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Q: Engine making high-pitched noise

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The engine is making a high-pitched noise when I first step on the gas pedal when stopped. It also smells like hot rubber or plastic.

A: Hi, this typically points to an issue with ...

Hi, this typically points to an issue with one of your serpentine belts. These belts drive different components on the vehicle such as the water pump, alternator, and A/C compressor. Over time, they will begin to lose their grip which will cause them to slip on the pulleys that they ride on. When they slip, heat builds up due to the friction which can create the burning smell you are experiencing. It may only be an issue with tension, in which case all that would need to be done is to readjust the tensioners. If the car is equipped with A/C, you can test and see if it only happens when the A/C is on. This can help to rule out which belt is causing the issue. This should be checked out soon as the belts are being damaged while they are slipping. If the belts break, there is a chance that they can get caught inside one of the other pulley systems which could cause damage to those components as well. Have a certified technician inspect the belts and pinpoint the source of the noise to help further diagnose and fix the issue.

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