Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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.

A: In my opinion your water pump was making th...

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?

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

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: RKE and TPMS problems

As strange as it seems, I'm positive this is a coincidence. The most likely cause of the remote key system only working part of the time is due to a low battery. The batteries in remote keys do not last...

Q: Ac compressor fuse blows 2004 Ford Taurus

Hi there - from your symptoms, it sounds like your AC compressor clutch has locked up, or the clutch bearing has seized, such that the serpentine belt tries to turn the compressor whenever you start the engine. (REALLY problematic if...

Q: When putting foot on accelerator, brake, or shifter, car dies

There are some technical bulletins for replacing the ECU on your 2005 Kia Amanti for drivability problems. With what you said, what they want to do is along these lines. They may be able to reprogram the computer or need...

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...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
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...