Many auto parts stores will pull codes for free. Driving it when the light flashes can cause further damage to the system. Check for leaks and run it for just one minute with the belt off to see if the noise goes away. Check all of the items run by the belt to see if any have bad bearings.
Bert--that's a good start. I have taken it to Autozone and O'Reillys for the code pull. Same answer. "Cylinder 1 misfiring" (or whichever cylinder it is.) THAT's what led me to discover oil in the spark plug wells.
--Thinking there's a connection between the oil in the wells and the misfiring, taking me back to "why is there oil in the wells".
--Checking for leaks: there are leaks, thus the pools of antifreeze in the little puddles and oil in my coolant. I've already established that there are leaks.
--Taking the belt off is an excellent idea. Nice troubleshooting tip. However; It will inform me that a)the belt itself is squeaking or b)a part that the belt turns is squeaking. I can't determine what that part is because it won't be turning, right?
--wouldn't begin to know how to "check items run by belt to see if any have bad bearings."
And let me say this. I really, really, really don't mean to come off sounding rude or unappreciative. I really don't. And I apologize if it sounds that way. I'm just very frustrated with this car but this is my family's only means of transportation and a different car is out of the question. Payments are out of the question. So I'm sorry if I sound rude.
I'm a "weekend warrior" mechanic. Some things are beyond my talent or means to repair. Don't want to get ****ed over by a real mechanic.
Thank you in advance.