5 Causes of Engine Ticking Noise at Idle and Accelerating

The engine is the heart of any vehicle. It generates the power needed to start and move a vehicle. No matter if your vehicle is idle or accelerating, the engine needs to constantly run. When you come to a stop sign or stop light, your engine is still running. That is how you’re able to accelerate as soon as you step on the gas pedal again.

Normally, the engine will barely make any sounds as it runs. However, there are situations where the engine makes a strange ticking noise when it is idle and accelerating. With all the moving components inside the engine, you may wonder which one of them is causing these noises to occur. The ticking noises will continue to get worse the longer they go undiagnosed and unrepaired.

For this reason, it is best to figure out the cause of the ticking noises so that you can put an end to them. This will also prevent any unnecessary damage from happening to your engine or some other correlated components.

5 Common Causes

Below are the top 5 causes of engine ticking noises when idling and accelerating.  These are the most common causes of this problem. Learning about them should help you diagnose the problem faster and put an end to it.

1) Oil Leak – One of the primary causes of engine ticking noises is a low level of oil in the engine. There are two ways this can possibly happen. Either you have an oil leak somewhere or there wasn’t enough oil added to the engine during an oil change. Oil is what lubricates and cools the engine’s moving components. Obviously, a low level of oil in the engine will cause these components to generate too much heat. Furthermore, they will start breaking down and getting worn out. This hot, worn out components are what will generate these ticking noises in the engine.

2) Bad Pistons – Pistons are reciprocating components which move frequently. If there is a problem with the pistons, such as damage or excessive wear and tear, then it could possibly cause engine ticking noises. The pistons serve a very important role in your engine’s ability to generate power. Engine ticking noises will be the least of your worries if the pistons are bad. So, take these noises as an early warning sign that you need to replace your pistons immediately.

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3) Misadjusted Valves – Your intake valve and exhaust valve need to be adjusted properly so that they open and close at the appropriate times. It is possible for engine ticking noises to occur because these valves are not adjusted properly. After all, the opening and closing of the valves are dependent on a rocker arm. This component functions from a push rod and camshaft. This means all these components must be adjusted properly for the valves to function in a timely manner. If they don’t, then engine ticking noises will occur.

4) Bad Bearing Attachment– Your vehicle has a bearing which is normally attached to a rod. These components have a lot to do with the RPM of your engine. Sometimes the bearing will get worn out over the years, causing it to loosen away from the rod. If you have a loose bearing which is not attached that well to the rod, then knocking and ticking noises will be present. This is a serious issue which must be addressed right away.

5) Fuel Injector Firing – Fuel injector firing may cause engine ticking noises too. This happens only in certain make and model vehicles. Sometimes the valves will open and close too quickly, causing the fuel injectors to fire too much fuel. This will result in engine ticking noises.

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