Are you stressed about that strange Engine Ticking Noise? It doesn’t necessarily mean that your car’s engine is worn out.

However, the issue may need immediate repair. Usually, ticking noise is nothing but the normal sound of your vehicle’s engine, but it’s always best to discover the source of ticking noise to confirm whether or not the problem needs an expert’s attention.

Listed below are some common factors (along with their solutions) responsible for engine ticking noises.

Common Causes of Engine Ticking Noise

#1 – Insufficient Oil Pressure/Level

Low oil level/pressure is one of the major factors for Car Engine Ticking Noise. In such cases, an adequate amount of oil does fail to reach on the engine’s upper part. This creates ticking or tapping sound. The valvetrain or timing chain components like cam adjusters, lifters, camshafts, and rockers are the sound’s source.

It is mandatory to keep a regular check on the oil level using a dipstick. Get the oil tank filled to an adequate level to prevent noise. Plus, keep track of the oil pressure using a pressure gauge. The normal reading of oil pressure ranges between 14 and 21 psi.

#2 – Leakage in the Exhaust Manifold

If you hear ticking noise from your four-wheeler’s engine when idle or at acceleration, there are high chances of gas leakage from the exhaust.

However, this isn’t a major issue as it doesn’t affect the working of the car. But get it repaired at the earliest if you discover the leakage.

#3 – Valvetrain issue

Worn-out valvetrain components create an engine ticking issue. This part of the car has several components. Each one of them has a specific role in moving the valves precisely.

If you hear ticking noise coming from the engine there is a high possibility of an issue with one or more valvetrain parts. Fortunately, you don’t have to shell out your savings to get the new shims installed.

#4 – Cracked/Loose Spark Plugs

Bad spark plugs is another potential cause of ticking noise in the car’s engine. If you hear the ticking sound, inspect the engine when it’s cool. Get the spark plugs replaced if they’re cracked.

Tighten the spark plus if it wiggles after removing the plug’s wire. Re-installation is needed if the plug’s torque is incorrect.

#5 – Problem with Accessories of the Front Engine

The front part of the car’s engine has many accessories. Even a minor fault in any of these parts (pulleys, water pumps, belt tensioners, and AC compressors) causes a ticking noise in a car engine.

You may either get your vehicle check by a mechanic or arrange garage essentials to discover the source of the noise. It’s best to take your four-wheeler to a mechanic as the professional will repair the part right away after diagnosing the vehicle.

Engine Ticking Noise At Idle

#1 – Misaligned Exhaust Valves

The exhaust valve and intake valve should be properly adjusted so that their closing and opening is timed perfectly. Ticking Noise Coming from the Car Engine could be due to the maladjustment of these valves. The closing and opening of both the valves depending on the engine’s rocker arm.

It uses a camshaft and pushes rod for proper functioning. Therefore, perfect adjustment of these components is crucial for the flawless functioning of the valves. If you hear ticking noises from the engine get the help of an expert mechanic.

#2 – Low oil level

At times minor issues like low oil, level result in a ticking engine. All you need to do is add new, good quality oil to fix the issue. Insufficient oil-level means the valve train components aren’t getting lubricated properly.

This ultimately results in noise and friction. When you hear ticking noise, check the oil level in your vehicle in the first place.

#3 – Signature of Properly Working Engine

Sometimes, a ticking noise means your car’s engine is in good condition. Say, your four-wheeler has a fuel-injected engine and if you hear engine ticking this could be due to properly functioning fuel injectors (as they create sound when they fire the fuel into inlet port or inlet manifold).

The injectors close/open at great speeds. Hence, when the four-wheeler is idle you may find a car engine is making a loud ticking noise due to opening and closing functions of the injector.

Engine Ticking Noise When Accelerating

#1 – Worn-out Pistons

Engine’s pistons are an important component of the system. Damaged pistons not only create problems in the system’s working but also cause engine ticking noise when accelerating. It also affects the power generating efficiency of the engine. The wear and tear caused to the system need immediate repair and the ticking noises could be one of the early warning signs of the issue.

#2 – Loosened/Damaged Bearing

The four-wheeler engine has wheel bearing. It’s considered one of the important components with the engine’s RPM. At times when the bearing gets damaged due to years of wear and tear it may loosen.

Resultantly, it detaches from the engine’s rod and leads to engine ticking noise at idle.

Damaged/loosened bearing affects the engine’s working. Do not delay if you discover this issue in your car’s engine.

Engine Ticking Noise After Oil Change

#1 – Jammed Lifter Due to Dirty Oil

Oil lubrication is important for the lifters to work to their full potential. If your car’s lifter is the source of ticking noise then there are high chances of dirt accumulation in the lifter. It is important to ensure proper cleaning of the lifter during an oil change.

Maintenance of the complete system isn’t required, but the lifter does need immediate attention and cleaning if you hear ticking noise from the engine. The problem may worsen if you’ll leave the issue untreated.

#2 – Use of Low-Quality Oil

And this includes replacing the dirty oil with clean, high-quality oil. The engine should be fueled with the right oil so that your car’s filters are protected. Watch out for oil viscosity when choosing the oil for your vehicle. Besides, time to time servicing of the lifters is important for the proper working of the system.

#3 – Poor spacing in the lifter

When the lifters are adjusted incorrectly they rattle when the car is moving. The lifters are located between the camshafts and the pushrods. Loosened adjustment creates too much space between the two parts.

This leaves the lifter impaired and affects the functioning of the entire system. Proper adjustment of the lifter is crucial. It shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. Consult a qualified mechanic if you hear engine ticking noise after an oil change.

Engine Ticking Noise after Shut off

#1 – Thermal expansion

All the components of a four-wheeler have a thermal expansion property. When those parts are in operation they heat up. Resultantly, they undergo thermal expansion. When the vehicle is shut off they start contracting since they start radiating away from the heat.

The process of change in temperature causes the components to create engine clicking noise when accelerating or after the car is shut off. It may not be a thing of major concern but it’s wise to take your vehicle to the mechanic for inspection.

#2 – Static Friction

When two elements of a car’s engine are secured together some friction is generated between them which keeps them in place. The two parts tend to stick to each other strongly. Once the operations of a car are shut off the parts stuck together, slip away and this creates a ticking noise. You don’t need to worry about anything in case there is engine ticking noise after shut off.


Once a car’s engine develops ticking noise you’ll have to do a deep diagnosis of your vehicle to discover the source. It will either take replacement of one of the components of the engine or a minor repair of a part.

In some cases where there is no damage, a basic maintenance or oil change would be sufficient. It’s not easy to discover the exact problem/source of the ticking noise especially if you have limited knowledge of the car’s components. Take your four-wheeler to a professional whenever you hear an unusual sound from the engine.