Q: Make loud growling noise for couple days. Then died on highway yesterday. Wont start back up

asked by on

For about a week I'd have to hit the gas a couple times to get it started. Then was making a loud growling sound while driving. Yesterday was driving on the highway rpms went to 0 n the car just died. Won't start back up. All lights and radio turn on but all you can hear while trying to start it is the belt spinning.

My car has 160000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

In my opinion your water pump was making the noise. This is one of many possible scenarios. 160K is roughly the amount of miles that a factory water pump will fail. It is driven by the timing belt. When it shows signs of failure, it will be hard to rotate, and would explain the hesitation to start. Once they are making noise, it is just a matter of time before they fail entirely. One of two things will happen, both with the same result. In one case, the water pump bearing will fail, tilting the pulley until the impeller contacts the engine block, seizing the pump and throwing the belt off. In the other case, it will seize, and the friction and heat will melt and snap the belt. The main issue with this is that your engine is an "interference" engine. This means if that belt fails, valves in the head will be damaged by contact with the piston.

The extent of the damage is only determined by removing the cylinder heads and inspecting the parts. There is a chance that no damage was done, but the fact that you were on the highway, makes this a very slim chance. Minor damage would be bent valves. They can be replaced. Major damage would be broken off valves that destroy the pistons, cylinder heads, and cylinders. In either case, it will be a labor intensive job. In my personal experience, it was cheaper to buy a used engine then to repair the old one.

Here’s what you need to do. Have the car’s stalling issue inspected by a mechanic. Check for trouble codes. Inspect the timing belt by removing one of the top covers. If it is shredded, then all of the above applies. If it looks intact, your problem could be something simple. I have seen some of the rubber teeth come off the timing belt. They fall down and get caught in the crankshaft sensor. It breaks the sensor, but it prevents the engine from running and causing major damage. The timing belt has to be removed to replace the crankshaft sensor. This is a good time to inspect all off the other pulleys and bearings. If they have not been replaced, now would be a good time.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Make loud growling noise for couple days. Then died on highway yesterday. Wont start back up

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: All of the electrical components shut down slowly while driving

Most manufacturers use a voltage regulator (part of the alternator) to keep the system voltage near 13 volts. This keeps the battery charging in almost all conditions, no matter what accessories you are running. Honda uses a device called an...

Q: Fans not working, and car overheats

If your fans are not coming on, that is likely why the vehicle is overheating when still. This may or may not be related to the air conditioning not functioning correctly. I would recommend having a professional technician, such as...

Q: Rotors replaced several times as they get warped quite quickly

Rotor warpage generally occurs when too much heat builds up and cannot be transferred away from the rotor. Heavy braking, a lot of stop and go traffic, heavier than normal vehicle loads, heavy or oversized custom wheels, sticking calipers -...

Related articles

Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
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...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.