The other answer assumes the compressor itself is failing and this could be a cause of squealing. Without hearing it, I'm writing this based on
my condenser fan motor wasn't working.
I have had this happen during heavy summer use, the fan motor siezes up and squeals or doesn't turn at all. I was able to push the blade and get it started for a couple times, but eventually the fan wouldn't really turn at all.
When this happens, it's due to either the bearings or shaft waterproofing seals in the fan motor itself wearing out, or the run capacitor (metal cylinder about as big as a regular Red Bull can) can die and fail to start the motor properly (usually seen if it runs OK after manually pushing the fan blade).
Run capacitors are cheap ($25-30 in my area), but electrically somewhat dangerous. Fan motors are not (~$250).
As of this writing it sounds like you've already replaced the fan motor and that worked for you. For anyone else stumbling across this Q&A later, the process to replace the fan is pretty simple:
- Write down or take a photo of the label on the fan and the run capacitor.
- Get replacements from an HVAC supply house.
- Take a photo of the wiring before you take the wires off the fan and capacitor.
- Shut the AC breaker off.
- Replace both (it's debatable whether this is necessary, but run capacitor is cheap and the old one might not drive a new motor well, burning both out again). Discharge the capacitor before handling it.
- Make sure all the wires are routed out of the path of the fan before reassembling.
- Turn breaker back on and test the AC function.
I had another step in my case, where I had to run a window AC unit temporarily because of a pregnant wife in the house at the end of July while I was learning how to do this, but that's another story...