Common Causes for Ticking or Clicking Noise in Engine

Is a ticking noise in the engine something to be concerned about? So, maybe, maybe not. There are a few reasons for such commotion. It could be the result of a natural cause or faulty car parts connected to the engine. An engine collaborates with other components and can produce clicking noises.

While some noises should be taken seriously, others should not bother you. The clicking noises are most noticeable when the vehicle is in motion, accelerating, idling, or starting up. So, lets walk you through some of the possible causes and solutions for clicking noise in your engine.

Why Does My Car's Engine Make A Ticking Or Clicking Noise?

First and foremost, keep in mind that reciprocating and rotating engine components exist. In most cases, the clicking sound is caused by the reciprocating parts.

Rotating components such as bad bearings and other faulty accessories could also be the source of the problem. This is due to the fact that they make whining noises as they rotate.

Reciprocating engine parts, on the other hand, make clicking, clunking, or ratcheting noises as they move. Rods, pistons, valves, rocker arms, and pushrods are examples of reciprocating components.

The engine oil is another factor that contributes significantly to the noise. It is made up of many reciprocating and rotating parts. As a result, most of the time, if something goes wrong with it, it tends to affect some of the engine accessories it drives. As these components deteriorate, the engine suffers as well. This is why a scheduled car service in Reading is vital.

Now that you know which components are likely to make such noises, your thoughts should direct you to the first place to look. Knowing where the noise is coming from will help you figure out how to stop the ticking noise in the engine. However, you can still inspect the rotating components to determine the source of the noise.

Ticking Noises in Engines

The following are some of the causes of a clicking noise in your engine

Normal Wear And Operating Noise -

Ticks in the engine may be normal due to the design of your engine. It could also be the result of wear as your engine runs. Now, we will point out some ticking noises made by your engine that should or shouldn't bother you:

If your vehicle has fuel injectors, you may hear ticks when the injectors fire. Fuel injectors are small electric valves that can be carried around with you. They open and close quickly to allow the proper amount of fuel into the internal combustion chamber. When idling, many vehicles produce a sound as the injectors close and open. The noise is typically similar to that of a pointed pencil tapping on a table with a pleasing sound. You will not hear such a sound if your fuel injectors are faulty.

Another tick that should not bother you is one caused by an exhaust manifold leak. A click or tick is heard as high fumes leave the crack in the manifold or leak from the exhaust. This happens most often when the engine is idle or has a low RPM. While this tick is not dangerous, you should fix it as soon as possible. This is done to ensure that exhaust fumes stay where they should.

Your purge valve could be making a clicking sound. The purge valve's job is to release fumes that have accumulated in the engine's intake system, where they will burn. As a result, as it completes this task, it may emit a ticking sound.

The sound could also be coming from the PCV valve, particularly if the valves are old. To avoid such noise, make sure to replace old PCV valves.

When starting, fuel pumps, especially electrical ones, make a clicking sound. If the pump does not engage when you attempt to start the car, you have a faulty fuel pump.

When cold starting an engine, you may also hear an engine ticking noise. The sound could be caused by valves, pistons, or cylinder wall clearance. However, as you continue driving, the engine warms up and the sound fades.

Misaligned Valves -

Misaligned valves can also cause valve ticking noises in the engine. An engine has intake and exhaust valves that allow air to enter and exit the combustion chambers. A rocker arm is a component that helps to open and close the valves. The camshaft pushrods, in turn, control the rocker arm. These pushrods must be precisely spaced from the valves. As your engine spins and moves over a short distance and time, these valves open and close twice. If the valves do not open and close at the proper time and distance, you will hear a clicking sound.

Faulty Lifters -

The cylinder head of an engine uses various lifters to open and close engine valves. They wear out over time, resulting in a metal-on-metal ticking noise in the engine when idle and accelerating. 

Filter Spacing Problems -

The filter is positioned between the pushrod and the camshaft. There will be problems if the space between these three components is too large or too small. If the space is too loose, the components will not make proper contact, resulting in a ticking noise. Engine heat causes valve stem expansion as your car runs. If the space is too small, the lifter will not have enough room to accommodate stem expansion, causing the engine to tick.

Low Engine Fluid -

When starting, idling, or accelerating, you may hear a ticking noise in the engine. This could be because some engine parts are not properly lubricated as a result of low engine oil. Engine ticking noise and power loss can also be caused by improper lubrication of engine valve train components.

Not Using the Correct Oil -

Each car has an engine oil recommendation that is best for that model. Some car oils are better for summer, while others are better for winter; as a result, you must know which to use. As a result, if you use the incorrect engine oil, your engine will make a ticking noise.

Oil Filter Problems -

The oil filter prevents dirt and other debris from entering the engine oil. If the filter becomes clogged, dirt will enter the oil, contaminating it and causing a clicking sound.

Contaminated Engine Oil -

Dirt can enter your engine oil as you drive your vehicle due to wear and tear. This is why it is advised to change the oil on a regular basis. If you don't, dirt will accumulate and clog the engine filters, causing the engine to click.

Rod Knock -

An engine that ticks slowly along with engine RPM, say once as your engine revolts, may indicate a knocked rod. If the engine bearings deteriorate, causing spacing/wiggling between the main bearing cap, the con rod will knock. As the bearing wears, it allows for a movement that sounds like a tap or clunk. This sound is determined by how badly the bearing is damaged.

The engine's RPM sound changes when the rod knocks, but the engine's load or temperature sound remains constant. A knocking rod can only be fixed by rebuilding your engine. This is quite costly, but it is something you will need to do later on. Get some advice from a trained technician when your car is next in a garage for full car service near me.

Damaged Spark Plugs -

Old or faulty spark plugs can cause a clicking noise in the engine, especially in high-mileage vehicles. This noise can also be caused by a misaligned spark plug in some cases. This is because an improperly seated spark plug allows exhaust fumes to bypass and cause an engine to tick.

Faulty Drive Pulleys -

Pulleys, like skateboard wheels, use bearings to turn. And as time passes, they become worn out. When they wear out, they make an obnoxious noise when idle or under acceleration.

Poor Maintenance -

Regular and proper maintenance will extend the life of your vehicle. One thing is to keep your car maintained on a regular basis, and another is to use the right people and tools. If you don't use the right tools and people, your engine components will deteriorate and make a ticking noise. Search online for car service near me and read the garage customer reviews before booking.


Ticking noises in engines can be caused by faulty engine or exhaust components such as pushrods, valves, mufflers, and so on. It could also be caused by the engine's normal operation. First, inspect and determine what is causing the ticking noise and when you are experiencing it.

You shouldn't be concerned if the noise is caused by components such as fuel injectors, PCV valves, purge valves, and so on. They make a clicking sound as they work. However, if the noise is caused by lifters, bearings, pulley drives, or other components, you must have them checked and replaced as needed. Otherwise, more expensive engine parts will be discarded.


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