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Q: Squealing noise coming from hood while idling

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Whenever my car is idling in neutral (without the clutch pressed), a squealing sound comes from the hood, which varies from being extremely faint to noticeable from inside the car. Whenever I touch the clutch at all, it instantly goes away. The same noise is produced when I'm driving slowly without the clutch pressed in 1st or 2nd gear at below 1800 rpm. I seems like it could be from a belt or from the clutch itself but I don't know enough to diagnose it. It seems to happen more frequently on cold days, however it doesn't go away when the engine's warms up.

My car has 150000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

The situation you are describing sounds like it is probably coming from the throwout bearing on the clutch. These bearing are considered "sealed" units, that don’t have provisions for maintenance. Over time, the bearing will accumulate debris, and the lubricant sealed inside will deteriorate, hence why they begin to make noise. This is a very common sign of a bearing that is beginning to fail and there is no way to guess how long the bearing will last before it fails completely. I’ve seen them last a matter of days, or in some cases, they may last for several months, before going out completely. The only fix for a failing throwout bearing is to pull the transmission and replace it. It is highly recommended to go ahead and replace the clutch while you are in there. If this is something you will need a hand replacing, be sure to contact a certified mechanic, like those available at YourMechanic.com.

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