Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Dies out at start, squealing/whistling sound, battery light comes on when it dies and wont stay running unless hold my foot the on gas.

asked by on

Bad on cold mornings.

My car has 200000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A motor needs more fuel to run cold than it does after it warms up. There are number of conditions that can exist that will create this problem. First I will address a few things you mentioned in your question.

The squealing sound is commonly a belt slipping when the motor is cold. This will not contribute to your car dying unless there is a pulley the belt turns that is not turning. In which case, the belt will squeal non stop. I am assuming the squeal goes away once your car warms up.

You also stated there is a whistling sound. If this sound could be a vacuum leak, which would make the fuel requirements even higher if this is the case. The whistling could be associated with the belt noise as well, but I can not be certain without directly inspecting your car. Also, it is normal for the battery light to come on when the car dies. If you turn your key on without the starting the motor, you will see all the lights on your dash turn on for a moment. This is a bulb check sequence. Some will stay on and others will go off after the bulb check with the key on and the motor off.

Some things than contribute to your car dying when cold but running when warm are low fuel pressure, vacuum leak and a faulty ECT (engine coolant temperature) sensor. These are the items that need to be checked first.

If you should require help with this diagnosis, I recommend the following inspection to help you out. Car starts and dies

Good luck!

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!
  • Home
  • Questions
  • Dies out at start, squealing/whistling sound, battery light comes on when it dies and wont stay running unless hold my foot the on gas.

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Where is the circuit one camshaft position sensor located?

Hello. The camshaft position sensor is located on the passenger side of the engine bay, on the cylinder head near the coolant reservoir tank. The reservoir tank needs to be removed in order to access it. If you need help...

Q: Where is the vehicle identification number (VIN)?

The vehicle identification number (VIN) is the legal identifier for your vehicle. You can find your VIN on the left side of the dashboard, where it meets the windshield.

Q: I cannot shift gears.

The bottom of the gear shifter tube attached to the shifter cable and when you move the shifter it moves the shift cable. On these vehicles they may have a few different issues like the shift tube broke, the bottom...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...