Q: Loss of power and squalling noise

asked by on May 01, 2016

I have a 2001 Chevy Impala 3.4 liter base when I step on the gas I have loss of power in a loud squealing noise I would like to know if it is a harmonic balancer pulley going out

My car has 175000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A bad harmonic balancer typically causes a vibration or knocking noise, not a squeal or loss of power.

If the squealing noise is coming from the belt area, you likely have a problem with any of the other components of the belt system dragging on the belt. First, the belt tension needs to be inspected for deflection or being loose. Next, the noise needs to be limited down to an general area of the belt system. After that, remove the belt and each pulley (alternator, power steering, tensioner, A/C) needs to be tested for drag or lateral play. Even a dying battery can cause the alternator to overwork and cause a belt squeal. A basic inspection both visually and physically should indicate a problem. A dragging pulley can cause a loss of power.

If the squealing is not coming from the belt area, then it needs to be pin-pointed to where it is coming from.

The loss of power could also be related to a weak fuel pump, a clogged catalytic converter, a bad mass air flow sensor, a slow oxygen sensor, or a vast list of other less common items. If your check engine light is on, I would have the codes scanned and address those first.

Maybe the two problems are related or they could be two completely separate issues altogether.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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


Experienced Mechanic?

Earn up to $65/hr

What others are asking

Car making squeaking and growling noise from under the hood by alternator

The shaking and stalling out as you describe can be caused by a variety of issues. When this happens there is likely a Check Engine Light on that should register a fault code in the car's computer. I would recommend...

The engine stopped working suddenly

BMW has a TSB (technical service bulletin) on this. A faulty oil level sensor can cause this, as the power to this sensor is shared with the transmission range selection switch. If the transmission range selection switch loses power, the...

How to in bent the little corner of my car door?.

This is not something that is easily "bent" back into place without causing further damage. Depending on the specific location, the size of the dent and depth of the scratch, this may have to be repaired by an auto body...

Dome lights will not turn on when door opened, radio will not turn off when car is off and door is opened.

Hello, thank you for writing in. The vehicle is likely having issues with the door switch which activates/shuts down both circuits. This is going to look like a peg in the door frame next to the hinge. The peg that...

Front engine seal is leaking

Hello, if the front crankshaft seal is leaking, the only way to stop the leak is to replace the seal. The harmonic damper needs to removed for access to the seal. Other parts may have to be removed like the...

Bypass air conditioning compressor

Hi Francisco. Although we appreciate the question, we can't recommend attempting to bypass the AC system and installing an alternate serpentine belt. This type of repair often creates multiple issues and is not a recommended resolution.

I got a alternator replaced on my car and now the Check Engine Light is on with the Battery Light. My headlights are still blinking.

Hi and thanks for contacting YourMechanic. This sounds like there is a loose ground or a wire was not hooked up to the alternator correctly. Check all of the wiring when that was removed when the alternator and battery was...

What could be cause of coolant leak after replacing cap and low fan relay? 2012 Chevrolet Cruze

Coolant leaks can originate from a few different places. A pressure check of the cooling system can be performed, subjecting the entire system to higher-than-normal pressures under controlled circumstances to find weak points. Leaks could be coming from hoses, hose...

It was running fine. I killed it a stop it set for about an hour, then it wouldn't start. It does start but sputtering, but won't stay running.

Hi there. Sounds like the fuel pump is not failing and causing the engine to starve for fuel and causing the engine to sputter after sitting for a little time. Check the fuel pump relay and see if its getting...

Related articles

2012 Ford F-150 vs. 2012 Chevrolet Silverado: Which One Should I Buy?
When you’re ready to really get some work done, there’s nothing like a full size pickup truck. These trucks are ready to haul a big load and really get in there and get busy. SUVs are great for moving people,...
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro
The The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro is an exciting car that says a lot about American drivers and what we want. While fuel prices are high and the economy is just barely starting to resurge and stabilize after years of recession,...
The Best Used Cars to Buy if You're Hauling a Horse Trailer
Horse Horse owners need a vehicle with towing capacity. Depending on the size of your trailer and the weight of your horse or horses, you probably won’t be able to get away with less than a 3,000-pound towing capacity, and...