What is causing this ticking noise in my engine?

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Kimiko Kidd

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Whether it’s squealing brakes or slamming wheels, paying attention to your car’s sounds can help you spot minor problems before they become costly problems. Monitoring your vehicle’s powertrain health is no different – here are some possible causes behind a strange ticking sound emanating from your car’s engine.


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Insufficient oil

If you hear a ticking noise coming from your car’s engine, the quickest, cheapest, and easiest first step you can take is to simply check the oil levels. A low oil level can lead to more than annoying sounds – it can also lead to major engine damage if left untreated – so be sure to top up the oil as soon as possible.

Valve problems

If you drive an older model or a vehicle with high mileage, valve issues can cause ticking noises. Simply have the valves adjusted by a competent technician to eliminate the noise. Valve tuning can also result in better responsiveness, improved power, and a smoother ride.

Rod blow

Under normal circumstances, connecting rods connect the pistons to the crankshaft, channeling combustion power to the rest of the transmission. This system includes soft metal bearings that can wear out over time – and when these bearings have had enough wear, they can start to vibrate.

Rod knock is a critical problem that requires major repairs. This is not a DIY issue, so take your car to a professional if you think it may be causing rattling noises in your car’s engine.

Fan issues

Your car’s engine fan is crucial to maintaining proper temperatures. In addition to motor overheating, a ticking noise is a clue that the motor fan is malfunctioning. Damage or clogging of the fan will cause it to vibrate and get out of sync with the engine RPMs.

Check out our other coverage for more car noises you shouldn’t ignore.

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