Q: Whining noise, now car is dead

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I noticed a loud whining noise when I started up my 2006 Honda Civic the other day. The whining got progressively worse and then the lights began to flicker, so I turned the car off. Now it won’t even start! The sound was like a belt or something at the front of the engine. What part could have broken to cause all of these problems? How can I get this serviced without it costing me an arm and a leg?

From the way you describe your concern, it leads me to believe that you do have something going on with the belt drive or possibly the charging system. For your safety, the belt drive, which is driven by the crankshaft and is under a great deal of tension, should be looked by a technician so the root cause of the noise can be found. There are multiple items on the belt drive that can make noise such as the A/C compressor, alternator, idler, and belt tensioner. The technician may remove the belt during inspection, check all the pulleys, and manually rotate the engine to see what parts have failed. If a seized component is found, it would need to be replaced. Then the belt(s) can be reinstalled and tested to ensure everything is working properly. If the belt drive system in working order, then the charging system will need to be looked at, testing both the battery and alternator. If the battery or alternator have failed, they would need to be replaced. To have your vehicle inspected, please contact YourMechanic and one of our technicians will be happy to assist.

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