Ticking Noise in Engine: How to Fix and Repair
For a car owner, the various sounds generated by internal components play an essential role in understanding the vehicle’s current state. A ticking noise in the engine is an off-putting sound and a warning sign of car issues that must be checked before they become severe.
Having a handle on what these noises denote and the malfunctioning components behind them is essential to maintaining a fully functioning car. In this blog, you will learn about the factors behind the ticking noise and possible reasons for noise from the engine.
An Oil Pressure Issue
Lubrication is vital for the engine to work precisely, ensuring that mechanical parts are well-aligned and operate without friction.The ticking noise in the engine significantly increases at crucial moments of maximum pressure, such as during vehicle startup and acceleration. Proper oil pressure is essential for maintaining engine balance, and the oil level in the car may be low.
If the oil pressure is stable, the next step is to check whether the oil is contaminated. Contaminated oil levels could be attributed to a faulty oil filter causing pressure issues. An easy solution would be to replace the filter and inspect the car for engine ticking noise.
Is it still an issue that needs to be fixed?
The oil itself may lack the proper viscosity, and this could lead to a ticking noise in the engine.
Lack of Car Usage
A car engine works best when used frequently and remains at an ideal temperature. Irregular and infrequent driving can lead to oil getting deposited within the machine and improper lubrication, leading to ticking noise.
It’s a minor issue requiring a person to drive around and ensure the engine is running correctly.
Worn Out Spark Plug
When was the last time you changed the spark plug? Over time, spark plugs can become worn out or misaligned, causing exhaust fumes to bypass the engine as the spark plug is too hot to touch and is covered with oil, grease, and other carbon-based substances. It’s time to replace the spark plug, which will fix the ticking noise from the engine.
Refer to your car’s owner’s manual for guidance on determining the recommended mileage for spark plug replacement and instructions on how to replace it.
Worn Or Misaligned Valves
The valves are a critical part of the engine because they ensure that air enters the combustion chamber and is expelled from the exhaust port. The intake and exhaust valves are interconnected and operate in synchronisation with the assistance of the valve train.
The components of the valve train, such as the camshaft, pushrods, and rocker arm, play a critical role in ensuring that the valves open at the correct distance and speed. Misalignment in the valve train, resulting from wear and tear, can lead to a ticking noise in the engine.
Leakage in the Exhaust Chamber
A car engine is designed as closed-circuit machinery, meant to be highly efficient, with no foreign particles going in and out. An exhaust leak, however, can lead to a break in the closed configuration and cause ticking sounds. Clear signs of issues related to the gasket and manifold include audible engine ticks at low RPM.
One will notice additional problems linked to an exhaust leak, such as a significant loss of acceleration. Fuel economy goes down as the engine’s fuel-to-air ratio decreases significantly. The smell of gas fumes reaches outside and inside the cabin space, and there is an increase in the car engine noise from a constant rumble to a popping noise.
A Rod Knock Problem
The rods between the pistons and crankshaft are essential to transfer combustion to the wheels. A metallic bearing ensures smooth and controlled movement of the pistons, with a clearance area for oil lubrication when the crank and bearing come into contact.
As the bearings wear down, the rods can create excessive, uncontrolled vibrations, leading to a more pronounced effect. As the engine RPM increases, one can notice the knocking and tapping noise intensifying. The car’s performance is significantly reduced, and if the vehicle is continually driven, it can lead to engine failure.
The causes of this issue are often related to a low oil level or poor cooling due to faults within the radiator, engine fan, etc. Addressing the rod knock issue requires intensive repair and may involve the replacement of the bearing, piston, or rod, depending on the severity of the case.
Understanding The Lifter Issues
The intake and exhaust valves function asynchronously, requiring different lifters to operate at other times. However, constant wear and tear over time can create a ticking noise from the engine, referred to as a lifter tick. If a misadjusted lifter isn’t repaired, it could break the lifter itself.
The wrong type of oil or contamination can be a critical reason for increased friction. Hydraulic lifters use oil pressure to ensure the valve opens and closes correctly; consequently, the oil level is crucial. Another reason for the ticking noise could be a malfunctioning engine fan, as inadequate cooling can cause the engine to overheat.
Repair Solutions For The Ticking Noise
The ticking noise is a result of underlying issues present in the engine, and here are some quick tune-up solutions to fix the problems:
Oil Change – Start with the basics and check whether the oil has the correct viscosity, is running low, or has become contaminated. Replace the filter when worn out and ensure the oil is adequately pressurised for engine lubrication. A professional mechanic can add oil additives to help resolve the lifter’s ticking issue.
Realign Valves – Misaligned or worn-out valves are directly linked to problems in the valve train. You should seek full car service from Acton Car Service, which includes an inspection of the camshaft, pushrods, and rocker arms. The assessment will use a feeler gauge to check for clearances on each valve. Then, adjust the screws in the rocker arms to ensure proper clearance alignment.
Exhaust Leaks: They often occur due to massive bumps in the road and engine corrosion that can affect the exhaust valves. To detect the problem area, inspect the gasket, exhaust manifold, and flange for cracks or faults. You can easily find the exhaust leak by searching for the engine area covered in black soot.
Cooling – Check the radiator and fan to ensure the engine is not overheating, which can lead to ticking noises. The radiator cap can often be loose, or the fluid can run low, leading to improper engine cooling. The fan can have open components or loose electrical lines that must be correctly tightened to ensure they work properly.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q1) How To Fix Ticking Noise In The Engine?
Ans1: The noise from the engine is a sign that there is some issue with the machine, and parts may need replacement or realignment. Here are the components that need to be checked and evaluated:
Q2) What Makes A Knocking Noise In The Engine?
Ans 2: The knocking noise in the engine results from an uneven mixture of fuel and air that leads to multiple flame bursts in the combustion chamber. One might notice these issues in an idle engine state or when revving the engine. The additional vibrations within the machine result in a constant knocking noise and require professional inspection.
Q3) Can Dirty Oil Cause Engine Noise?
Ans 3 Yes, dirty oil in the engine can lead to improper lubrication, increasing engine noise. Issues such as maladjusted lifters, which cause ticking noises, are linked to contamination and can often be resolved by changing the oil filter. If your car consistently experiences issues with lubrication, consider changing the oil viscosity or adding additives for optimal performance.
Q4) Does The Engine Make Noise When the Oil Is Low?
Ans 4: Yes, low engine oil is the first aspect a professional mechanic checks when an engine produces unusual noise. Lack of lubrication leads to greater machine friction and results in higher engine noise and performance issues.
Many modern cars have an oil indicator that reminds the owner when the oil level is low, prompting a quick refill for proper engine functioning.
Q5) Does Synthetic Oil Reduce Engine Noise?
Ans 5: Yes, it provides a better coating to the engine components, reducing friction and wear on the engine’s functioning. You can expect a noticeable difference in engine noise, vibration, and overall performance. The only downside is that they are more expensive than mineral oils.
Q6) Does Thicker Oil Reduce Engine Noise?
Ans 6: Thin oil viscosity in the car can lead to the deterioration of lifters and piston rods, creating a knocking noise within the engine. Thicker oil is recommended to reduce overall engine noise and minimise damage. However, it should be considered a partial solution, and worn-out parts must be identified and replaced as soon as possible.
A noise in the engine should never be avoided or ignored, as it is a sign of engine deterioration or the need for realignment or replacement of components. The best way to prevent ticking or knocking sounds is through proper servicing and tuning of the engine to avoid unforeseen issues.
Owners can maintain the engine by learning to change the oil, replace spark plugs, and service other components. For professional engine repair and servicing, head to Acton car service for comprehensive checks at an affordable price.