Engines can make all sorts of funny sounds, and honestly we shouldn’t be surprised when they do. There are all sorts of moving parts and rotating things, not to mention explosions going on inside of them. As a mechanic you hear the phrase “my engine is making a strange noise” relatively often. Strange noises can be anything from humming to screeching or clunking. In this article we’re going to talk through a ticking engine and how to repair the problem.
The first thing to realize if you have a tick in your engine is that it is likely due to one of the reciprocating components rather than a rotating component. Things like bad bearings or accessories will usually make whirring or whining noises as they rotate while reciprocating components like your pistons, rods, valves and pushrods usually make ticks, clunks or ratcheting type sounds.
The tick in your engine could be from normal wear of your motor running or it could be an indication that something is wrong. First, let’s talk through some ticks your motor may have that aren’t a problem. If you have a fuel injected car one of the ticks you could be hearing could be your injectors firing. Your fuel injectors are small electrical valves that open and close very quickly allowing a certain amount of fuel to be injected with the air your engine is drawing in. Some vehicles, like many Subarus, have injectors that you can actually hear opening and closing at idle. It should sound like a sharp pencil tapping on a desk and be very rhythmic. Injectors ticking are not a problem and you can drive on in confidence. Another tick could be from an exhaust gas leak somewhere in your exhaust manifold. For more information about how to find a fix an exhaust gas leak checkout our article on fixing exhaust leaks.
The last likely cause of your engine ticking is a noisy valve train. Your valves have to open and close once for every 2 times your engine spins around. In an overhead cam engine, the camshaft itself depresses the valve while in single cam engines, the cam actuates push rods that open the valves by moving a lever called the rocker arm. Since your valves move very quickly and only move a short distance, the distance from the cam to the valve or push rod has to be very precise. These distances are controlled using shims or other adjustments and as normal wear occurs those distances can move out of tolerance. If there is any play in the components you can usually hear them “tick” as they shift around while your engine is running. Also, your valve train requires a lot of lubrication so a tick could indicate that you have a low oil level, or possibly even that you are in need of an oil change because your old, dirty oil just isn’t keeping things lubricated enough.
If you hear a trick coming from your motor, it could be indicating you have a low oil level. Having a low oil level in your vehicle can cause a significant amount of damage or even be catastrophic to you vehicle’s engine. If you hear a tick coming from your motor, check the oil level immediately. If you find that you have a low oil level, consider adding BlueDevil Oil Stop Leak as you top off your engine oil. BlueDevil Oil Stop Leak is specially formulated to restore the seals and gaskets in your engine to stop both large and small oil leaks. Ensuring you have a leak-free engine will make sure your have enough oil in your engine eliminating your tick and making sure everything says lubricated and safe.
You can pick up BlueDevil Oil Stop leak from any of our partnering local auto parts stores like:
- Advance Auto Parts
- Bennett Auto Supply
- CarQuest Auto parts
- NAPA Auto Parts
- O’Reilly Auto Parts
- Pep Boys
- Fast Track
- Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts Specialists
- S&E Quick Lube Distributer
- DYK Automotive
You can also purchase Blue Devil Oil Stop Leak online.
Pictures Courtesy of:
Valve Train: “installvalvetrain” By CDX Online eTextbook Licensnced under Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Original Link
Engine Oil Dipstick: “Engine oil dipstick” by Dvortygirl – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – Original Link