note that some vehicles take a specific kind of power steering fluid.
ALL vehicle use a specific type of power steering fluid; be sure to check the owner's manual for which type of power steering fluid the car in question uses because the two most common types (literal "power steering fluid" ((labeled as such)) for GM vehicles and automatic transmission fluid "Type F" for Ford vehicles) are NOT compatible, and one or the other or perhaps even a third type is used for other cars.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/04/2009 11:35AM by Thrift Store Scott.
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: November 04, 2009 11:36AM
do NOT go above the recommended amount of fluid. you could blow the seals by doing so, and then you're in for a world of hurt (read: money).
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: modelamac
Date: November 04, 2009 11:36AM
Stop and think about it, guys. The description is that it squeals when making a hard turn, such as in a u-turn.

Low power steering fluid would make the pump noisy all of the time, and that would a whine, not squealing.

Half-shaft boots torn/leaking would produce no squealing, but more likely clicks/clunks on hard turns, and likely some noise going straight if bad enough.

Serpentine belts connect everything - alternator, p/s, water pump, AC compressor. If it is a serpentine belt, with no teeth on it, it would squeal under load such as acceleration, turning or not.

Belts squeal when loose and under strain. Tighten power steering pump belt, or replace if badly worn.



Mr. Curmudgeon, on Yosemite and Mavericks.
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: Fred_Also
Date: November 04, 2009 11:46AM
Is it too late for 'Cash for Clunkers' ?


Just kidding!

Fred Also
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: mrthuse
Date: November 04, 2009 12:32PM
Have the same noise issue w/ my 99 Ranger on turns (200K miles). My mechanic looked it over and announced ball joints and tie rod ends - not replaced since I bought it 155K ago. Doing this next week.
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: Carm
Date: November 04, 2009 01:43PM
A whining noise is usually a belt that is loose/old/cracked and slipping. Other problems to consider, could be the belt tensioner crapping out or power steering pump getting ready to seize and need replacing.

mrthuse, that would be a clunking noise when turning. I have a 98 Ranger and the same problem. Ball joints and tie rod ends. Make sure to get it realigned after the procedure.



Joe
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: lafinfil
Date: November 04, 2009 01:58PM
Quote
Fred_Also
Is it too late for 'Cash for Clunkers' ?


Just kidding!

Fred Also

Deals for Squeals ?



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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: billb
Date: November 04, 2009 02:31PM
Has that Altima had any recent upgrades ?
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Re: Car Trouble question - High-pitched squealing with hard turns. what is it?
Posted by: Speedy
Date: November 04, 2009 08:52PM
Tell her to not turn the wheel until it stops. Or have her back off a few degrees after turning the wheel until it stops. You may be low on power steering fluid but it could squeal even when properly filled.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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