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jeepchickee 11-28-2012 06:47 PM

ABS and Break Lights On with Loud Screeching Noise when Shifting Gears
Hi Guys,

I've searched this forum and Google and can't find anyone with a similar Jeep problem as mine. I hope you guys can help me understand what could be going on.

As I was pulling my vehicle into my garage I put my car gear in park and my car made a loud screeching noise that wouldn't stop. The ABS and emergency Brake light both came on immediately. So I moved the gear to reverse and the loud noise stopped (while in reverse). I then shifted the gear from reverse to drive and heard the screeching noise in between the switching of gears, then no screeching when put in drive gear. I knew I had to turn my car off. So I attempted to put the gear in park again and the loud screeching noise happened again and didn't stop. So I put the gear in neutral to turn it off in a neutral gear but the loud screeching noise happened while in neutral as well!!! About 4 minutes had passed, I had to turn the car off because it has a current overheating issue and I could smell it getting hot. So I turned it off in neutral instead of park or drive...hoping that was my safest option. Now I'm too afraid to turn my car back on.

Does anyone know what the problem could be?

I'm going to take my car to a mechanic, but I've taken it all year long for other things related to "car starting problems". They couldn't solve the starting problems. I am low on funds right now, and too afraid to start it up because I could make the problem worse. I need to have some sort of an idea what the problem could be. My Jeep has been stressing me out all year. I've planned to keep it forever because I am a Jeep lover (love the old Jeep Cherokees from the 70's). Thought my 2002 would last forever if I took care of it. This is my only transportation. Please help :-( I've never had ANY issues with my Jeep in 10 years outside of a defective fan/ radiator overheating in 2006/07 (?) which was a recalled part. I've had problems every other month this year, 2012. I've listed my Jeeps details and problem history below since a few issues were never solved by my mechanic.


2002/Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo/128,000 miles/V6/Great running condition for first 10 years


Jan (10 months ago) - Car wouldn't start if parked on a slight/barely incline parking spot. Checked alarm removable chip no problem there. Had to barely tap gear shift forward with finger while in park, then it would start. Mechanic said it started for him with no problem. NOTHING WAS FIXED. I just cross my fingers when I leave work and stores.

April (7 months ago) months - Jeep overheated if idling for 5 minutes or more with AC on (like stuck in traffic jam). Mechanic put a new radiator fan and fan relay in.

May (6 months ago) - Heard tires grinding. Got new brake pads and new rotors on all 4 tires at Goodyear. Plus an oil change and fluid top offs.

June (5 months ago) - Car would not start if parked on a flat surface (previously had prob on slight inclines only). Barely tapping gear shift forward with finger no longer worked. Tow truck man pulled the emergency break handle up. Then my car started.

Sept (2 months ago) - Jeep started overheating AGAIN if idling for 5 minutes+. Or, if I drive 30 minutes with AC on. Mechanic put 2nd "new" fan relay in. IT DIDN'T SOLVE THE PROBLEM. Now I can't be stuck in a traffic jam or a drive-thru.

Sept (2 months ago) - Car would not start again. Tapping gear shift with finger didn't work. Lifting emergency break handle up didn't work. Searched web forum and learned that if I put the car in neutral it will start. It worked. Started the car in neutral twice per month in Sept and Oct 2012.

Nov (1 1/2 weeks ago) - Check engine light came on. Took it to AutoZone for scan. Code P0422 Small evaporation control system leak. Got a new gas cap. New cap didn't solve the problem. Saw on a web forum that someone disconnected battery to reset car. A friend did that. The check engine light went off. Has not come back on.

Nov (Last week) - 1.4 year old Die Hard battery died (Sears Auto said the 100+ degree Las Vegas summer temps drains batteries). A friend cleaned the connectors with WD40 and put the new battery in.

Nov (Yesterday) - The ABS, Break light and gear screeching problem that's describe in the post above.

I've listed my 2012 Problems/History because it's weird that I've gone 10 years of no problems then BAM my car is breaking down. I know it's an old vehicle, but it looks brand new, I use only quality gas, and it's well maintained every 3,000 miles.

Please help.

Thank YOU in advance!

