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why does my car make a tapping noise

Engines can make all sorts of funny sounds, and honestly, we shouldnt be surprised when they do. There are all sorts of things in motion from rotating shafts, to pistons and valves, not to mention explosions, so its surprising your engine isnt louder. Engines can make all sorts of noises from humming to screeching, or clunking and clicking. In this article, were going to talk through why your cars engine makes a ticking or clicking sound, what the problem might be, and how to repair it. Why is My Car Making a Clicking or Ticking Noise? 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. PThings like bad bearings or worn out 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 normal based on the design of your engine or could just be from normal wear from your engine running. PFirst, lets talk through some ticks your motor may have that arent a problem. PIf you have a fuel injected car one of the ticks you could be hearing could be your injectors firing. PYour 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.

PSome vehicles, like many Subarus, have injectors that you can actually hear opening and closing at idle. PIt should sound like a sharp pencil tapping on a desk and be very rhythmic. PInjectors ticking are not a problem and you can drive with confidence. PAnother tick could be from an. P As high-pressure exhaust escapes from a crack in the manifold or a leak in the gasket it will sound like ticking or clicking especially at idle or low engine RPMs. P This tick also isn t dangerous for your engine, but should be fixed as soon as possible to keep exhaust gases where they should be. The most common cause of engine ticking is a noisy valve train. PYour valves have to open and close once for every 2 times your engine spins around. PIn an overhead cam engine, the camshaft lobes themselves 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. PSince your valves move very quickly and only move a short distance, the distance from the cam or pushrod to the valve needs to be very precise. PThese distances are controlled using shims or other adjustments and as normal wear occurs those distances can move out of tolerance. PIf there is excessive play in these components you can usually hear them tick as they shift around while yourPengine is running. PThis clearance can sometimes be removed by
and sometimes requires installing new shims.

If your engine ticks along with engine RPM and the ticking sounds slower, say once every engine revolution it could indicate that youve got rod knock. PRod knock comes from a bad bearing in your connecting rod. PAs the bearing wears out it will allow movement and that play will sound like tapping or clunking depending on how bad it is. PIf youve got rod knock the sound will change with engine RPM and will not change with engine temperature or load. PUnfortunately, if youve got rod knock, the only answer is rebuilding your motor. A low oil level can cause engine ticking noises as valvetrain components arent getting the proper lubrication and start to get noisy. PIf you hear a tick coming from your motor, check the oil level immediately. PIf you find that you have a low oil level, consider adding BlueDevil Oil Stop Leak as you top off your engine oil. PBlueDevil Oil Stop Leak is specially formulated to restore the seals and gaskets in your engine to stop both large and small oil leaks. PEnsuring you have a leak-free engine will make sure you have enough oil in your engine eliminating your tick and making sure everything says lubricated and safe. engine_ticking. jpg by Simazoran Licensed by Getty Images If you don't see any visible external engine oil leaks, it's possible you are leaking oil internally.

There are lots of possible sources of internal engine oil leaks like piston rings, valve guide seals, gaskets, and o-rings. If your engine is burning oil past the piston rings or valve guide seals, the usual sign is blue smoke exiting the exhaust pipe, some when the engine is idling and more when the engine is accelerating. There is another type of internal engine oil leak called a head gasket leak. In some cases, the head gasket can leak engine oil into a cylinder, again causing blue smoke out the exhaust; it can also leak coolant into a cylinder and cause thick white smoke out the exhaust. One other possibility is coolant and oil mixed together internally causing a milky mess either in the oil pan or radiator. This type of leak is very noticeable: just pull the oil dipstick, or look in the coolant overflow tank, and if you see any contamination that looks like chocolate milk, you have found your problem. If your oil is dark brown or amber, and your coolant shows no signs of oil mixing, but you still think you may have a possible internal engine oil leak, top off the oil to the full line on the dipstick, then check your oil level every 500 miles and document your findings. (Note: If the oil level is low when checking it after 500 miles, top it off again and recheck it in another 500 miles), this will give you an idea of how much oil you're losing or burning.

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