2012 Kia Rio • 2,000 miles


I've been hearing this really weird noise coming from the left side of the hood (right side if you are in the cabin)since after about 1 week of picking the car up brand new from a dealer.

I would describe it as a chirping/squeeky/metallic noise. The tone of the noise changes rather erratically. I would only hear this intermittently but I'm hearing this more frequently now.

I had taken the car into the service centre twice but on both occassions they failed to nail down where the noise is coming from. They have checked the belt and its tension and they both seemed fine.

I'm now thinking now it could be one of the bearing/s which is faulty.

I've uploaded the audio file which is a recording of the noise. (you can hear my gf saying that I should take the car back to the dealer in

Thanks for your help.
March 24, 2012.

There are 2 areas that can produce such noises and one of them is the tensioner.

The other would be the alternator bearing, if a one way clutch is used for the alternator.

Mar 24, 2012.
Thanks for your quick reply.

I'd like to add that the car is a right hand drive (Australia) and that the technician has looked at the tension of the belt and found it to be fine. Should I still ask them to take a look at the tensioner? To be fair to the technician, the sound is only intermittent and hence they probably could not identify the sound.

Is there any way they could identify the problem whilst the sound is not being produced?

Thanks once again

Mar 24, 2012.
If the noise is not present, it would not be possible for them to find the source of the noise.

When noise occurs, note the tensioner movement. Try turning on and off the A/C to see if there are any changes in the noise.

To test if it is from the alternator, stand by vehicle with hood opened and get someone to turn the engine off. If the noise tapers off after the engine has stopped, it would be the clutch bearing of the alternator pulley.

Mar 24, 2012.
Thank you!

I've already tried the A/C. No difference.

I'm leaning towards the alternator pulley bearing. Thanks for your help.

Do you think the technician would be able to take the bearing out and diagnose the problem on its own?


Mar 24, 2012.
Remove the serpentine belt and try turning the bearing and checking it for side movements.

On vehicle might be a little difficult to test for abnormal noises but if the alternator is out of vehicle, it would be easier to do so.

A stethoscope might help to locate the source.

When noise occurs, try splashing some water onto the serpentine belt and note if noise changes. If yeas, it would not be the alternator bearing.

Mar 24, 2012.