Amanda - A Sad Jeep Lover

dave1123 11-28-2012 07:22 PM

Sorry to hear about your troubles, Amanda. I have a 00 Grand Cherokee Laredo (WJ), so we are talking the same language. I think your starting problem is simply a switch adjustment on the linkage. It's possible, and I only mean possible, there is something wrong with your torque convertor or drive plate for the transmission. On the fan problem, you can hotwire the fan circuit directly to the ignition circuit so the fan will run anytime the ignition is on. Shouldn't be a problem in Vegas. You need all the cooling you can get. You might look into getting an auxillery trans cooler if you don't have one. The jeeps with the "tow package" have one.

As to why your ABS light and brake light are on, I really don't have much of a clue. I had a problem with my front brakes not working, but it never set a light. I just changed the fluid and bled the brakes, took care of my problem. I occasionally get an ABS light but disappears after the next startup.

IMO, take it to a good transmission shop for diagnosis. One that won't tell you you need a rebuild when you don't.

By the way. WELCOME TO CF! Most of us will help you all we can. That's what we're for, helping and sharing.

Bustedback 11-28-2012 08:32 PM

I would start by checking the serp belt tension and look for any seized pulleys.

dave1123 11-29-2012 06:57 AM

Leave it to Busted to think out of the box! It's possible, although why doesn't it make noise in gear?

jeepchickee 11-29-2012 04:18 PM

Thanks for the welcome and suggestions dave1123! Thanks Bustedback for your suggestions too!


I started my car today to record a video of the sound, and the ABS and break lights were no longer on. The engine is no longer making the loud screeching noise. I test drove it around the block and it appears to be back to normal.

I failed to mention in my original post that my car was parked on the side of the street curb, and I decided to move it into the garage. I moved forward a little then turned the wheel right to enter the driveway but I did not go forward enough, so the back right tire hit the curb kind of sideways (I hope this makes sense).

The ABS and break lights came on a few seconds later, once i put the gear in park. I didn't put two and two together. I'm thinking the ABS/Break lights came on because I hit the curb too hard (???).

As for the loud noise, I did a noise check online and watched a few videos on YT and the noise I heard was just like the noise on the video called "Answers Why is my engine screeching? on YT." The guy said it's your belt screeching in most cases. In his case it was his alternator belt that needed tightening.

As suggested by Bustedback, I checked my belt tension and pulley. The belt tension looks/feels fine. I also remembered I had a new pulley put in 7 months because my engine made a light squeaking noise when cold. So hopefully the pulley is fine since it's not old.

Just noticed right now that the check engine light stays on if the ignition is in the on position, but, when i start the car the check engine light goes away.

Well I'm going to follow dave1123 suggestion and go get a diagnostic since I'm now comfortable driving the car.

I'll post my results here in case it could help someone with similar car symptoms. Looking forward to contributing here to help others solve their Jeep issues!

freegdr 11-29-2012 04:27 PM

Sounds like some thing locked up that the belt rides around you stated a over heating issue maybe water pumps going out ....or belts loose

dave1123 11-29-2012 07:07 PM

You know, I bow to Bustedback. He thought of the simplest thing and he turned out to be right! Now that I think about it, I had the Park starting problem once in a while with my ZJ and what I did was take it out of Park and slam it back in. It started every time. I knew it was a switch adjustment, but it being winter, I didn't want to fix it until spring. I acually never did, because the frame rotted out and I parted the jeep out.

Another thought, with the belt slipping, your alternator possibly wasn't charging the battery well, thus early replacement. Look at the idler for the belt. It may be the spring is weak. I think you can forget about transmission problems, but a fluid and filter change is a good idea because of the hot enviroment you live in. Likewise, I would recommend a brake fluid change and total system bleed. You might want to look into DOT 5 fluid for it's higher temperature stability. I believe it's used in aircraft brakes. My Dad flew for a living and he told me never to set the aircraft's parking brake until the brakes cooled, because the fluid would boil if you did.

Just another speed bump in the road of life! Most of my problems are low temp related. I live in snow country.

Bustedback 11-29-2012 09:30 PM

The check engine light will stay on with the key in the "run" postition with the engine off.

dave1123 11-30-2012 11:01 PM

About your ABS light. It's possible the ABS sensor on the wheel you hit the curb with is out of place. Something to check.

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